How Hotel Engine Simplifies Lodging for Disaster Relief Efforts

Sara Kern
May 8, 2023
How Hotel Engine Simplifies Lodging for Disaster Relief Efforts

Did you know that since 1980, the United States has experienced 341 weather or climate related disasters, resulting in more than $1 billion in damage? The cumulative costs for damage and response has cost the country over $2.5 trillion.

And the frequency of these disasters is likely to only increase over time.

That’s why the work that employees and volunteers in disaster relief organizations do is so critical. The four biggest factors in how fast a community recovers from a natural disaster are:

1. Mitigation
2. Preparedness
3. Response
4. Recovery

Without the help of these organizations, these communities would be responding and recovering on their own.

Disaster relief teams are almost always activated by last-minute calls and need to move quickly — and they don’t have time to spare on over-complicated travel logistics.

Which is why Hotel Engine is committed to supporting them in any way possible.

Watch our on-demand webinar on streamlining lodging for rapid response teams here!

Not only do we provide booking support to clients as part of evacuation efforts, but we also supply emergency accommodation services for the first responders who quite literally go into the eye of the storm to ensure essential services like power, water and cell service. When a natural disaster occurs, our entire team rallies to aid in securing safe housing for the victims and emergency responders.

Here are the five main ways that Hotel Engine helps our disaster relief clients (and other traveling groups) simplify and streamline the hotel booking process, so they can stay focused on the important work at hand.

We do the legwork

Coordinating a group stay directly with a hotel is always complicated, but never more so than in a disaster-adjacent area.

It’s often impossible to find availability through traditional methods like online booking tools, so relief organizations can lose hours calling hotels looking for vacancies. They face unique challenges like properties affected by the very emergencies they are responding to, and hotels filled-to-capacity with the very evacuants and community members they are trying to travel to support.

But with Hotel Engine, relief organizations can (and do!) hand off hotel booking hassles altogether.

Here’s how.

After starting the process with a simple form, they’re assigned a dedicated Project Manager to oversee the entire booking process, acting as an invested, informed single-point-of-contact from booking to billing and beyond.

Between their dedicated Project Manager and the expert Groups team, they can hand off the legwork of searching available properties so these relief teams can avoid spending their valuable time on the phone.

We do the negotiating

We’re out to save these organizations added precious time by taking on the hotel negotiations, too. Hotel Engine’s Groups team is made up of expert negotiators, as well as great pre-negotiated rates through our direct hotel relationships.

As a result, we can connect disaster relief organizations with great room options and great savings even faster.

We handle the changes

Another significant time saver comes through handing-off guest lists and itinerary modifications.

In disaster scenarios, change is constant — especially for organizations that respond rapidly and may need to relocate based on where services are most needed at any given time.

When we work with them, we expect these clients to have several modifications, cancellations and changes throughout the duration of a project, whether guests are joining the party, leaving early, etc.

That’s where a dedicated Project Manager becomes irreplaceable. When itineraries or guest lists change, they’re standing by to coordinate those modifications directly, so you don’t have to. By collaborating with the entire Groups team and the 24/7 US-based member support team, they ensure seamless assistance no matter what changes come our way.

Disaster recovery power line workers

We simplify the billing

When you book a group stay directly with a hotel, billing becomes complicated. Hotels often require individual credit card authorization forms for each room, as well as incidental deposits on a credit card provided at check-in.

Those forms require the repeated exposure of sensitive payment information, and incidentals will either need to be on travelers’ personal credit cards, or on a company card, tying up the company’s credit limit in the interim.

With Hotel Engine, we work with the hotel and provide virtual payments to them directly, removing sensitive information from exposure.

Plus, for customers who opt-into incidentals coverage, we handle any incidental charges on travelers’ reservations up front, to remove credit cards from check-in altogether.

Hear from our customers: How Hotel Engine Simplifies Booking and Fraud Protection for Bandera Networks

By verifying and consolidating all travelers’ hotel bills, and providing one streamlined invoice, we’re saving disaster relief clients significant time reconciling past travel — particularly when may already be focused on a new emergency.

We’re here to help, 24/7

Most importantly, we’re here to help.

We’re proud to be available 24/7, so our customers can rest assured knowing every traveler has access to US-based support whenever they need it.

With our dedicated Project Managers and our best-in-class Member Support team, we remain committed to finding great solutions to even the most complex problems, whether you reach out to us via live chat, phone, or email — 24/7 and 365.


At Hotel Engine, we know how important it is for response teams to move quickly — and so we do, too.

But anyone with a group can benefit from this white-glove approach to group trips.

Simply start a trip request and we’ll get to work sourcing the best properties for your entire response team as swiftly as possible.

We’ll find available properties for you, handle the rate negotiations, book rooms at your preferred property, and then manage any additional changes for you — so you can save time for the important work we can’t do for you.

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Article written by
Sara Kern

Sara Kern is a Copywriter at Hotel Engine. She worked as a writer in the tech and apparel industries for almost a decade before joining the HE family, but also has experience coordinating business travel for fast-moving nonprofits, so she knows firsthand how hard it can be. She joined Hotel Engine in 2022 and is excited to be a part of the movement to radically simplify trip management for everyone.

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