With a large number of our properties in the southeast regions of the United States, preparing for hurricane season is something we take very seriously at The Service Companies. As a business partner to resorts, casinos, hotels and various other facilities at risk of hurricanes and tropical storms, we train and make our associates aware of each property’s emergency plan right from the start.
Storms in these regions are inevitable this time of year, but it is hard to be sure when, and where, a hurricane is going to hit. After experiencing some of the most severe tropical storms and hurricanes, our team knows that the key to ensuring safety on property is to be prepared, and with hurricane warnings coming days in advance, there is some time to prepare your building and guests for the storm ahead.
Here are some important tips to remember when preparing for a hurricane:
Hurricane season calls for extra support, but staffing may be limited due to road conditions and the need for associates to be with their families. To work around this issue, it helps to have a “Storm Team” in place. This team, comprised of associates from different departments, is given living accommodations on property for the duration of the storm to support efforts.
While you have more manpower several days out, get exterior preparations done early. Anything that is not securely mounted must go indoors. Items such as waste receptacles and exterior furniture need to be moved to a safe location within the garage, storage area or lower level of the building. Balcony tower furniture can be stacked inside of the guest rooms. This also comes in handy for people to rest and ride the storm in the lower level of your property.
Many times, your hotel guests are unable to travel during the storm and must stay on property. If this becomes the case, remember to do the following:
- Keep guests informed through regular communications. This includes items such as storm updates, evacuation plans and stairwell locations, safe areas to be within the building (i.e. away from windows), available food options and services during this period.
- If your property rooms have outdoor space, be sure guests know to bring any personal items inside. Before heavier winds approach, take walks around the building to verify all is clear.
- If you have guests in need of extra care or that use assisted equipment, make sure to make this information known to your team in the case that they need immediate assistance during the storm.
- Pre-pack emergency kits so they can be delivered and/or available to each guest. Kits should include: bottled water, flashlights, extra linens, paper products, amenities, trash bags, and dry snacks.
- Have battery sources available to charge devices, as this is a common request when electricity goes out.
- Organize indoor activities and keep an inventory of games, especially for families with children.
Laurie Katinos is one of the leading hospitality operations directors. Her expertise in housekeeping operations spans over 20 years, with the majority of her time spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and The Service Companies. Her knowledge and operations savvy has contributed to The Service Companies becoming the unrivaled provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services in the hospitality industry.