In response to Hurricane Irma, the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center got all departments involved in keeping their guests, associates, and property safe and prepared. While safety was most important, they also wanted to ensure guests could enjoy their time while riding out a hurricane.
With 4.5 acres of atrium gardens available to guests, rain or shine, they already had a unique attraction, but they wanted to enhance the experience. The entertainment team quickly created a “Frolicking Flamingo” scavenger hunt with a clue book to keep guests, young and old, engaged in pursuit of the pink birds.
With the influx of evacuated pets into a hotel that is traditionally not pet-friendly, they knew that had to come up with a creative solution to accommodate them all. The engineering team constructed a fake green area inside the atrium’s fort, providing a “relief area” for the pets inside and away from the rain.
Despite having limited resources in both food supplies and available staff, the resort managed to keep two restaurants with differing menus open to offer guests some variety. They also offered grab-and-go items in their marketplace and opened their frozen yogurt shop.
Following the storm, as the roads and weather cleared, the property sent thousands of meals to first responders and other local emergency services workers, including boxed lunches, salads, and several hot meal options. They also delivered 350 pounds of ice to those who were without the use of water.
Gaylord Palms also sent 1,000 meals to Kissimmee’s Good Samaritan Village, a retirement community, that had suffered heavy flooding, displacing hundreds of their senior residents.
It has been a busy time for them from the moment Irma started heading their way until now, but they dealt with every hurdle in stride.