Global hotel industry grapples with massive storms
 
Global hotel industry grapples with massive storms
17 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:38 AM

Two noteworthy storms hit on opposite sides of the globe over the past few days, and hotel companies are reacting to the properties and guests affected by the storms.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:13 a.m., 19 September to include a statement from American Hotel Income Properties. 

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:11 p.m., 17 September with comments from Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, CorePoint Lodging and Radisson Hotel Group. HNN will be updating this story with new and updated information from various hotel companies as it comes in.

GLOBAL REPORT—Both the southeastern United States and southeast Asia were hit by devastating storms in recent days, and hoteliers are currently working to understand the full scope of damage and how to assist those in need.

The death toll from Hurricane Florence—which has since been downgraded to a tropical depression—has climbed to 16 in North and South Carolina with The New York Times reporting the storm system “slowly ravaged the region, flooding cities, endangering communities from the coastline to the rugged mountains, and requiring well more than 1,000 rescues.”

“It’s horrible,” Mitch Colvin, mayor of Fayetteville, North Carolina, told The Times. “Things are deteriorating.”

Meanwhile, Typhoon Mangkhut carved a path of destruction through the Philippines and Hong Kong en route to mainland China, with many people reported dead and missing and millions evacuated from affected areas, according to the BBC.

The Evening Standard reported on video of the Sheraton Dameisha Hotel in Shenzhen being hit by a flood of sea water.

Here are some of the early responses provided to Hotel News Now from hotel companies related to the recent storms.

American Hotel Income Properties
According to a company news release on 18 September, American Hotel Income Properties confirms that all of its hotels in North Carolina "have remained open during Hurricane Florence and these properties have not sustained any meaningful damage as a result of the storm." The real estate investment trust has "five hotels in the region, all located inland, that represent just 4% of the company's total hotel guestrooms," the release stated. "These properties were well-prepared and continue to cater to guests—including those seeking accommodation as a result of the storm."

"Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Florence, including our many hotel guests and employees in the region," CEO Rob O'Neill said in the release. 

Choice Hotels International
On Monday, Choice Hotels International officials announced a program to donate loyalty points from the Choice Privileges program to convert them into donations to the American Red Cross. The company has committed to matching up to 20 million points that will be converted to cash and used “in support of disaster relief and recovery efforts through the end of this year.”

Statement from 17 September:
“Our thoughts are with all those who are in the path of Hurricane Florence. We have approximately 160 franchised hotels located in the predicted path of the storm. Currently, our top priority is the safety of our employees, our franchisees’ staff and their guests. The Choice Hotels team is closely monitoring the situation and working with our franchised hotels to assist with emergency preparedness and notifying guests of closures. Guests can visit ChoiceHotels.com or call 1 (877) 424-6423 for the most up-to-date information on availability, or to learn about waivers for cancellation and change fees, which vary by hotel.”

Hospitality Properties Trust
John Murray, president and CEO of the Newton, Massachusetts-based real estate investment trust, said his portfolio avoided major damage and disruption from the storm, but was impacted by other events in recent days.

“We had very few problems of any significance at our hotels in the hurricane impact zone, I expect over the coming months demand will be high from relief workers and displaced homeowners,” he said via email. “We had one hotel evacuated for about 48 hours in North Andover, Massachusetts, because of the gas leaks that caused some damage north of Boston.”

Extended Stay America
Emailed statement from 17 September:
“Due to the extreme weather conditions and state of emergency declarations, Extended Stay America closed hotels in Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville, North Carolina; and Wilmington, North Carolina. We have been able to reopen the Charleston properties, however the Jacksonville and Wilmington hotels remain closed due to accessibility to the properties. A few hotels sustained minor damage, however all have power. Aside from returning in-house guests we are housing displaced area residents, as well as first responders and recovery workers."

Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Statement from 17 September:
“Our deepest concerns are with our neighbors in North Carolina who have been impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence. At this time, all Hyatt hotels in the impacted areas are open and operating as normal. Travelers with questions regarding a future reservation and hotel availability may contact Hyatt directly at 800-323-7249.”

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Statement from 17 September:
“Our hearts go out to all those who have felt the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence and the subsequent flooding. Although we are continuing to assess the impact of the storm, the vast majority of our hotels are reporting that they are once again open for business.

"We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated staff at our franchised and managed hotels, local authorities and members of the community who have gone above and beyond to help those in need across the Carolinas and impacted areas during the course of this storm. We encourage travelers with questions or in need of additional assistance to contact us at +1-855-999-0847.”

CorePoint Lodging
Kristin Hays, SVP of investor relations and communicators at CorePoint Lodging, said her company’s hotels in the path of Hurricane Florence seem to have escaped significant damage.

“At first review, we do not believe that any of our hotels suffered major damage due to damage caused by Hurricane Florence. We are continuing to closely monitor the situation and will provide updates, as appropriate. CorePoint Lodging had three hotels that closed late last week due to mandatory evacuations in the areas of Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Two of those hotels have since reopened and the third hotel should reopen early this week. Power has been restored at our hotels in those areas, as well.”

Radisson Hotel Group
Statement from 17 September (via public relationships senior specialists Laura Langemo):

“We have been in contact with our hotels in the region impacted by Hurricane Florence, which are all currently open. The safety of our guests is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation and will continue working with those hotels to determine what assistance they need in the coming days.”

Hilton
Statement from 14 September:
“The safety and security of our guests and team members is always our top priority. We continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Florence and have prepared our properties and team members accordingly in order to minimize the related effects.

“Hilton properties located in mandatory evacuation zones in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have evacuated to meet local requirements. Other properties within the storm’s projected path that remain open and operational have implemented their emergency preparedness plans. We are in regular contact with local authorities and our tourism partners as we continue to monitor the impact of Hurricane Florence.

“To support our team members and communities impacted by the hurricane, Hilton has launched a Hilton Responds Fund. Additionally, Hilton Honors members have the opportunity to donate points to the charity of their choice, with Hilton Honors matching donations up to 100 million points through the end of 2018.”

“For guests whose travel plans may be affected by Hurricane Florence, modification and cancellation penalties may be waived for stays with arrivals Tuesday, 11 September, through Monday, 17 September, regardless of travel destination. Guests are encouraged to visit Hilton.com or contact 1-800-HILTONS for the latest information on specific properties.”

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Statement from 13 September:
“Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is focused on the safety and security of our guests and team members as we prepare for Hurricane Florence. At this time we are waiving cancellation fees in zip codes that are under evacuation and/or hurricane warning. We strongly encourage any guests who have existing reservations for this week to work with us to reschedule. If you have questions pertaining to an existing or upcoming reservation, please contact us at +1-855-999-0847.”

Marriott International
Statement from 12 September:
“We continue to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Florence. Our hotels in the predicted path of the storm have implemented storm preparation protocols. The safety of our guests and associates is always a top priority at Marriott. In addition, we are in close contact with local authorities and, as always, will take guidance and direction from them as the situation warrants. Plans are in place to evacuate and close our hotels as local authorities or conditions require such action. We encourage those planning to travel to the storm area to check the news for the most current information and amend plans accordingly. Hotels in the impacted area are reviewing their cancellation fees; details may vary by hotel. To modify or cancel an existing reservation, please go to Marriott.com, SPG.com, or the Marriott or SPG apps.”

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