I’ve mentioned before that our company was founded on five core values. One of them –the most important – is to Put People First. That is easy enough to do when things are good, but even more important when things are out of our control.
Late last Wednesday night, a major storm formed off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The storm quickly grew in intensity and by Thursday morning the media and weather forecasters were calling Hurricane Patricia a storm of historic proportions.
One of our resorts, the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, was in Hurricane Patricia’s predicted path. Within hours of the first real sign this was going to be an immense hurricane, a team of leaders from the hotel, the region and Marriott International headquarters, quickly assembled and put our emergency plans into action.
The team wasted no time in responding. We made the decision to evacuate the hotel of all guests and associates even before the government imposed an evacuation. By Friday morning, we offered guests two options… fly out of Puerto Vallarta’s airport or be evacuated by bus to Guadalajara. Several associates volunteered to join guests on the buses to assist with translation and help ensure guest safety. Meanwhile, back at the resort, all other associates were sent home to care for their families and homes.
I am amazed by this team. I want to thank General Manager David Gauna and his associates. Every aspect of our emergency plan was carried through perfectly. We took care of our guests and employees first, and the rest of the plan fell into place. By Saturday morning, the wind died down and the rain cleared. We were thankful to report that the hurricane did not damage the resort. Guests were even given a “red carpet” welcome back to CasaMagna.
Nearly 180 dedicated hotel associates stepped up quickly Saturday morning to get the hotel ready to welcome guests later that day. Even the smallest of guests were taken care of… Loss Prevention Officer Fernando Hernandez discovered 136 turtles were born in our sanctuary overnight. Without missing a beat, he made sure the turtles made it out to sea.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those that were impacted by Hurricane Patricia. As it turns out – this time we were lucky. And while some of the precautions we took may not have been necessary, I look at it as a real-life opportunity to practice our best laid plans.
Thanks to our hardworking teams on the ground in Mexico and our crisis teams at Headquarters and around the world. It’s comforting to know we can act quickly and always put our people—guests and our employees—first.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.
Don’t just take my word for it, guests at the hotel at the time of the evacuation had high praise for the hotel team.