By David Cumpston, Senior Director
When the latest round of devastating wildfires erupted across Northern California and then in Southern California, tens of thousands of families were ordered to evacuate their homes. With many unable to shelter with family or friends, hotelier Jon Handlery, president of (client) Handlery Hotels, Inc. knew that this was a challenge he could address.
Since his family-run Handlery Union Square Hotel had to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jon decided to open the property to evacuees at a deeply discounted rate. Local media including KGO Radio, KGO-TV (ABC), San Francisco Business Times, SFist and San Francisco Chronicle let their audiences know about the offer. Then, when yet another spate of wildfires struck Southern California, Jon and his team once again offered evacuees in the San Diego area shelter in the Handlery Hotel San Diego for a fraction of the normal room rate.
“California has had challenges in the past like other states. Since my grandfather started our hotel company, he always felt that if we could help, it was our obligation to do something,” he said. “During the fires in Napa a couple of years ago and now the most recent ones, I felt it was important to help the evacuees so I reopened our two hotels. It’s all about helping others during a challenging time.”
With both locations being pet friendly and featuring outdoor pools, in-room refrigerators and free wi-fi, these “home away from home” opportunities could mean the difference between sleeping safely in a hotel – or who knows where. Evacuees can still work remotely, attend online school and figure out their next step in comfort and safety.