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Hurricane Dorian Continues Path; Puerto Rico Spared

Hotel Business

Hurricane Dorian continues its drive toward Florida, having delivered a glancing blow to Puerto Rico and setting its sights set on The Bahamas.

As part of its continuing coverage, Hotel Business is tracking Dorian’s effect on the hospitality industry in the hurricane’s path.


Advice in Advance of the Storm

Alan Rubin, a principal in Blank Rome’s Government Relations group, has been involved in hurricane recovery efforts since Hurricane Andrew, a destructive Category 5 hurricane struck the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana in 1992. His experience led to a special focus in resiliency and natural disasters, which includes disaster planning, storm financing, and developing new types of insurance recovery methods.

“Hotels and hospitality businesses should be prepared to provide access to their spaces and/or services that are not affected by the storm,” said Rubin. “Hoteliers should also be able to reference a booking and/or reservation center to redirect people as to where to go in the event of a storm, and have individuals prepared to work with or handle rebooking requests or fees. Finally, they should have a link between hotels that provides information about ongoing storms.”

Rubin offers the following recommendations to consider during hurricane season:

Hoteliers and hospitality businesses should:

  • Share facilities and be sure that they have a “sister hotel” that they can use if/when their facility gets impaired;
  • Create a command center separate from their reservation area that they can use to communicate with emergency managers, local officials, government agencies (FEMA), as well as families of people who are staying at their hotel;
  • Have backup generators that allow, at minimum, the main services to be continued;
  • Turn their public and/or common spaces into shelters; and
  • Have a facility available for pets.

In terms of preparing for a potential interruption in business, Rubin advises hoteliers to check their business interruption insurance policies.

“They should also have on-call service providers who are prepared to handle issues in connection with debris removal, air conditioning malfunctions, roof repairs, etc. They should provide a secure communication hub that wouldn’t go down in the event of a storm,” said Rubin. “Finally, hoteliers should speak to attorneys who specialize in insurance recovery and professionals who provide mitigation and hazard recovery counsel related to FEMA and other government agencies.”

“Hurricane Dorian Continues Path; Puerto Rico Spared” was published in Hotel Business on August 30, 2019.