After three months of being open to guests, Pacific Islands Club Saipan closed its doors anew yesterday, mainly because the hotel has not been earning enough since it decided to reopen in October 2020.
PIC general manager Gloria Cavanagh said in an email interview that shutting down PIC at this time was a business decision. “We were suffering an additional loss with the opening of the hotel and a portion of the waterpark, so we would have to plan carefully. The additional loss was not a lot, but we need to reserve our capital,” said Cavanagh.
Separately, Lindsay Ahn, E-Lands Corporate Social Responsibility manager, said that PIC temporarily stopped operations yesterday, Jan. 25, until further notice. E-Land is the parent company of PIC Saipan.
Due to the additional loss that the hotel was seeing, Cavanagh stated that they had to furlough staff. When asked how many employees were affected, she said that the majority of them were “casual hour employees,” which means that the employees only go in when asked, or when required to, but there were quite a few who were furloughed.
Cavanagh, who also heads the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, stated in a previous interview that a total of 800 foreign workers who work in the islands’ hotel industry, including PIC staff, had been sent back home. These workers did not go on a one-shot flight, but HANMI was communicating and coordinating with airlines at the time.
Once a proposed travel bubble between the CNMI and South Korea finally gets going, Cavanagh said that many of these employees will be called back, but, for now, they will have to be furloughed.
When asked as to when PIC will reopen, Cavanagh stated that they will address this on a periodic basis, but PIC hopes to open its Food & Beverage Department in March. The F&B outlets are The Galley, Seaside Grill, and The Magellan. PIC opened the restaurants and waterpark last October because of persistent local demand.
Though PIC will be closed, their sister hotels, Kensington Hotel Saipan and the Coral Ocean Point, will remain open.
‘PIC will be missed’
In an interview with customers who asked not to be named, they said that PIC will definitely be missed. Jane (not her real name) said her favorite was PIC’s happy hour and that she would sometimes see Cavanagh among the servers during PIC’s happy hour. “It was different seeing her serve. Usually, you don’t see managers serve as waitstaff, and you would think that they wouldn’t know how to serve, but the service was perfect,” said Jane.
Additionally, Jane hopes that PIC will open soon when the economy picks up.
Another local customer stated that rank-and-file staff up to managers were all hands-on with operations.