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What are the hotel/motel cancellation policies when a hurricane is due to arrive?

Si Cantwell
StarNews
Hurricane symbol

Hotel cancellation policies vary by site. (File photo)

Each hotel, motel or other accommodation has its own policies, said Connie Nelson, communications/public relations director for the Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We urge visitors to contact the place where they have their reservation to find out what their individual policy is,” she said.

Doreen Turgeon, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott at Carolina Beach, said the hotel would accommodate visitors.

“Our policy is, if we’re having a hurricane, we’re going to honor any cancellation without penalty,” she said. “It’s people first.”

Two other hotels mentioned policies that require cancellations at least 24 hours before check-in time.

Liz Barefoot, guest services agent with the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach, said hotel officials were keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irene, which was expected to hit Southeastern North Carolina Aug. 27 or 28, 2011, if it made landfall here.

“When it gets closer to the time, we would be very accommodating with cancellations,” she said.

For now, she said, “if you’re coming Friday, we would need to know Thursday before 3 p.m.,” she said. Any decision to ease that requirement would come from the hotel management.

Similarly, Scott Gilland, general manager of the Hampton Inn Southport, said the current rule also requires 24-hour cancellation notice.

“We’d probably ease it,” he said, if a hurricane landfall seems imminent. “We’re just playing it by ear.”

Nelson, of the CVB, advised visitors to keep an eye on local media forecasts for specific information about the likelihood of a storm hitting area beaches.

“The Weather Channel can be more broad,” she said.

She said she hasn’t seen studies about the economic impact of a hurricane strike during tourism season, but it would depend on a lot of variables. They would include how much damage there was to hotel properties and how many days we were affected by the storm’s impact.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” said Nelson. “In a lot of storms past, we’ve been able to get back running in a day or two.”

“We’re hoping it doesn’t come at all,” she said. “But if it does, we’re hoping impact will be minimal and we’ll be able to resume business as quickly as possible.”

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