IHG’s Shelter in a Storm programme swings into action

Cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy

IHG’s Shelter in a Storm programme offers vital support and relief post Hurricane Sandy

For the second year in a row, IHG hotels on the East coast have been hit by a natural disaster. The last few days have been undoubtedly tough for everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy and, alongside plenty of others, IHG’s hotels are demonstrating enormous resilience looking after guests and employees and supporting their communities as best they can. The company headquarters have had reports of Hotel General Managers sitting outside the hotels in their cars with their cell phones plugged into their car chargers to try and get hotels back into shape.

As a global company with operations across the world, learning to cope with natural disasters is
not uncommon. People naturally turn to hotels as a place of shelter during disasters and IHG is no exception. In the last couple of years their hotels have been impacted by natural disasters in Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Fiji and the Philippines to name just a few.  In America alone hotel properties have responded to the Colorado Wildfires and Hurricane Isaac during 2012.

In 2011, IHG formalised their disaster response efforts by creating the IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme, providing advice to hotels on when and how to respond to a disaster. IHG's global partnership with CARE ensures that the money raised goes to the right places. IHG draw on CARE’s expertise in humanitarian assistance and uses their infrastructure to channel funds to local communities. If a disaster strikes where CARE are not responding on the ground, IHG seek their guidance on the best local partners to use to ensure help still reaches those places it is needed most.

IHG’s Shelter Fund sits alongside the programme, pumped by IHG employee fundraising throughout the year, providing the company with the funds needed to support guests, employees and surrounding communities quickly when disaster strikes.

IHG has about 600 hotels in the Northeast of the U.S. and of those, 50 properties were directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy over the last week.  Examples include the Holiday Inn Express Wall Street which has first floor flooding and the Holiday Inn Boson Somerville which sustained major roof damage. Whilst most properties are back up and running, understandably a couple are now running at diminished capacity.

In response to the disaster Shelter in a Storm kicked into action.  Back at headquarters the IHG Community Strategy Committee had an emergency meeting to approve funding from the IHG Shelter in Storm Programme to help employees and support local communities.

Funds have been allocated to employees to help them replace vital supplies and pay for temporary shelter if their homes are uninhabitable. The programme is also supporting the local communities surrounding hotels by diverting funds to charities working in the area and organisations like the American Red Cross.

For more information, including an interactive map of the global efforts of Shelter in a Storm see The Fund in Action
Read more about IHG and corporate responsibility in our article about IHG’s Responsibility Innovation Fund

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