Pivot Hotels & Resorts Vice President Caroline Dyal Discusses Being Prepared for All Kinds of Weather Conditions
As we leave hurricane season and enter into the winter months, where weather can wreck havoc on travelers, we are talking about best practices for keeping hotels ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. HX: The Newsletter Editor Laura Koss-Feder spoke with Caroline Dyal, vice president of operations for Atlanta-based Pivot Hotels & Resorts, about weather preparation.
Q. This has been a rough hurricane season, with both Hurricanes Florence and Michael impacting so many communities. What do your hotels do, to prepare, as best as possible, for impending hurricanes?
A. We have been through this, and hurricanes are never quite what you expect. We had three properties in Florida impacted by Hurricane Irma last year. But, what we do is six months prior to hurricane season is we gather the managers at hotels that could be affected and assign specific tasks to each leader. We check the hotel's windows, exterior, and other areas that should be examined. Emergency kits are put together three months prior to the season. These include glow sticks, flashlights, and extra waters, for example, to name a few items.
Q. How do you handle weather emergencies, as an event gets closer and closer to where a property or properties are located?
A. A week before Irma hit, we figured that we may have to shut down Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo property. Seventy-two hours prior, we cancelled reservations and advised employees to leave the area. Our GM stayed in touched with employees, and a Facebook page was created as well. That hotel is now accepting reservations for arrivals on or after Feb. 28, 2019, and will again be open to guests and coming back better than ever.
Q. How do you prepare as the winter season approaches, with the possibility of blizzards?
A. Again, six months out, we check supplies and make sure that we have ample items, like extra blankets, to keep everyone warm. We make sure our generators are working. For the safety and well-being of our employees, they too may be staying at a property during a blizzard - rather than trying to make it home in bad conditions. And, of course, we see to it that they are taken of alongside our guests.
Q. What else is important to do during inclement weather occurrences?
A. Keeping guests and employees as safe a possible is always a priority. We will hand out information to guests at the front desk, advising them on what weather is approaching. And, we will email them prior to arrival; email is so helpful for staying in touch. The more pieces of information we have, the better off we all are. For instance, a bomb cyclone (otherwise known as a winter hurricane) hit Newport, R.I. last winter. We advised our guests at our hotel there that they shouldn't go outside. We tried to make them feel warm and comfortable. We served hot chocolate in the lobby, lit the fireplace, and had music playing. We knew that we had ample supplies in advance and were prepared.
Caroline Dyal joined Pivot Hotels & Resorts in April 2016. Pivot is the lifestyle division of Davidson Hotels & Resorts, and encompasses Davidson’s boutique properties. Dyal oversees and supports all Pivot hotels, propelling their service and operational excellence within the division. Prior to joining Pivot, Caroline served in senior management roles for Palm Restaurant Group, Disney, Viceroy Hotel Group, Kimpton, sbe Hotels & Restaurants, and most recently, Commune Hotels & Resorts.