Hurricane Resources for Hotels
Register your property to participate in FEMA’s Emergency Lodging Assistance Program (ELA). Hotels can seek direct payment for the rooms from FEMA’s agent, Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC).
Not every guest is eligible for assistance through the FEMA program. FEMA determines whether a guest is eligible for assistance. If a guest has questions about his or her eligibility or status of assistance, direct the guest to FEMA’s helpline at 800-621-3362.
Note: only hotel guests, and the not hotel itself, should call the FEMA helpline.
CLC will pay hotels for the room-night costs and hotel taxes only. Lodging rates for the ELA program are established and governed by FEMA and in most cases are based on the federal per diem rate, plus applicable hotel occupancy taxes. Non-room night charges for guests will not be covered through this program.
Suspension of State and Local Hotel Occupancy Taxes. In many emergency situations, the Governor of Texas will declare a state of disaster and temporarily suspend state and local hotel occupancy taxes. THLA will provide immediate notice if hotel taxes are suspended. If hotel taxes are suspended and if the guest is staying at the hotel because the guest was affected by the storm, or if the guest is a documented relief worker, the hotel should provide the guest a hotel tax exemption certificate to fill out. The hotel should not apply local or state hotel occupancy taxes to that guest’s room night charges for the declared hotel tax exemption period.
Important FEMA Tax Differentiation: Lodging taxes should continue to be charged to guests participating in the FEMA assistance program through CLC. Be sure to input hotel occupancy taxes when using the CLC program.
Note: The hotel itself need not be located in a diasater-affected county for the tax exemption to apply.
Room Pricing During an Emergency. Once the Governor has declared an emergency, certain limitations are in effect for the private sector.
For lodging operators, we advise that a hotel not raise its rates to levels that are higher than the rates the hotel would normally charge for that level of occupancy when there is not an emergency. If possible, hotels should make every effort to provide reduced rates for persons affected by a storm.
More information on registering your property for FEMA’s emergency lodging assistance (ELA) program. If a hotel has not registered yet for the emergency lodging assistance program, the hotel should follow the below steps or view CLC’s online guide here.
Remember to check each eligible guest into CLC’s ELA (Emergency Lodging Assistance) system as soon as you issue them a room. Delay in checking the guest in through the ELA system could result in billing issues or delays.
The ELA call center is available to assist hotels with any issues or questions you may have. CLC’s helpline for hotels: 866-545-9865. (8am – 9pm CT Mon-Fri).
Note: This CLC helpline phone number is for hotel employees only. Do not direct hotel guests to call CLC.
Hotel occupancy tax exemptions on third-party travel company reservations. Guests entitled to a refund or exemption of state and local hotel taxes for transactions conducted through a third-party online travel company should first contact the online travel company directly.
For refunds of hotel occupancy taxes, we recommend that hotels first direct all qualifying guests to the third-party travel company through which the guest made (and paid for) their reservation(s).
In certain cases where the hotel has already billed the online travel company’s virtual card for both the guest’s lodging and the occupancy taxes, the hotel may need to coordinate with the online travel company to either have the hotel reimburse the tax to the guest, or have the hotel refund the tax to the online travel company so the online travel company can refund the guest.
ADA Compliance during a disaster. As hotel operators know, by federal law, the ADA requires hotels to enforce a “last-to sell” policy for ADA accessible hotel rooms. As existing guests check-out and new guests check-in, please remember to retain any ADA accessible rooms as the “last-to-sell” rooms in order to accommodate future disabled guests with needed ADA rooms whenever possible.
More information on the ADA is always available in the member resources section of THLA’s website.