Hi Everyone,Gulf Beaches are Open for Business

Last week I got a lot of calls from many concerned guests about the oil spill. My stance remains the same; the beaches are open so I am not honoring any cancellations (yet).

I am so frustrated with the media! When they are doing their news broadcasts, they are making it sound as if every beach in Florida is laden with oil. So besides having to quell the fears of my booked guests, I also have to combat the misinformation given by the news media. The fact of the matter is many of the beaches are open.

Last Friday I sat in on a conference call with the Beaches of South Walton County. Here’s a quick synopsis of the things discussed:

  • Currently there are lobbyists going to DC to lobby for a Deepwater Horizon relief package for local business owners. I don’t have the specifics of the package but they are discussing tax relief and economic assistance. Decisions should be made before the end of the session, which is at the end of June.
  • A Gulf Recovery Task Force has been formed. This is a coalition of tourist development councils as well as elected officials to work together to assist and protect the Gulf Coast economy. The press release states, “The immediate mission of the task force is to protect the economic security of the businesses and families in the coastal counties impacted by this unfortunate incident. They are our highest priority,” said Governor Crist. "Task force members bring together the experience and expertise that will help us put in place measures that are essential to the economic recovery of the Sunshine State."
  • The task force is also working with BP to simplify the claims process to make it easier. You must call 800-440-0858. On the conference call, vacation rental owners were called out as “a specific group” which should be protected. They reminded us to keep documentation of any and all canceled rental agreements as well as discounts given to encourage renters (if a guest cancels a rental contract, make sure to get it in writing.) They said that losses and potential losses are legitimate reasons for a claim.
  • They also announced a new Fishing & Seafood hotline (1-800-357-4273) which you can give to your guests who are concerned about eating the seafood or fishing in the Gulf.
  • They ended the conference call with a reminder to all vacation rental owners: “There is so much misinformation out in the marketplace. The core message we should all be delivering to guests and potential guests is the beaches are open for enjoyment."

The information in the articles, blogs or other posts by Christine Karpinski are provided to assist vacation property owners or managers generally and are based on Ms. Karpinski’s personal experiences or the information she has been able to gather. This information is meant to help the owner community; however, please note that any particular situation of any owner or manager may differ and all owners and managers are encouraged to seek professional advice to determine what course(s) of action will be most beneficial for them. Neither HomeAway, Inc. nor Christine Karpinski can provide any guarantee or warrantee that this information is complete or accurate at any point in time or that any particular outcome will result if action is taken in response to this information.