FLORIDA HOTELS WITH vacant rooms but no electrical power can provide rooms for linemen who will get the property powered up just so they can stay there.
Ryan Dumas of GRP Capital, a hotel industry financier, in Fort Myers, Florida, has been devoting his time to finding rooms for hurricane victims in hotels from North Carolina to Virginia. Most of the owners who have answered the call are Asian American.
Dumas also has launched a Facebook page where Florida hotels can post whether they have rooms for displaced residents, emergency first responders such as firefighters and restoration crews such as power linemen.
“There are more than 1,000 linemen looking for rooms,” he said.
He spoke to Asian Hospitality today from Ocala, Florida, which is about an hour’s drive north of Orlando.
He said Ocala and other cities, including Gainesville, Dunellon, Naples, Punte Gorda, are in need of crews that can help restore power. As the crews get on city back online they move to the next town.
- Hotels with rooms available for linemen can let Ryan Dumas know via the Facebook page Hotels, Gas, Food, Shelter, and Supplies for Irma Evacuees
- Dumas is also accepting text messages at 727-729-2647.
- He has started an online fundraising campaign on Gofundme to raise cash to pay for food, water and ice for storm victims.
The electrical workers are sleeping in their trucks, Dumas said. They are in need of water and food as well as a bed for the night and a shower in the morning. The more rested and fed they are, the faster they can work to restore power to homes and businesses.
They don’t need money, he said, but need to know where to buy food, water and ice.
Since Sunday, Dumas said he has found hotel rooms for 300 to 400 people.
Dumas said it’s feast or famine. “Hotels either have zero occupancy or 100 percent occupancy.”
Hemant “Henry” Patel of Miami Beach said as soon as his motel along Biscayne Boulevard was able to turn its air conditioning and lights back on, his empty rooms filled to 100 percent occupancy.
“All the hotels that opened with power sold out,” he said.
The lack of internet connection and some other amenities did not bother the new guests, so long as the hotel had “cold rooms and hot showers,” Hemant said.