Russian hotels branded by the Chicago-based Hyatt chain remain open along with other major U.S. hotel franchises operating in Russia, even as the country has become increasingly isolated by Western businesses because of its invasion of Ukraine.
Hyatt posted a statement on its website that didn’t lay out plans to sever ties with Russian hotels, Crain’s reported. A spokesperson for Hyatt didn’t address whether it would continue to do business in Russia, the outlet reported.
The company’s statement, posted last week, said it was “heartbroken over the devastation unfolding in Ukraine and the mounting tragedies resulting from military actions, loss of life and the dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people. Our immediate focus is on the safety and well-being of our colleagues and guests in both Ukraine and neighboring countries who face these unconscionable challenges.”
Hyatt operates five hotels in Russia, but owns none of them, Crain’s reported, citing the spokesperson. The Ararat Park Hyatt hotel in Moscow is its most well-known.
Scott Antel, an attorney for the hospitality industry who lived in Russia for 22 years and still consults with hotel inventors in the country, told Crain’s removing a name and management service from a hotel leaves hundreds of workers Hyatt has trained out of jobs. That can create hard feelings among potential future employees and guests and make starting up business in the country again harder.
“People remember these things. It’s just not good,” Antel told Crain’s. “Customer goodwill takes a long time to rebuild.”
The outlet reported it’s not clear who owns Hyatt’s hotels in Russia, and that Antel said most hotels in the country are owned by Russian investors and businesses.
He told the outlet that if Russian hotel owners are hit with sanctions, Hyatt would exit the country to avoid consequences in the U.S.
Marriott International has also not indicated whether it plans to cut ties with any Russian properties the brand is associated with.
Marriott International CEO Tony Capuano said Monday during the JPMorgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum in Las Vegas that the company’s fee revenue from its 28 managed and franchised hotels in Russia comes out to less than 1% of its total, according to Crain’s.
“We are very focused on the safety of our associates and the safety of our guests in those markets. But from a materiality perspective in terms of the company’s financial performance, (it’s) not particularly significant,” Capuano said of Russia, Crain’s reported.
[Crain’s] – Sam Lounsberry