Grand Palladium retains 60 per cent staff despite downturn in tourism sector

Regional

Grand Palladium retains 60 per cent staff despite downturn in tourism sector

Thursday, July 30, 2020

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POINT, Hanover - Grand Palladium Resort and Spa, located at Point in Hanover, is reporting that despite slow business resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic, it has retained 60 per cent of its permanent staff.

Concerns have been raised in recent weeks that Grand Palladium and others across western Jamaica, have laid off staff.

The hotel had employed some 1,500 permanent and contract workers before the lockdown of the sector due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Of that amount, 1,000 were permanently employed.

General manager at the property, Enrico Pezzoli, told the Jamaica Observer West last week, that to date, the hotel has retained 600 permanent employees despite only realising approximately 10 per cent of its booking capacity since the hotel reopened its doors to the public on July 10.

The hotel currently has some 1,054 rooms of which only 50 rooms are occupied.

“It is a big effort from the company because if you understand the ratio at this moment… there is no other hotel that has like 50 or 100 rooms occupied, and this high amount of retained staff. So, we are really trying to keep as much as possible,” stated Pezzoli.

Pezzoli pointed out that the hotel has an impact on the community and despite being in unprecedented times, he had pushed the parent company in Spain for Grand Palladium to be one of the first hotels to reopen.

“I was pushing very much my corporate people in Spain for it to be one of the first hotels to reopen, even though we know that we depend a lot on the international market and the occupancy level could not be the one that we are expecting,” stated Pezzoli, adding that, “I am very happy that they were very sensitive...and wanted the hotel to open.”

Pezzoli said it is currently unpredictable to understand how many guests the hotel will have in the coming days due to “no show because of airlines not flying, or last-minute cancellations. So, that is the challenging part.”

“All over this industry, they don't charge cancellation fees and people can avoid showing up and they will not be penalised. The other day we had 35 rooms Canadian [guests] and they could not arrive because their flight was cancelled at the last minute,” explained Pezzoli.

“The situation is that we don't really expect occupancy to go much higher in the next few months. So, we are forecasting between 20 and 30 per cent [occupancy] for 2020, not more than that. We were expecting 20 per cent in July and we had 10 per cent so far. Today [Tuesday, July 21], we have six per cent occupancy, fifty rooms occupied.”


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