Web Exclusive: What happens after disaster strikes?

When a disaster takes place—whether a fire, flood, storm, etc.—the first reaction is typically one of panic and disbelief. For hotels, however, restoration is essential for getting back to business as usual and keeping your guests and associates safe.

For those unfamiliar with the correct course of action, it can be quite a daunting task. Where do I begin? What will insurance cover? How do I find the best restoration partner? Restoration services are in fact covered by most hotel insurance providers, but for a hotel team, it’s all about getting the most out of the coverage, with the maximum amount of items restored.

Prism Specialties can help guide hotels through the process, with a range of electronic, textile, art and document restoration services. Prism Specialties restore hundreds of items across the U.S. including kitchen appliances, computers, paintings, sculptures, photography, softgoods and more.

We asked Brandon Kinney, operations director, Prism Specialties, ERS/TEX of Greater Houston, for some tips for hotels in choosing the right restoration partners, and for some guidance about how to save those precious and essential items:

Why do hotels need restoration services?
Most businesses will experience a loss due to accident, natural disaster or unplanned events such as a fire or water main break. When these losses occur, valuable contents are damaged. Although the cost of replacement can be prohibitive or staggering, it is often the cost of business disruption that is of greatest concern. Think of all of the important items in a hotel that really makes it a hotel. There are televisions, alarm clocks, microwaves, refrigerators, bedding, curtains, artwork and lamps in every room. The hotel often has a restaurant, commercial appliances, computers, documents and lobby sculptures as well. Think about what it will take to become a functioning business after peril.

At what point should a hotelier consider a restoration service?
Before you have an event. Do your research and identify partners before an incident occurs is always the best approach. After a natural disaster, it can be hard to find companies that have capacity to handle your loss. Having a pre-loss agreement with firms ensures that you will be on the top of their list during an event. This process also makes sense for losses from accident, fire or water loss.

Is this usually covered by insurance and how can hotels leverage their coverage?
Most restoration is covered in the event of a disaster, such as a fire or flood. All coverage is dependent on the language of your specific policy and varies based on the type of event. Typical coverage includes mitigation of the structure (dry out and/or removing wet material such as drywall and carpet), contents assessment, replacement or restoration, cleaning, reconstruction of damaged materials. Hotels should work with their agent to make sure their policy covers all the aspects that are important to the operation of their facility.

How should hotels go about finding the right restoration partners?
When selecting any service provider, look for a company with years of experience in the restoration business and is well-reviewed online. For specialty contents restorers, like us, make sure your restoration has capabilities to work on-site if needed. They should also be available 24/7/365; this is standard in the industry. The primary goal of your restoration company should be to get you back in business in the shortest amount of time.

What types of restoration services are available to hotels?
Water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, contents cleaning, structural rebuild, air duct cleaning, carpet cleaning, mold remediation and storm restoration. Specialty restoration spans a wide spectrum of applications dependent on the specific damages.

How does Prism Specialties help hotels? What makes you unique?
Prism Specialties is a network of specialty restoration experts. Unlike others in the market, we have experts in all specialty categories—art, electronics, appliances, documents and textiles. Therefore, one call can take care of all of these needs. We like to say, when you need an expert, we are your best, first call.

What mistakes do you find hoteliers make in either the restoration process or choosing a restoration service?
A mistake hoteliers make is partnering with companies that are not available to them 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Power surges from storms and flooding from busted pipes can happen at any time of day or on a weekend. If something is damaged, it is important that it is removed or secured on-site as soon as possible. Time delays in getting a damaged item to a restoration expert can decrease the chances of restorability.

What challenges are hotel restoration services currently facing? How do you expect to overcome these?
All businesses are facing the same situation when it comes to restoration and construction. The combination of the increase in number of natural disasters with the country’s labor shortage is producing a huge capacity challenge for all types of contractors. Again, having pre-loss agreements in place with mitigation contractors and specialty restoration companies for your unique contents is the best way to put yourself in the front of the line when events occur.

Is there anything else readers should know?
As a policyholder, you have a choice in service providers. If you wait until an event occurs, you may not have options available. This process should be a part of your risk management plan.