Hurricane Protocol and Best Practice Tips
By Greg Winey President, NorthPointe Hospitality Management, LLC | October 27, 2019
Hurricane Dorian, a storm that at its most powerful grew to a Category 5, rained down on the Bahamas and the east coast of the United States not long ago. NorthPointe Hospitality Management, which owns and operates an expanding portfolio of properties across the Southeast, had four coastal hotels in its path.
While we are fortunate that none of these hotels sustained damage, the weeks and days leading up to and following the storm tested everything. They tested not only our ability to physically prepare the buildings for possible damage, they tested our patience and resolve in the face of the unknown.
Coming into the 2019 hurricane season, 2018 hurricanes were still fresh on everyone's mind. Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 hurricane, ended up skirting the coast of Georgia and South Carolina as a tropical storm before making landfall as a Category 1, when it eventually slammed into the North Carolina Coast. Hurricane Michael started as a Category 1 and ended as a Category 5 hurricane, slamming into the Florida panhandle. Both caused billions of dollars in destruction and loss of life. One hurricane felt like a false start, the other felt like a sucker punch.
I cannot overstate enough the unpredictability of these events. Don't EVER try and time a hurricane. The "close calls" now have me concerned that we will lower our guard and be tempted to "ride it out." Though hurricane season lasts from summer to fall, September and October are much more active months. A peak time in hurricane season is here, in full swing. It's time to be prepared.
If I had to encapsulate my hurricane experience as a staff member, hotel department manager, hotel general manager, director of operations for multi-unit hotels and president it would be the following:
1. Hurricanes are Defining