Bookings from the Middle East and North Africa are down by as much as 30 per cent at Marriott hotels since U.S. President Donald Trump began restricting travel from certain countries in the region, according to Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson.
Sorenson said the ban is “not good, period” at a meeting of hotel executives in Dubai, the New York Post reported April 12, 2017. The decline in bookings reported in February was especially painful as travellers from these regions tend to spend more during their hotel stays than other customers.
Bookings at Marriott’s upscale Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties have been hit especially hard, according to industry sources.
The travel ban, which applies to travellers from six Muslim-majority nations, has twice been blocked by U.S. courts and is not currently in effect. However, initial attempts to implement the ban may have had a chilling effect on travel to the U.S. in general: the World Travel and Tourism Council recently reported signs of “anti U.S. sentiment” among travellers.
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Expedia, told the Financial Times that the ban has forced U.S. airlines and hotels to slash prices in an attempt to attract international customers spooked by the Trump travel ban.
“I think that because of some of the perceived positions coming out of the current administration, the US as a destination is potentially looking less attractive as a product,” he said. “One of two things is going to happen. Either the US has to go on sale in order to keep volumes up, or volumes are going to come down. When we look at our business, the leading indicator is pricing. Pricing has come down.”