Marriott, Ritz-Carlton update

Marriott has set up a hotline for its associatiates (866-211-4610 [prompt "3"]) so they can check in and let the chain know what it can do to help them. From a press release:

    "First and foremost, we extend our sympathies and support for everyone who has been personally and directly affected by this tragedy," said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO, Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR - News). "We recognize that the days and weeks ahead will be very difficult for all those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, including our more than 2,800 associates in the greater New Orleans area. We are thankful that Marriott was able to provide shelter and assist in the safe evacuation of over 1,700 guests and associates from our 15 New Orleans hotels."

    As we actively work to restore operations in all of our properties affected by the hurricane, we are just as focused on doing all we can to help our associates. Marriott has made arrangements to pay its associates through Sept. 30, 2005. In addition, we are setting up a leave sharing program so that fellow associates can donate paid time off to help those impacted by the storm.

    Marriott is working closely with the appropriate authorities to determine how best to support relief efforts. As soon as we are given permission to enter the affected areas and our teams assess our hotels to provide for safety, the company plans to make designated hotels available for relief- related activities and personnel.

    Our guests are concerned and want to help too. A link on www.marriott.com has also been established to enable customers to contribute directly to the Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Effort. Additionally, our associates across the country have been donating money to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and other agencies.

    Marriott has also developed a program that allows Marriott Rewards members to redeem points for Marriott Gift Cheques that the Red Cross can distribute to people impacted by this tragedy (for details visit: http://marriott.com/news/detail.mi?marrArticle=102037).

    Due to the extraordinary circumstances, hotels in the Gulf Coast and nearby regions are providing shelter for evacuees and relief workers. As a result, many of these hotels are now in a sold-out status and it may be difficult to accommodate new arrivals. Guests are encouraged to call Marriott at (800) 559-9352 to determine hotel availability. Efforts are also being made to contact customers with reservations to warn them of a severe shortage of space. Information on cancellation policies and the status of hotels impacted by the storm is available here. This list is updated as information becomes available.

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