Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan in Sabah is winding down operations and terminating its employees by 31 May. In a letter to employees by general manager David Scully seen by A+M, the hotel has been experiencing economic downturn over the past few months due to a lack of demand for products and services in the hospitality sector.
Scully said in the letter that while the company has taken initial steps to find alternative ways to reduce the impact of business losses such as temporary job cuts, these efforts still burdened the company and resulted in employee layoffs due to the hotel's closure. He added that the termination is unrelated to the employee's individual performance. Four Points by Sheraton is part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which is a subsidiary of Marriott International. A+M has reached out to Marriott for comment on the impact of Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan's marketing team.
The letter added that employees will be notified of termination benefits and the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Employment Insurance System. Employees are also required to hand over company assets to the human resources department. "Thank you for your contribution and service with Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan," Scully said in the letter.
The travel and hotel industries have undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic. Airbnb, for example, was among the companies that had to implement job cuts amidst COVID-19 axing about 1,900 out of 7,500 of employees. Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky explained that the headcount reduction process started with creating a more focused business strategy built on a sustainable cost model.
Meanwhile, travel activities and services booking platform Klook also streamlined its workforce globally, reducing 10% to 20% of its headcount for most functions. Affected employees on temporary leave will continue to receive healthcare coverage and applicable benefits, including access to its employee assistance programme during this time.