Hotels outside the destructive path of Hurricane Florence are starting to fill up as residents evacuate their homes to escape the Category 4 storm.
Many hotels in the Carolinas, Virginia and elsewhere are preparing for the storm and waiving fees for cancelling reservations and guests traveling with pets.
“We are seeing a major increase and demand and doing our best to accommodate guests and employees that are being impacted along the coast,” Maggie Giddens, managing director of external at G6 Hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6, said Tuesday. “Right now, we are already expecting limited availability in the Carolinas after a mandatory evacuation was signaled in areas of South Carolina where we have multiple locations.”
Some hotels are also offering special rates. Visit Abingdon in Virginia is posting discounts on its Twitter account. Bristol Virginia/Tennessee is also offering assistance.
InterContinental Hotels Group is welcoming pets free of charge in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, and Washington D.C.
All IHG hotels in those areas are also waiving cancellation fees during the storm.
Marriott International is recommending that hotels in impacted areas waive cancellation fees. Hotels that normally do not allow pets are also relaxing pet policies as needed.
Hyatt hotels in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are taking precautions such as securing outdoor furniture and landscaping. They are also trying to accommodate displaced guests on a “case-by-case basis.”
Depending on the property, hotels may waive pet and parking fees.
Both The Mayton Inn in Cary, North Carolina, and King’s Daughters Inn in Durham, North Carolina, have availability and are taking in evacuees. Both properties are waiving cancellation policies and fees for pets. The hotels are getting more bookings than usual and are stocking up on food and alcohol.
The hotels have also made housing arrangements for their employees who can’t make it home during the storm.
The Visit North Carolina visitor service call center will begin operating 24/7 starting Sept. 14.
Operators are offering the latest information on available accommodations and updates for travelers at 1-800-VISITNC (800-847-4862).
The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association is asking its members to consider waiving cancellation fees.
“If areas are under mandatory evacuation, then cancellation policies are often negated,” says Eleanor Talley, tourism public relations manager for Visit North Carolina.
“Price gouging laws will also go into effect for lodging properties as the storm approaches.”
Asheville, North Carolina, is hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games this week and through Sept. 23. Representatives from the National Weather Service are on-site to help organizers decide how to deal with the storm.
“There are numerous multi-floored buildings at the venue and our permanent stabling is incredibly secure and safe,” organizers wrote on the event website. “In the case of severe weather which requires immediate response, we have a robust evacuation protocol.”
Dodie Stephens, director of communications for Explore Asheville, says that there is still lodging available throughout the Asheville area and Buncombe County. Explore Asheville is reaching out to lodging providers and posting online updates on hotel and bed and breakfast availability as they come in via Exploreasheville.com/alerts/.
Stay tuned for more updates.
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