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Seeing Red

By Dennis Nessler | February 22, 2021

The lodging industry’s struggles in the fourth quarter of 2020 were well chronicled as the pandemic continued to negatively impact demand and holiday travel, but last week provided a glimpse of just how deep the impact was as the red ink was flowing for several major hotel chains.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Marriott International and Hyatt Hotels Corporation all unveiled substantial fourth quarter losses compared to the previous year’s results.

Marriott International, which acknowledged that 2020 was “the most challenging year in the company’s 93-year history,” according to Stephanie Linnartz, group president, consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses. The company’s net loss totaled $128 million in the 2020 fourth quarter, compared to 2019 fourth quarter reported net income of $274 million. Reported new loss totaled $164 million in the 2020 fourth quarter, compared to 2019 fourth quarter reported net income of $279 million.

Adjusted operating income in the 2020 fourth quarter totaled $148 million for Marriott, compared to 2019 fourth quarter adjusted operating income of $717 million. Fourth quarter 2020 adjusted net income totaled $39 million, compared to 2019 fourth quarter adjusted net income of $498 million.

Hilton, meanwhile, noted that its fourth quarter losses “were largely in line with our expectations,” primarily attributed to rising COVID-19 cases and travel restrictions, according to Chris Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported a net loss attributable to Hilton stockholders of $224 million or $0.80 per share, compared to net income of $175 million or $0.61 per share in the prior-year quarter

Total revenues for the quarter plunged to $890 million from $2.37 billion in the same quarter last year. System-wide comparable RevPAR declined 59.2 percent on a currency neutral basis for the fourth quarter, due to both occupancy and ADR decreases.

The company opened 22,900 rooms in the fourth quarter, reaching the one million room milestone. As of February 10, 2021, 97 percent of Hilton’s system-wide hotels were open, while approximately 220 hotels had temporarily suspended operations.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation reported a net loss of $203 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, ended Dec. 31, compared to $321 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Hyatt president and CEO Mark Hoplamazian acknowledged a “backdrop of challenging operating fundamentals” as the company detailed its results.

For Hyatt, adjusted EBITDA decreased from $191 million to $(98) million, almost half of which relates to costs incurred on behalf of its managed and franchised properties, according to the company. Hyatt reported a comparable system-wide RevPAR decrease of 68.9 percent.  that the company doesn’t intend to recover from hotel owners.

Nearly all properties in Hyatt’s system were open at year-end. As of Dec. 31, 2020, 94% of total system-wide hotels (93% of rooms) were open compared to 92% of total system-wide hotels (88% of rooms) at Sept. 30.

Dennis Nessler

Dennis Nessler is Editor-in-Chief of Hotel Interactive, parent company of Hotel Community Forum. Nessler brings more than 28 years of editorial experience to his position, including some 17 years in the hospitality industry. As part of his duties, Nessler not only covers the industry editorially but moderates various high-level panel sessions at hospitality events and frequently conducts one-on-one interviews with C-level executives.

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