SILVER SPRING, MD (September 29, 2008) – As the recovery efforts continue throughout areas of the Gulf Coast following the recent hurricanes, Choice Hotels International, Inc. remains focused on the safety and security of its franchised hotels’ guests and staff.
Many Choice Hotels properties in the region are open and going above and beyond to accommodate the influx of guests at this difficult time. Hotels are encouraged to provide additional assistance to guests who have been displaced by the hurricanes.
Hotels that were affected by the hurricanes are working around the clock to restore full operations. As a service to their guests, Choice Hotels is providing detailed information on the operational status of their franchised hotels in the affected regions on a special Travel Alert Web site, www.choicehotelsinformation.com. To ensure that their guests and people living and working in these areas are aware of the assistance available to them, the site features up-to-date information on relevant federal and state programs.
One such program is the FEMA Emergency Lodging Assistance Program. Choice Hotels encourages anyone needing federal assistance to register with FEMA so they can receive support as services are made available. The emergency lodging assistance program has been activated for residents of designated disaster areas in Louisiana and Texas. Evacuees in need of federal assistance should apply through FEMA either online at www.fema.gov or by calling the FEMA toll free number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Additionally, Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed proclamations suspending the collection of the state and local motel taxes under the Texas Tax Code for stays during the period commencing September 8 through October 14, 2008 to assist victims of Hurricane Ike. To be eligible, guests must complete a Request for Tax Exemption Certificate. Individuals who were guests in hotels in affected areas and had already checked out at the time of the Governor’s announcement can still request a refund of the motel tax. For more information, visit http://travel.state.tx.us/hurricaneikeupdate.aspx.