Fire or Flood? No Fear! Restoring Your Hotel After Damage
Restoring a hotel after a disaster can take time. You should know the ins and outs of what to expect, as well as how to plan for the recovery period. That way, you can still maximize business while ensuring your building is well cared for while it recovers.
The Damage You'll Likely See
People often can’t stop natural disasters. Many areas are used to torrential downpours, so you should expect flooding to happen, even if it isn't likely. Fires are more challenging to predict, but you should still protect your hotel against them by having a proper insurance policy. Knowing what you should expect is the best way to prepare yourself to repair after a disaster.
Fire can ravage a building and make it inhospitable. In 2021, there were over 125,000 fires in non-residential buildings alone.It also leaves a couple of forms of damage in its wake.
Flame damage alone can be very harmful. No matter how the fire started, if it blazed through your hotel, there will likely be some fire damage. However, particula fires can have different effects on the building. If you've experienced flame damage, you need to ensure any restructuring is done well or else you might see problems creep up in the future.
Smoke damage is a bit different, but it can still be detrimental to your hotel if you don't take care of it. Smoke can stick to things, meaning all your furniture needs to be thoroughly cleaned to remove the noticeable smell. Too much smoke might also discolor wallpaper and other surfaces. Relying on experts in smoke damage can help you restore your hotel to its former glory.
Ninety percent of disasters involve some form of flooding , so being unprepared for it might be the worst decision you can make. Depending on the type of water your building has been exposed to, you may have a serious problem.
If your hotel experiences a flood of clean water, you may only need to worry about potential water spots or structural damage that could leak into your building. Unfortunately, if the flood came from an outside source and is either gray or black water, it might be a bit more dangerous.
Gray or black water may hide dangerous pathogens that could make people sick. They come from contaminated water, which can be as small as a broken fish tank or as large as sewage water leaking into your hotel. You'll need to dry out your building as soon as possible if you don't want bacteria or mold in your building.
One thing you should watch out for with flooding is paved pathways. They need to offer the water a place to drain so it doesn’t pool in certain areas, creating hazards for people entering your hotel. Place plants around the path to increase drainage speed or add a storm drain in your next remodel to help remove water in mass quantities.
How to Get Back on Track in 6 Easy Steps
While this list simplifies what you might expect when recovering after a natural disaster, specific steps can help you know what to do next when you feel stuck. The great news is your hotel can bounce back from a disaster. Remember to start early so you can tackle the damage.
1. Write Everything Down
Right after the disaster, survey the affected area. If it's safe, walk around and note everything that looks off. You can supplement your documents with photos, which may help with the insurance claims. You should write down anything lost in the disaster, whether it's furniture or appliances.
2. Hire Experts
Next, you'll want to hire the people with the most expertise in these situations. An agent from your insurance company will likely help you submit claims and ensure you get paid what you deserve to fix the hotel. They may encourage you to find contractors that can deal with the problem before things get worse.
Recovering after a fire or flood is something you can only DIY if the damage is minuscule. On a larger scale, you need experts who understand what to look for and will check absolutely everything to ensure you don't have hidden damage that will come back to bite you. Then, you can plan a timeframe for them to deal with the issues.
3. Know How Much Damage Was Done
When you know the extent of the damage to your building, you'll have a better idea of how long it will take you to repair and rebuild. The experts you hire should help you understand the hotel's damage, including by answering questions you might have. Do everything you can to ensure you know what happened to your hotel and the recovery process will be much smoother.
Some of the damage might not be apparent at first. Still, upon closer inspection, you may notice foundational cracks caused by excess water that can eventually cause the wall to bend if not dealt with. These cracks can be repaired, just as you can prevent future foundational damage.
4. Create a Restoration Plan
As you learn your insurance's benefits and what needs restoring, you can create a plan to carry you over weeks and months of repairs. Will you need to shut down the hotel during this time or can you continue operations? Your restoration plan should answer every question, no matter how insignificant it seems. Lay out a road map that will guide you through recovering and reopening better than ever.
5. Enact Safety Measures
You may never know what caused the fire or flooding in your hotel, but if you do, you can better prepare for next time. Sometimes, disasters start by accident. Faulty wiring or a leaking dishwasher could create a huge problem, but you may not always be able to predict them.
Mistakes such as leaving cooking equipment unattended on the burner can always be prevented. Go over standard safety measures with everyone on staff. That way, they'll be more vigilant when performing their daily tasks.
6. Keep an Open Chain of Communication
Everyone needs to know what's happening when they're expected to show up to work. Keep workers updated on the restoration process and how it might affect their jobs in the short term.
For example, they may be unable to complete some daily tasks during recovery. Knowing that fact right away can save the time, effort and frustration they might feel if they encounter an obstacle preventing them from doing their jobs.Communication can help your employees' well-being and encourage them to be flexible and make the most of every day.
Work With Others to Restore Your Hotel
You can't take on all the work by yourself. DIYing solutions can be dangerous for you and your hotel. Leaving it in the hands of proven experts can ensure your hotel is restored well and you can soon begin accepting guests again.
In the meantime, focus on what you can change to avoid a massive disaster next time. Even something as small as having an emergency plan or upgraded safety measures can prevent a major fallout.