Bill Marriott appeared on C-SPAN Washington Journal this morning as part of the network’s CEO Series.
Top of mind for the chairman and CEO of Marriott International was the issue of lost group and meetings business at hotels. Marriott said the “toxic rhetoric” about TARP-recipient behaviors and the subsequent fear of criticism has left companies fearful of holding meetings, and it has hurt the hotel industry.
“Our company has lost hundreds of thousands—certainly millions of dollars by now,” he said. “Occupancy is down, but average daily rate is down even more.”
But Marriott wasn’t all negative.
“We are starting to see some stabilization,” he said. “We think we may have reached the bottom and might see an uptick.”
Marriott said group cancellations are slowing down, and there’s solid business growth for 2010 and 2011 group bookings. Transient business for the Easter weekend also was looking good He pointed out the Florida market as an example of strong transient bookings for the holiday.
Marriott also discussed the Travel Promotion Act, the Employee Free Choice Act and executive compensation during the interview. You can view the interview at www.c-span.org or catch a replay on C-SPAN3 at 8 p.m. EST tonight.