Hyatt to lay off 1,300 employees as pandemic cripples travel

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FILE PHOTO: The window curtains are uniformily closed at a Hyatt hotel that is completely closed to guests during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Washington, U.S. May 8, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) – Hyatt Hotels Corp (H.N) said late Monday it would lay off 1,300 people globally as it tries to cope with the coronavirus crisis, which has virtually halted global travel by keeping people indoors.

Hyatt said it had also cut pay for senior management, board members and all employees as part of a restructuring, adding that the staff who were being laid off would be eligible for receive severance pay.

“Due to the historic drop in travel demand and the expected slow pace of recovery, Hyatt has made the extremely difficult decision to implement layoffs and restructure roles across its global corporate functions, beginning June 1, 2020,” Hyatt said in a statement.

The hotel chain reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss last week and suspended its dividend and share buyback program. It had 55,000 employees as of Dec. 31, 2019, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The hotel industry is estimating a loss of $1.4 billion in revenue every week on account of the outbreak and a 30% drop in hotel occupancy over a year, according to statements from the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the U.S. Travel Association in March.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Anil D’Silva

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