Hotel Online  Special Report
Katrina & Rita: Silver Lining or Opportunity?

Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs - October 2005

We have delayed publishing this article for a few weeks because we did not want to appear to be jumping on the already overloaded bandwagon.  We were also trying to find an appropriate alternative to “silver lining”.    In our opinion the use of such a term in the wake of a tragedy of this proportion is not only wrong; it is insensitive and even obscene.   People suffered and died, pets died, an entire way of life was greatly and horribly affected; in some cases, the affect is permanent.  In all cases, it was traumatic almost beyond comprehension.

So while we would not call it a silver lining, we do see opportunities in the Gulf Coast area, particularly for the hospitality and tourism industry.  Prior to the storms there were several beautiful and very successful hotel, resorts, and casinos employing thousands of workers throughout the area.    These establishments were patronized annually by millions of visitors, local, regional, national, and international.  Once the initial shock is past, these same visitors will return, and will undoubtedly  be joined by others.

To paraphrase a movie tagline, “if you rebuild it, they will come”.  Why not rebuild it even better than it was?  If the Gulf Coast is rebuilt, as we are sure it will be, it will certainly rebound to new heights.  How do we know this?  We know this because the region has seen devastation in the past, and has always rebounded.  America is a resilient nation, created by a resilient determined people, and sustained through numerous crises by their descendants for more than two centuries.  

This southern part of American has endured all those crises, and some of its own.  A hundred and forty years ago, the South was virtually in ruin after the Civil War; it rose again and prospered.

In 1900 Galveston, Texas was almost totally destroyed by a hurricane, with a loss of thousands of lives; Galveston came back and prospered.

In the 1930’s the American South was particularly hard hit by the Great Depression; the South rose again and prospered again.  In recent years, the hospitality and tourism industry has been a key player in the South’s economic recovery by providing thousands of jobs in previously depressed areas.

In 1946 Texas City, Texas was heavily damaged by a maritime explosion, again with many casualties; the city and surrounding area rebounded and became an important port and major player in the oil and petrochemical industry.

In 1957, Hurricane Audrey ravaged a large part of Southwest Louisiana, including Cameron Parish which Rita has just revisited.  I was there and can personally attest to the extent of the damage and loss of life.  Yet Cameron and the surrounding area came back and again prospered.

These are just a few highlights; the list goes on with Hurricanes Camille, Betsy, and many others too numerous to name.  Our point is simple: destruction and devastation is nothing new to the people of the Gulf Coast; they have been through it all before in varying degrees, and they have always responded, rebounded, and rebuilt.  With Katrina and Rita, only the names are new.  It may take longer this time, but the final result will be the same.   If there is an opportunity in all this, perhaps it is for the resort, casino, and hotel operators to not only rebuild and reopen quickly, but to improve their physical facilities, offer better guest services, and enhance the atmosphere.  Guests will certainly come back; why not give them even more to come back to?


Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs
(757) 871-5899

Also See: Our Dream Hotel / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / July 2005
Losing a Diamond or Star / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs /  March 2005
Ratings vs Guest Satisfaction / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2005
Our "Pick of the Month" / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004
5 Star vs 5 Diamond: What’s the Difference? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004
Strategic Alliance Announced, Committed to Hospitality Excellence / August 2004
Family Resorts: Suggested Strategies / Cheryl Griggs / July 2004
Are Small Resorts Unfairly Treated by the AAA and Mobil Rating Criteria / July 2004
Designing For Optimum Global Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / June 2004
QualAsia Formed to Provide Authoritative Organization to Inspect and Evaluate Hotels Across Asia; Harry Nobles Appointed Chairman of New Asian Hotel Rating Service / May 2004
Validity of Online Hotel Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / April 2004
Resorts Ratings Redux / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2004
Are Your Trainers Trained? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson Grigg /  January 2004 
The Language of Service / Cheryl Griggs / October 2003
Hotel Renovation Ideas vs AAA Ratings Criteria / Harry Nobles / October 2003
New Employee Orientation: Necessity or Luxury?  /  July 2003
Save the Best - Replace the Rest / July 2003
AAA and Mobil Ratings As a Sales Tool / May 2003
How Well Do You Know Your Competitor? / May 2003
Our Favorite Hotel?  / March 2003
The Current Value of AAA Hotel Ratings / Feb 2003
Stars and Diamonds; Some Similarities and Some Differences / January 2003
AAA's Delay: Good or Bad? / July 2002
Timing Is Everything, Or Is It? / July 2002 
Boutique Hotels: Have They Gone Too Far / May 2002
People Really Do Make the Difference / Jan 2002
What Is a Boutique Hotel? / Dec 2001
The Non-negotiable Traits of Leaders / Oct 2001 
How Important is Service? / Sept 2001
Front Desk Service Mistakes / Aug 2001
Food & Beverage Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001
Bell Staff Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001 
Attitude vs Aptitude / June 2001
Female Business Travelers' Expectations / June 2001
Is Outsourcing Your Training a Viable Alternative? / June 2001
Unique Identity + Consistent Service = Success / May 2001
AAA Standards vs  Guests' Expectations / May 2001
Are Your Guests Better Informed Than Your Staff? / April 2001
Are U.S. Hotels Rated Differently From Other North American Hotels? / April 2001
The Design Theme - AAA / Mobil Ratings Connection / March 2001
Attitude Can Make the Difference / January 2001
How Should Casino-Hotels be Rated? / Dec 2000
Does AAA Rate Resorts Fairly? / Nov 2000
Is Your Property Suffering From Design Deficiency? / Nov 2000 
The Future of AAA Ratings / September 2000
What Is Your Optimum AAA Rating / August 2000
If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating…../ June 2000
Are AAA Ratings Always Accurate and Objective / May 2000
Creating Atmosphere / Jan 2000
What is "Atmosphere"? / December 1999
Maintaining Your AAA Rating / Nov 1999
Earning a AAA Rating vs Maintaining a AAA Rating: Which Is More Difficult?  / Oct 1999
Can Outstanding Service Offset Hotel Physical Deficiencies in the Rating Systems? / Harry Nobles / June 1999 
Consistency: The Hallmark of a Fine Hotel / September 1999
Who Should Train Your Employees  / Aug 2000 
Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998 
Key to Success: Training + Follow-Up / June 2000
The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999 
To Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting Index Page

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