Many US-based companies have rushed to divest their holdings in Russia — with at least one notable exception: hotels.
Some hotel chains — including the world’s largest, Marriott International, and also Hilton — closed their corporate offices in Moscow and suspended new hotel development and investment in Russia, they said in a series of statements this week.
But they haven’t closed their properties or removed their brands from the hotels, which are mostly franchised.
That could soon change amid public backlash against Western companies continuing to do business in Russia, industry experts say.
“Given the current level of sentiment around the issue, I wouldn’t be surprised if hoteliers made the decision to take their brands out of hotels,” Andrew Sangster, editor of UK industry publication Hotel Analyst, told The Post.
If the brands acquire stakes in Russia, the owners of each hotel likely would not be forced to pay franchise fees to a company that has blocked access to its reservation system and brand, experts said.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott, which operates a Ritz Carlton in Moscow along with 27 other hotels in the country, has a tiny presence in the country. This also applies to Hilton, which operates about 26 hotels. And Accor — owners of 50 hotel brands including Novotel and Sofitel — operates 50 hotels in Russia, according to a Skift report.
According to experts, the financial involvement of these companies in Russia is minimal. The cost of retreat is more reputational.
“There’s still potential for a black eye on social media,” as major companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Coca Cola have closed their operations in the country, said a hotel industry source who asked not to be named.
“Our hotels in Russia are owned by third parties and we continue to evaluate whether these hotels can remain open,” Marriott said Thursday. For its part, Hilton said it would also close its corporate headquarters and suspend new developments in Russia. “We will donate all Hilton profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine,” the company said in a statement.
Hyatt said it will “continue to evaluate hotel operations in Russia while complying with applicable US government sanctions and guidelines as we hope for a resolution to this crisis.”
“As we understand that many people in Russia also face challenges and uncertainty about their future, we are identifying how best to support and serve our hotel colleagues and current guests in the country,” the company said.
An exception to the hotel conundrum is Radisson, which is owned by the Chinese government through Jin Jiang International, a state-owned hospitality company. The century-old brand from Minnetonka, Minnesota was bought by Jing Jiang in 2018.
According to Sangster, Radisson is the largest hotelier in Russia by number of rooms.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Radisson picked a lot of hotels without flags,” he added.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/11/marriott-hilton-still-open-in-russia-even-as-other-us-companies-leave/ Marriott, Hilton are still open in Russia even as other US companies move out