THLA News Alert: Houston Flooding Update

The ongoing flooding in South and Central Texas has forced many people from their homes, and prompted Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week to declare a state of disaster in the following counties:  Austin, Bastrop, Fort Bend, Colorado, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton.

The Texas Hotel & Lodging Association (THLA) is working closely with the Mayor of Houston to find immediate housing for 140 displaced families who are victims of the recent flooding. If your lodging property is in the 77060 zip code, the 77067 zip code, or the area adjacent to either one of those zip codes, the Mayor's Office has requested that all that you follow the instructions below for contacting them and submitting their room availability as soon as possible.
 
Instructions for Submitting Room Availability 
Please email takasha.francis@houstontx.gov with the following information:

  1. The name of your lodging property and address including zip code. Please note that lodging properties in both the 77060 or 77067 zip codes are in an area where the most immediate assistance is needed.
  2. Your property's current number of available rooms.
  3. Your current nightly rate.
  4. The number of people that can be accommodated in total (and for how long).
  5. Your name and the best phone number to reach you at.

After you email Ms. Francis, the Mayor's Office will call you directly at the phone number you provided in order to coordinate with you individually.
 
The City of Houston has funds set aside to pay hoteliers directly for these hotel rooms. Please also note that flood victims may require temporary housing at your property for at least two weeks, and perhaps up to one month.

Room Pricing During an Emergency 

If the Governor has issued an emergency proclamation for your county, certain statutory limitations are in effect with regard to room cancellations and room pricing. 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.

Hotels should review their prior rate history for comparable rooms at the various levels of occupancy at their property.  The pricing for the rooms during an emergency should be comparable to those rates at those occupancy levels.  For example, if a guest calls for a room and the hotel is at 30 percent occupancy, it should quote the rate that is traditional for that level of occupancy.  As the hotel fills up, it can raise its rates as it has in the past for higher occupancy levels.  However, a hotel's long standing reputation is tremendously enhanced within its community and statewide if it can find a way to offer a discounted rate for individuals who are displaced due to an emergency. We also encourage hotels in affected counties to alert their city manager's office of any discounted rates and availability of rooms for displaced families and emergency workers.

THLA Resources   

The THLA legal and operations staff is ready to respond to any issues that arise during an emergency.  Our office phone number is (512) 474-2996, so please contact us with any questions or concerns.