Marriott says it saw ‘immediate surge’ in bookings after EU announcement

May 10, 2021

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It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic walloped the travel industry, but one hotel chain seems optimistic about its future post-pandemic.

The Marriott umbrella encompasses 30 brands and thousands of rooms, from swanky Ritz-Carltons to the wallet-friendly Four Points by Sheraton. The company reported earnings for the quarter today, and said RevPAR — that is, the revenue per available room — declined more than 46%, compared to the first quarter of 2020. But Marriott also said 95% of its 7,600 properties worldwide are open again, and that’s good news for future earnings.

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“In our largest region, the U.S. & Canada, demand increased rapidly as vaccine rollouts accelerated,” Marriott’s chief executive officer Tony Capuano said in a statement.

Marriott beat Wall Street analysts’ expectation on earnings, but revenues of $2.3 billion fell slightly short of expectations for $2.5 billion in the quarter. Revenue was down 51% year-over-year.

In a statement, CEO Tony Capuano said, “We were pleased to see demand improve meaningfully during the first quarter.”

Indeed, travel appears to be on the upswing in the United States and Canada, and Marriott also said it saw an “immediate surge” in call volume in the wake of the European Union’s proposal to allow vaccinated travelers to enter the EU.

While many details still have yet to be finalized, the EU is expected to welcome vaccinated tourists — which would include Americans — this summer.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has been among the EU leaders pushing for a safe reopening — in a May 3 tweet, she shared a proposal “to welcome again vaccinated visitors & those from countries with a good health situation.”

Any U.S. passport holders entering the EU would likely need to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate. In a press release, the European Commission stated that it would allow entry to “people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine.” Member countries would be likely to accept vaccinations from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer, since all three have been approved for use in the EU.

Marriott appears to be optimistic that travel demand will rebound as more people are vaccinated worldwide.

“We have seen signs that there is a significant amount of pent-up demand, regardless of trip purpose, and we look forward to welcoming travelers in increasing numbers to our more than 7,600 properties around the world,” Capuano said.

The EU is also warning, however, that countries could implement restrictions quickly if new outbreaks sprang up in order to limit the spread of new COVID-19 variants. That could impact vaccinated travelers as well.

Featured photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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