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AH&LA Surveys Industry in Aftermath of Hurricane Irene

Hoteliers Share Lessons Learned and Stories Exemplifying Hospitality

Washington, September 8, 2011 – While Hurricane Irene and its ensuing damage served as a learning experience for the lodging industry, hoteliers along the eastern seaboard provided exceptional service and safety to guests.  The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) polled members to determine the extent of their damage and recommendations and tips.  A number of hoteliers relayed stories ranging from employees who went above and beyond to salvage disrupted weddings to sleeping on cots in order to stay on property to acts of kindness by both employees and guests.

The survey revealed that the top issues hoteliers faced were labor challenges around employees being able to get to work, power loss, wind damage, flooding, leaks, and food spoilage.  Hoteliers said among the things they’d do differently include getting a generator, better employee training and communication, addressing prepaid rooms needing to be cancelled, and revising action plans.

AH&LA culled together a lengthy list of action items to consider in advance, during, and following a natural disaster, including:
  • Review insurance coverages and reporting requirements with your agent
  • Designate a signal phone number for employees to call for the latest information on schedules, closing, rooms, etc.
  • Secure storage of vital employee and financial records
  • Block rooms for employees and corporate team members
  • Conduct inventory and order additional non-perishable food and paper products
  • Secure sandbags if flooding is anticipated
  • Procure additional cash for purchases post storm
  • Store as much water as possible in tubs, sinks, and other containers, as well as ice
  • Provide glowsticks to guests and place in halls and stairs
“This year has shown us that you don’t have to be in a traditionally natural disaster prone area to be affected,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney.  “The best thing for hoteliers to do is to start preparing before a warning is even issued.”

For a complete list of member recommendations, along with federal and allied member resources available to help members prepare for natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to earthquakes to tornados, visit http://www.ahla.com/irene/.

Serving the hospitality industry for a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members
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Contact:

Kathryn Potter
kpotter@ahla.com


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