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Hilton lays off 22 percent of corporate workers as hotels struggle against COVID-19

Hilton owns more than 50 hotels in Tampa Bay alone.
Aerial of the Hilton Garden Inn Wesley Chapel.  [Sunday February 3, 2019]
Aerial of the Hilton Garden Inn Wesley Chapel. [Sunday February 3, 2019] [ "LUIS SANTANA | TIMES" | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jun. 16, 2020

Hilton will lay off 2,100 corporate employees, adding to existing cuts the hotel chain has taken to curb the financial harm from COVID-19.

The hotel chain had already reduced hours, put employees on furlough and cut executive pay. Those measures have been extended another three months, the hotelier said in news release. Hilton has more than 50 hotels in Tampa Bay alone ― from the Hilton Downtown Tampa to the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort.

“Never in Hilton’s 101-year history has our industry faced a global crisis that brings travel to a virtual standstill,” Hilton president Christopher J. Nassetta said in a written statement. “Hospitality will always be a business of people serving people, which is why I am devastated that to protect our business, we have been forced to take actions that directly impact our Team Members.”

Every hotel chain has been struggling in wake of the pandemic. Marriott furloughed employees in March and has said the financial fallout from the virus is bigger than that of 9/11 and the 2008 crisis combined. Last month, Hyatt laid off 1,300 of its employees.

Locally, privately owned hotels on the beach have seen an uptick in filled rooms from those traveling just a city or county over. Meanwhile, hotels ― like those in Tampa ― that normally serve conventions and conference crowds are struggling to bring back as many guests.

Related: Snowbirds and staycationers help revive Pinellas tourism despite pandemic

Many hotels have reopened and are accepting reservations, including Hilton hotels. Tampa Bay hotels had an occupancy rate of about 41.8 percent the week ending June 6, according to industry analyst STR, Inc.

In Orlando, where theme parks are in early reopening stages, the occupancy rate was just 23.5 percent for the same period.

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