As Details Emerge After Katrina, Resort Developers Release Findings
Monday, September 19, 2005
Here are some resources to find online information about resorts, hotels, and timeshares damaged by hurricane Katrina.
Cleanup and rescue efforts along the Gulf Coast of the United States are proceeding as smoothly as can be expected. However, only in the past several days have we been able to get a clear picture of the scale of the devastation.
Lodging Econometrics, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based organization founded in 1995, collects information on hotel properties. While no hotel/timeshare companies are mentioned by name, some alarming figures and facts can be found at http://www.lodging-econometrics.com/site/news/Katrina/KatrinaRelease.htm.
Marriott has been more forthcoming than most other hotel companies, though it has received some criticism for its policies regarding cancellation fees. In a release dated September 2, 2005, Marriott stated:
“Cancellation fees for individual (non-group) bookings at hotels directly affected by the hurricane, or in areas experiencing mandatory evacuations, are being waived for arrivals through October 1.”
Considering that most hotels should be undergoing repairs until April 1 of next year, this statement seemed to indicate that guests with reservations at these hotels from October through April were being charged a cancellation fee, since the hotels in question will almost certainly remain uninhabitable throughout this time. Marriott may have changed this policy since then, as recent releases from Marriott do not mention cancellation fees. Though this issue does not apply to most timeshares, consumers are advised to watch out for added costs regardless of which company runs their home resorts. All things aside, Marriott has done a great job of keeping the public informed, and you can find more information on Marriott properties affected by Katrina by going to http://marriott.com/news/detail.mi?marrArticle=101556.
If you own timeshare in an area affected by Katrina, I would strongly suggest that you attempt to make contact with your home resort immediately if you have not already done so. Only your home resort can adequately answer any questions you have about fees, special assessments, repairs, and conditions in the areas surrounding the resort.