With the Philippines having just been lashed by another Super Typhoon, it got me reflecting on some of the most common Hotelier thoughts during Typhoons.
One of the harsh realities of working in a hotel is that it never closes. This is something you need to pretty much accept once you decide to work in the industry. Hotels are open 24/7, 365 days a year. When other people are on holiday, that’s when we hoteliers can expect to be the busiest.
And even when there’s a massive typhoon and everyone else has been told to ‘go home and stay home’ by their schools and offices, we are expected to report for work as if we are superhero, waterproof aquatic beings.
Hotels are expected to continue to provide stellar service even in times of calamity. To achieve this they need to have on duty hoteliers to provide service to guests, as if it is just a normal day. We are expected to show up for work and tend to the guests. And make sure that the accommodation, water, food, electricity and communication run as normal. Regardless of any personal concerns or worries we may have.
I have worked for days whilst huge typhoons have raged outside the hotel because the storm suddenly picked up and a co-worker was not able to get in to work to start their shift. After all, who is supposed to take over your shift if your colleagues are not able to get to work. You, of course!
I know many of us have experienced braving harsh weather conditions and working extended hours during natural calamities.
So, here are some hotelier thoughts during typhoons which you might have when those storm signals pick up!
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.1: “May masasakyan kaya ako?”
When you work in a hotel, you are expected to make your absolute best effort to make it to work. Despite torrential rainfall and crazy gusts of wind.
However, this becomes more of a challenge when the usual modes of public transportation are nowhere to be found. Or when they all fill up too quickly with people struggling to get to work.
Your normal one-hour commute can turn into a three, maybe even four-hour struggle. So make sure you are ready and prepared for that!
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.2: “Baha kaya sa dadaanan ko?”
Even when you have your own transportation it is still a challenge to travel to work when the weather is bad.
Depending on where you live and where you work, the roads you normally traverse could be impassable due to flooding in the area. Or due to stalled cars and traffic accidents because of slippery roads and poor visibility.
Take extra care driving. And make sure to check public advisories regarding road closures and rerouting, before you leave your house. to know which areas to avoid!
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.3: “Papasok kaya kapalitan ko?”
There is only one question in your mind when you are already at work, a typhoon has made landfall, and you are watching the rain fall outside through the lobby door. And that is “will my coworkers make it to work to take over the shift?”
Most of the time, you already know the answer.
As you get closer to the end of your shift, and your colleagues start calling in to say they can’t make it, your heart sinks. You start to accept that you will probably have to cover at least another 8 hours of work.
But then, it’s just as well. You probably won’t be able to get home anyway and it’s usually safer to stay put in the hotel where it’s nice and dry.
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.4: “Maayos kaya sleeping quarters?”
During typhoon situations, hotels usually set up a sleeping area for employees who need to stay in the hotel. They may live too far away or in flood-prone areas. Or maybe they need a place to sleep for a few hours before they go back and cover another shift because their coworkers couldn’t make it in.
Some hotels have fixed designated sleeping quarters for these types of situations. But most just set up makeshift areas in their function rooms with rollaway beds or sleeping bags.
When you have no choice but to stay in the hotel, you can only wish for a comfortable area where you can get a little bit of privacy and some sleep before heading back to work.
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.5: “May pa-goto kaya sa cafeteria?”
The nice thing about being stuck in the hotel during typhoons is that most of the time, hotels will treat employees to something special in the cafeteria.
Depending on the property you are working for, some will prepare goto or champorado for their employees who are working almost 24/7 because their co-workers can’t get in to work.
Sometimes it’s unlimited coffee or hot chocolate. Just some perks for the people taking care of the business during times when they are needed the most.
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.6: “Sana hindi magka-problema ang internet at kuryente.”
During heavy rain and thunderstorms, we are always thinking about the possibility that the power will go off. Or the internet signal will go down. It’s already tough to handle stressed guests, but having issues with power and internet makes it a nightmare.
Of course, most hotels these days have a backup generator. But if it’s a large hotel it’s usually not enough to power the hotel to its normal level.
For a hotelier checking guests in and out manually without a working Property Management System is a recipe for disaster. Especially when guests are wet, stressed and impatient. Having to also go up several flights of stairs to get to their room, because there is no elevator, just makes it so much worse.
Hotelier thoughts during Typhoons fix on the hope of normal power and internet service during these times. Especially as communication is also extra important during calamities.
Hotelier thoughts during typhoons no.7: “Sana okay lang ang pamilya ko sa bahay.”
While we are safe and warm inside the hotel taking care of guests, our families at home may not be so lucky.
They may be having to move furniture to higher places to avoid them getting wet with flood water. They may be trying to manage roof leaks or secure items so they won’t get blown off by strong winds.
They may be having to find the family pets to bring them into a sheltered area. Because cats and dogs are notorious for running off or hiding when the weather gets crazy, right!
They may need to move cars to higher parking areas or could even be asked to evacuate. Some of your family members may be stuck on the road unable to get a ride home.
These hotelier thoughts during typhoons are worse if they have already lost power and signal and you are unable to get in touch with them. Anxiety and stress can go through the roof and it’s extra challenging because you still have to assist guests in spite of your incessant worrying about your family.
Extreme weather conditions can be a real challenge to hoteliers and can be a true test of our commitment to work. We all need to work together to help keep the hotel operational in spite of calamities or the above hotelier thoughts running round and round in our heads. And all with a smile on our faces and no visible signs of stress or worry.
I would just like to add this little reminder: You do not need to be a hero! Do not attempt to go to work if doing so means putting your life at risk.
Work is important, yes. But, at the end of the day, our safety and wellbeing should still be our first priority.
Stay safe and dry hoteliers!