Marriott’s CEO on Sunday downplayed employment concerns and said that the very technology that helped the hotel industry navigate the coronavirus pandemic will help improve the customer experience in the future.
CEO Anthony Capuano remained bullish on the future of the hotel industry, citing “significant acceleration of demand,” which will see a boost to travel and business alike.
To remain in business, hotels like Marriott developed a number of tech-savvy methods to continue operations while maintaining health safety. When pressed on whether these same measures made positions redundant, Capuano firmly stated, “Absolutely not.”
“In markets where demand is recovering, we’re absolutely seeing those jobs come back,” Capuano said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think what those technological advances allow us to do is really engage our employees more in interacting with the guests and meeting their needs.”
Capuano added that the company is “actively hiring” in markets where there is higher demand.
The hotel industry suffered a significant hit to employment, with the hospitality industry driving U.S. job losses in December 2020: the industry lost 498,000 jobs lost in that month, according to U.S. labor statistics.
Some believe that hotels that have closed may never reopen; In New York City alone, hospitality lost 44% of jobs during the pandemic as of September 2020, the Commercial Observer reported.
The hotel industry is keen to return to pre-pandemic levels. Already, cities in Arizona, Texas and Florida have seen an increase in demand, though it remains low in the country’s biggest cities.
Capuano believes that “leisure destinations” will drive demand for the foreseeable future, particularly with the “blending of trip purposes.”
“People have learned that they can, in fact, work from almost anywhere,” Capuano said. “And as a result, we’re seeing our guests combine business travel with leisure travel.”
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The one aspect that Capuano finds difficult is the “fragmented” approach to managing the national solution of vaccine distribution, which he said needs to be more “comprehensive.”