Hotel closures, staff reduction, paycuts for Swiss Garden International

KUALA LUMPUR (June 4): More hotel closures seem to be the order of the day due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the latest casualties are three Swiss Garden International (SGI) hotels across the country, the New Straits Times (NST) reported today.

Swiss Garden Damai Laut in Lumut, Perak, Swiss-Inn Chinatown Kuala Lumpur and Swiss-Inn Sungai Petani in Kedah have been singled out as three SGI properties which will be closed, as part of cost rationalisation moves across the group.

SGI is the home-grown hospitality brand under the OSK Group and comprises its hotels and vacation club businesses.

"As for our other hotels, we will also have to further reduce our staff force across all our properties and introduce further payroll reduction programmes to manage our costs," group managing director Ong Ju Yan said in a letter to his employees sighted by the NST.

"During the closure period, we will be renovating Swiss Garden Damai Laut as part of our plan to covert the hotel into a Double Tree by Hilton.

"Swiss Inn KL will undergo major rectification works at the right time," he added.

Ong said Swiss Inn in Johor Baru will remain open as a quarantine hotel with a smaller staff force, and will be closed later in the year for its conversion to into a Holiday Inn Express Hotel.

"Swiss Garden Kuantan and Swiss Garden Genting will remain closed for now and if the market improves, both hotels may reopen in the third quarter of 2020 with a lower room inventory and a smaller staff force.

"All this will impact all of our colleagues in SGI Group, from the head office, down to every hotel property," said Ong.

No indication of impacted employees were indicated in his June 1 message.

According to NST, Ong said SGI's initial approach was to do everything it could to save as many jobs as possible by applying for the government's wage subsidy initiative along with a temporary pay reduction programme for selected higher-pay employees.

"However, this only had a small impact on our financial position, and we recorded two consecutive months of very signifiant losses.

"As the hotels remain closed, we continue to bleed financially, as we have near-zero revenue coming in since the closure of our hotels on March 18.

"If we continue in this trajectory, SGI Group will be unable to survive," he noted.

NST said SGI was established in 1991 as a hotel operator to manage hotels for OSK Group and a hotel management company to assist hotel owners with their third-party managed hotels.

SGI's portfolio of nine hotels, resorts, and inns has a combined inventory of over 1,650 rooms.

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