According to Scott Adams, it very well might be:
I’ve posted before about companies using the recession as an excuse to cut perks, regardless of whether the company itself was/is substantially affected by the economic conditions. The basic principle is that the companies can get away with it more because people’s perceptions of fairness depend on how they view the financial situation of the company making the decisions. As before, consider the following survey question as reported in “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market”:
In the context of the economic downturn, subjects were asked the following:
Question 9A: A small company employs several workers and has been paying them average wages. There is severe unemployment in the area and the company could easily replace its current employees with good workers at a lower wage. The company has been making money. The owners reduce the current workers’ wages by 5 percent.
Question 9B: …the company has been losing money. The owners reduce the current workers’ wages by 5 percent.
The corollary to this evidence would then be that a company is in a better negotiating position if it “needs” to do something to stay afloat rather than just wants to do it in order to be more profitable, since people don’t seem to question a firm’s right to survival, even at the expense of others. Perhaps Hyatt should have thought to use this strategy.