Visit Florida, Hoteliers and Businesses Support Communities in Need After Hurricane Ian; 3 Ways You Can Help
As Hurricane Ian recovery efforts kick off in Florida, community organizations, including event and hospitality industry entities, are stepping up to the plate to provide assistance to those impacted by the devastating storm. Throughout the state’s response to the hurricane, VISIT FLORIDA has been working closely with authorities and travel brands including Expedia, Airbnb and hoteliers throughout Florida to connect displaced citizens with resources for finding suitable short- and long-term accommodations.
On Oct. 3, the state’s official tourism marketing organization learned of 23 families in Southwest Florida who had evacuated from their homes in Lee County while their newborns were in NICU care. The families were in urgent need of temporary housing in Broward County as their infants were being transferred to nearby hospitals. Thanks to the Broward hospitality industry, VISIT FLORIDA was able to secure lodging for every family in need of assistance.
“When Dana Young contacted us to help these Southwest Florida families in need, the answer was an immediate ‘yes,’ and we mobilized,” explained Heiko Dobrikow, executive vice president and general manager of The Las Olas Company/Riverside Hotel Fort Lauderdale. “Within less than 12 hours, the Broward County Hoteliers committed to take care of our fellow residents and provide a small sense of peace during their difficult times.”
According to VISIT FLORIDA officials, the donated guest rooms, spanning across 19 hotels in Broward County, are being provided to the families free of charge while their babies receive life-saving medical care from Broward Health, Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial West Hospital.
Hotels donating rooms to the effort include:
- Bahia Mar
- Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
- Costa Hollywood
- Diplomat Beach Resort
- Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale 17th Street
- Four Seasons Ft. Lauderdale
- Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
- Hilton Garden Ft. Lauderdale Airport
- Hollywood Beach Marriott Hotel
- Hotel Maren Curio Collection by Hilton
- Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
- Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Airport
- Renaissance Fort Lauderdale West - Plantation
- Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale
- Riverside Hotel Fort Lauderdale
- Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
- The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
- The Pelican Grand
- W Fort Lauderdale
“We are humbled to be able to help Floridians recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian,” said Dana Young, president and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “This incredible act of generosity from our hotel partners ensures that some of Florida’s most vulnerable residents are still able to get critical medical care despite being displaced by the storm. We sincerely thank these hotels for their donations to Florida’s NICU families and making such a positive impact on our state.”
How You Can Help Floridians in Need
According to Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, within the first five days of activation, the Florida Disaster Fund raised nearly $35 million in donations to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. To make sure all funds go directly to those affected by Hurricane Ian, Volunteer Florida, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Paypal’s Braintree have waived all administrative and credit card fees for contributions made to the Florida Disaster Fund.
To make a contribution to the relief fund, go here or text DISASTER to 20222.
Businesses Supporting The Sunshine State
The outpouring of support for impacted Floridians has also extended from private sector partners nationwide, with a plethora of businesses providing services and assistance to those in need of help, including:
- Airbnb: Airbnb launched a website to help Hurricane Ian relocation efforts for impacted residents. The company is also working with its nonprofit partners to offer vouchers for temporary housing at Airbnb properties. To learn more about how the voucher program works, go here.
- Expedia: VISIT Florida has activated its Emergency Accommodations Portal with the latest available hotel listings. Expedia has reached out to encourage their partners to waive cancellation fees and pet restrictions.
- Rosen Hotels & Resorts: Rosen Hotels & Resorts activated its Florida Residents Distressed Rates to give Floridians a safe, affordable place to ride out Hurricane Ian. Evacuees can call 866-33-ROSEN (76736) to reserve a room.
- Uber Technology: Uber is offering round-trip rides to and from Southwest Florida shelter locations in Orange, Brevard, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties listed here. Riders can enter promotional code IANRELIEF in the app to redeem a free round trip (up to $30 each way), and rides must be requested to or from any state-approved evacuation shelter in Florida.
A full list of businesses participating in hurricane relief efforts can be found here. To partner with the state on recovery efforts or to find updates on closures, inventory supply and supply chain information, go here.
To contribute to Floridians in need in Fort Myers, Sanibel and other Southwest Florida communities, go here for the SWFL Emergency Relief Fund.
A list of ways to support Collier County (Naples, Marco Island, Everglades) as it recovers and reopens can be found here.