Hilton sales plunge in second quarter with travel frozen

Hilton posted a loss of $432 million in the second quarter as the coronavirus kept travelers at home, but the company said it’s starting to see some improvement in occupancy as restrictions are lifted

Hilton lost $432 million in the second quarter, but occupancy rates began to improve as hotels reopen and coronavirus restrictions were lifted around the world.

Occupancy levels rose 20 percentage points in the U.S. and 15 percentage points in Asia between April and June. Tourism in beach towns like Norfolk, Virginia, have recovered more quickly in the U.S. than cities like New York and Seattle, according to STR, a hospitality data and consulting firm.

Occupancy averaged 22% at Hilton hotels for the April-June period, down 56% from the same period a year ago. Occupancy levels were highest in Asia, at 29%, and lowest in Europe, at 7%. U.S. occupancy levels averaged 24%.

The McLean, Virginia, company announced layoffs of about 2,100 people, 22% of its corporate workforce, in June, and it extended previously announced furloughs and corporate pay cuts for 90 days.

The adjusted loss of 61 cents per share was far worse than the 31 cents projected on Wall Street, according to a survey of analysts by FactSet.

Hilton’s revenue plunged 77% to $564 million in the April-June period. Analysts had expected sales of $819 million. Revenue per available room, a key measure, plunged 81% to $21.67.

The hotel industry has been among the hardest hit by the new coronavirus. Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta has said that this was the first time in Hilton’s 101-year history that a crisis brought global travel to a standstill.

Hilton said as of July 31, 96% of its 6,100 hotels were open worldwide.

Hilton shares fell 2% to $78.50 in premarket trading.