Involved in the discussion were representatives of La Concha Resort; the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel; the Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn & Suites; the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort; Hotel El Convento and the Doubletree by Hilton San Juan at Gallery Plaza.
Here are some memorable quotes from that discussion and check out the full video of the conversation below.
Yodil Caban, general manager of the Doubletree by Hilton San Juan at Gallery Plaza
“What was really heartwarming was the power of teamwork and the commitment that our staff and ownership had not only during the storm, but after to get everything up and ready and to get everything back to pristine condition to welcome back the tourists and people who come visit us. And I think Puerto Rico is ready. San Juan is ready. Our staff is so eager to welcome people back that they are delivering above and beyond experiences. And we are seeing it in the reviews.”
Henry Neumann, general manager of the Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn & Suites
“I get emails everyday from guests that are worried about the destination and that have questions about what is going. And I just answer them and tell them that everything is fine, we are fully operational. And once they come and see that everything is fine, all the amenities are working, all the attractions are open, they leave pleasantly surprised and are very happy.”
Jose Padin, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort
“For me, a big lesson was taking care of the staff. It was so important for us to have enough people, enough of our staff members stay with us before the hurricane. They obviously helped during the hurricane and then after the hurricane. And taking care of all of their needs and meals and even transportation because if they are not able to come in and out of the hotel and take care of their family, then they won’t be able to take care of our guests.
“In terms of our guests, I think social media has played a very important role in this process. All of those guests that are coming back and staying with us are posting videos and photos sharing their story, and that has been a big plus for us to get more people.”
Alfredo Arroyo, general manager of Hotel El Convento
“From our perspective, Hotel El Convento being a fort with such a strong structure, we fortunately don’t have any major issues at the moment and didn’t have any. What we would do next time is go beyond our community and try to help more than we did this time. Thats what I learned - you cannot help enough people.
“We are very active on social media. We want people to know we are back on track. Our guests also are very active, posting photos and videos and we decided that every call we did, we did it on Skype to let me know you know what it looks where we are at now."
Peter Hopgood, vice president of sales and marketing of International Hospitality Enterprises (representing La Concha Resort and the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel)
“The main lesson that we learned is that if you take care of the staff, they will take care of the guests. Guests felt safe because our staff made them feel staff. Our ownership believes in keeping staff employed and busy. That way we can keep the tourism industry moving.”