Over the past couple of weeks, several natural disasters have hit the US. The wildfires on the island of Maui, the fires in Montana, and the fire in Rhode Island are just a few examples. Now, what does the hospitality community have anything to do with these tragedies? What could they have that could help? Hospitality properties have come together to help the communities.
Hospitality Properties Stepping Up
As the wildfires in Maui finally have been extinguished, the devastation is still not over. During and after the natural disaster, hospitality properties have worked with the local areas to help house the survivors and send relief supplies and financial recovery resources. As of Tuesday, August 22nd, the last of the wildfire survivors have transitioned into more long-term housing. More than 4,400 survivors have stayed in Airbnb facilities opened to them during this natural disaster. Meals, supplies, financial relief, and other supplies are provided for those needing help. Both Maui residents and Governor Green have widely appreciated this temporary solution. The American Red Cross is operating and moving those who need housing, while Airbnb units and other hospitality properties consistently open their doors to help.
Airbnb has been beneficial due to its Disaster Response Tool that came into being in 2012 after the harsh effects of Superstorm Sandy. This program allows Airbnb to host and donate to those needing a temporary haven. Since this program was released, Airbnb has helped over 3,100 people. This natural disaster response works through an alert sent out in an affected area, where Airbnb then updates its home page with details about where accommodations are more readily required. Through this update, anyone who goes to the website can get a map of the area, an estimate of how long they will need accommodation, who needs accommodation, and more.
Maui Natural Disaster
On August 15th, towards the beginning of the devastating wildfires in Maui, Airbnb’s relief program was initiated, and people were quickly placed into safe living situations on their hospitality properties. Airbnb also worked with other nonprofit organizations to connect people with other temporary housing. Oahu’s short-term vacation rental rules were suspended to assist those who had been displaced because of the natural disaster and needed shelter. Even the minimum thirty-day rental period was not to be enforced for the month to help Maui residents further. The short-term, thirty-day minimum rental law was also suspended in Honolulu due to the wildfires to aid the survivors further. Hearing how the community jumped into action to help those affected is incredibly heartwarming.
Now, hospitality properties are not done with their outpouring of goodwill. In August, wildfires also began spreading in Montana in multiple locations. On August 23rd, 2023, East Fork had just over 4,600 acres burning with only 5% containment of this natural disaster. Here, Airbnb and other hospitality properties and nonprofits have stepped up to help give the people temporary housing during evacuations.
Block Island Hotel Fire
Also, a significant fire occurred at a historic Rhode Island hotel, the Block Island Hotel. The natural disaster caused the area to lose water and power, which prompted a state of emergency. On August 18th, a large fire started, which left the place with limited water and no power. Sadly, this historic Rhode Island hotel was severely damaged in the inferno, and it is said, as of August 25th, that the entire hotel will have to be torn down. Luckily, there have been no reports of serious injuries. Nonprofits and other organizations have jumped to help the area, and the SBA (Small Business Administration) has offered disaster assistance to Rhode Island Small Businesses affected by the fire.
InnStyle Offers Assistance
So many communities, organizations, businesses, and people have stepped up to help the people suffering from these natural disasters. It is a testament to how compassion can help others, given how many people have received help. So many hospitality properties have been aiding the affected communities, which is a huge encouragement. InnStyle has offered assistance to organizations looking to make a positive difference in the world. They have donated sheets, towels and amenities to Lodestar Mountain Inn, a nonprofit retreat center, Visions of Hope for Africa and organizations helping Ukranian refugees as well as local women’s shelters and organizations that help the homeless. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please call InnStyle and speak with one of their account managers. They are always happy to help! InnStyle can be reached at 267-354-6020 or 800-877-4667. Their website is https://www.innstyle.com/.