Hurricane Ian made landfall as a category four storm in Florida on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, causing flooding, widespread tree damage, power outages, and impacting families and businesses. Many businesses recovering from this catastrophic storm are hotels, like the one owned by AAHOA Lifetime Member Jan Gautam.
Gautam, President & CEO of IHRMC Hotels & Resorts in Orlando, FL, shared that seven of his hotel properties suffered wind and water intrusion when Hurricane Ian hit the Orlando area as a category one.
“This particular hurricane was supposed to hit Tampa Bay and we were not expecting it to come towards us in Orlando,” Gautam said. “Suddenly, at the last moment the route was changed and most of the people from the Tampa area were staying in Orlando, so hotels in Orlando were completely full. These were the people who came from central Florida and we were actually beaten up badly.”
The State of Florida has activated a total of 5,000 Florida Guardsmen, along with nearly 2,000 Guardsmen from neighboring states for hurricane response.
AAHOA has also been busy reaching out to members affected by Hurricane Ian in Florida and other surrounding areas along the East Coast of the United States.
AAHOA released a statement on the impact of Hurricane Ian last week and compiled a list of dos and don’ts to help members during the recovery response process. Former AAHOA Chairman (2004-2005) Naresh “Nash” Patel is based in Pensacola, FL, and plans to lend a hand in the areas affected by the storm.
“I’m actually heading down to the affected areas this week. I’m not only a hotel owner but also a general contractor,” Patel said. “We’re heading out there just to see if we can help anybody out and do what needs to be done. Also, some of our colleagues like Rahul [Patel, AAHOA’s Florida Regional Director,] are putting together a town hall meeting from AAHOA in that area just to get everybody together, making sure that they don’t get taken advantage of because at times like this, people are desperate to make decisions quickly. We want to caution them that those decisions should be the right decision. Do your due diligence.”
Together, the AAHOA community is assisting members and hoteliers navigate this difficult situation.