5 ways Hotel Engine optimizes lodging logistics in crisis management

5 ways Hotel Engine optimizes lodging logistics in crisis management
May 21, 2024

From the Maui Wildfires to the atmospheric storms that flooded California, the past year was a somber reminder that disasters can strike at any minute and cause a tremendous amount of damage—or $175.2 billion in damages and 474 fatalities, to be exact.1

2023 also underscored the importance of having the infrastructure in place to send disaster relief teams to damaged areas at a moment’s notice. 

But how can this be accomplished swiftly and efficiently? And what are the ramifications of natural and other disasters? Let’s explore crisis management and the pivotal role Hotel Engine can play in the process. 

Understanding the importance of shelter during emergency & crisis management

Fires, floods, tornados, hurricanes—all are notorious for displacing residents, businesses, and others. Emergency shelter and supplies must be offered swiftly during these times, not only to decrease fatalities but also to provide hope to fallen communities. What’s more, many natural disasters render areas uninhabitable and even hazardous. 

Disaster relief organizations bring order to the chaos by:

  • Monitoring health and safety issues
  • Helping with emergency housing 
  • Guiding volunteers
  • Providing food, water, and medical supplies
  • Creating procedures to jumpstart community rebuilding and recovery

As driven and empathetic as disaster relief organizations may be (they’re primarily made up of volunteers), they often encounter a host of complications.

Challenges faced by disaster relief organizations

Research indicates that the most common difficulties disaster relief organizations face include2:

  • Procuring essential supplies 
  • Communicating effectively and sharing data on the nature of community needs (and the dynamic nature of those needs)
  • Coordinating transportation
  • Finding accommodations

All of these challenges can be time-consuming when disasters in and of themselves call for urgency and organization. 

Factors affecting community recovery

Indeed, the four biggest factors that determine how quickly communities recover come down to:

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

Disaster relief organizations are central to ensuring these are met. But how can they do their jobs without having to deal with complex and equally time-consuming travel arrangements? 

In short: by partnering with a group lodging platform that will handle the logistics.

Five ways Hotel Engine simplifies lodging logistics for disaster relief

Hotel Engine functions as the calm and collected presence that’s undeniably needed during emergencies. This is done through:

#1. Coordinated booking support

Hotel Engine works with more than 750,000 properties worldwide. Whether an organization needs to send its team members and volunteers to Vietnam or Vegas, Hotel Engine is in a prime position to find accommodations for large groups—even in affected areas with hotels filled to capacity with victims, evacuees, and other relief workers. 

How? By assigning disaster relief organizations a committed Travel Manager who will leverage their relationships with hotels around the globe and work toward finding vacancies that aren’t listed on public websites.

#2. Expert negotiation services

The focus of disaster relief organizations must be on mobilizing their crews and preparing the procedures they’ll implement once they arrive, not on negotiating discounts for group reservations. Hotel Engine’s dedicated support team manages this aspect of the process through pre-negotiated hotel rates (and their negotiating prowess). This allows relief teams to turn their attention toward what matters most and still save on overall lodging costs. 

#3. Handling changes and modifications

Cancellations and schedule changes are an inevitable part of group travel. This is especially true during disasters when: 

  • Volunteers and staff members may need to change locations quickly
  • Volunteers may be on rotation, with some arriving to assist at the last minute and others leaving the project early

Hotel Engine manages these modifications directly and rapidly to accommodate the ever-evolving circumstances of disasters. 

#4. Ensuring seamless assistance

Hotel Engine’s Project Managers save crisis management teams critical time by serving as an organization’s liaison and point-of-contact throughout everything from booking to billing. By working one-on-one with a single person, disaster relief organizations can rest assured they’ll receive the undivided attention they require. This paves the way for seamless, reliable assistance—a blessing during a time that’s often characterized by challenges, concerns, and chaos. 

#5. Collaborative support structure

Hotel Engine doesn’t stop working when the sun goes down. Alongside a Travel Manager, organizations also have access to  24/7 free customer support. In turn, these organizations can concentrate on the vital work they’ve set out to do: repair a community and restore people’s sense of security and faith. 

The role of Hotel Engine in disaster relief

2023 witnessed an unprecedented number of natural disasters and reminded the world that preplanning for the unexpected is a practical and ethical imperative.

Hotel Engine is at the vanguard of this. We simplify lodging so that disaster relief teams can be where they’re needed most without delays or complications. From coordinating group bookings to negotiating the best rates, we take the hassle out of the process and help ensure response teams find safe and comfortable accommodations. 

Interested in learning more? Start a trip request with Hotel Engine, and know that we’re as committed to providing fast and compassionate assistance as you are. 


  1. NOAA. U.S. struck with historic number of billion-dollar disasters in 2023. https://www.noaa.gov/news/us-struck-with-historic-number-of-billion-dollar-disasters-in-2023
  2. Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Challenges in disaster relief operations: evidence from the 2017 Kermanshah earthquake.  https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JHLSCM-08-2019-0054/full/html

Kerri Lines-Naumann
Article written by
Kerri Lines-Naumann

Kerri Lines-Naumann is the Senior Director of Marketing Operations at Hotel Engine. She spearheads the marketing operations, ensuring seamless coordination and execution among the marketing team. Kerri's commitment to operational excellence is instrumental in delivering impactful campaigns and driving growth at Hotel Engine.

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