Hilton temporarily closes 150 hotels in China amid coronavirus outbreak

The CEO of Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which operates more than 6,100 hotels across the globe, has confirmed the closure of “roughly 150” hotels in China amid the current outbreak of COVID-19, formerly known as the novel coronavirus.

In an earnings call on Tuesday, which coincided with the company’s fourth-quarter report, president and CEO Christopher J. Nassetta said Hilton would be working with “local governments and health authorities” across the globe in order to ensure best practices amid the outbreak.

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“Now, as it relates to the coronavirus, it goes without saying that the safety and well -being of our team members and our guests remain a paramount priority, as we continue to carefully monitor the situation,” Nassetta said, per a transcript of the call.

The Hilton Wuhan Optics Gallery, seen here, is one of four Hilton Worldwide properties located within the city at the center of the outbreak.

The Hilton Wuhan Optics Gallery, seen here, is one of four Hilton Worldwide properties located within the city at the center of the outbreak. (Hilton)

As of Tuesday, Nassetta said that about 150 hotels had been closed in China, “totaling approximately 33,000 rooms.”

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Those hotels are currently closed to new reservations; however, some are still housing existing guests and medical professionals.

“We will look to re-open these hotels as soon as possible and once the local authorities confirm that is appropriate,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.

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In its fourth-quarter report, Hilton noted that its outlook “excludes any potential impact of the coronavirus.” Nassetta, however, said that judging by the company’s experiences with the SARS outbreak, the company could see a loss of $25 million to $50 million in earnings if the outbreak and recovery period of COVID-19 lasts for up to a year.

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Hilton currently operates four hotels in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and 225 hotels in greater China.