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Bw Talks

How to Cope When a Pandemic Crushes Your Business Overnight

David Marriott, Tony Capuano, and Leeny Oberg talk about preserving a people culture while instituting furloughs and layoffs.
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Chief Future Officer: Leeny Oberg, Marriott International

The pandemic has been hard on almost every business. But for a company that depends on travelers, like Marriott International Inc., the world’s largest hotelier, it’s been particularly tough. Its top executives told us how they coped while keeping their people-first focus.

Our business dropped 90% overnight at the beginning of the pandemic. And anytime you face a situation like that, you’re forced to make some extremely difficult decisions. For us as a people-first culture, having to lay off or furlough tens of thousands of workers was really heart wrenching. So we had to adjust our operational approach at the hotel level to really use technology to enhance our service strategies and to be creative financially—asking not only how can we survive the pandemic, but how can we ensure that our owners survive the pandemic and how do we ensure that our guests and associates are safe during a time like this.