Hotels in Richmond see influx of people escaping Florence

Richmond hotels have had an increase in bookings due to Hurricane Florence.
Richmond hotels have had an increase in bookings due to Hurricane Florence.(NBC12)
Updated: Sep. 14, 2018 at 4:40 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Hotels in the Richmond region are seeing an increasing number of guests escaping the wrath of Hurricane Florence.

Henrico Police say they have seen an increase in occupancy by people who have relocated.

“Hotel occupancy in general seems to be up, compared to what it would be during an average week,” Lieutenant Christopher Garrett said.

NBC12 called several hotels around the region, all who said evacuees reserved rooms.

The general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott at the Richmond Airport said people from North Carolina, and areas like Norfolk, booked with them. The manager also said military groups are staying at their hotel, along with Verizon.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Richmond Northwest said they are so busy this weekend, they’ve sold out.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Richmond West at I-64 said they have seen evacuees off and on since Tuesday and were completely booked on Wednesday by guests escaping the storm.

John Cario, the general manager of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Richmond said they saw a fall off at first due to the original forecast for Richmond but since the forecast changed, the hotels have seen a pick up of evacuees from various areas.

"It's been a roller coaster of a week," Cario said. "We had some calls and evacuees come to town we also had groups and others come to town to assist with the efforts."

Cario says his hotel has seen at least two dozen people. That's the same case for hotels around the region.

"We had a couple touring the Carolina's who had to evacuate," Cario said. "We had some families on their way, heading down to the Carolina's, to the coast, who had to stop and not go and we had some folks coming from the beach staying with us as well."

Donna Blaney-Brouse, her husband and two cats found refuge at La Quinta Inn & Suites on Midlothian Turnpike. They are staying there for at least a week as Hurricane Florence ravages the city where they live, Wilmington, North Carolina.

"We knew we had to leave, we're going to be without power for quite a while," Blaney-Brouse said.

Blaney-Brouse just moved to Wilmington in May from Richmond. Now, just a few months later, she's back.

"We were going to evacuate to Savannah but then with the track thought, we're heading back to Richmond," Blaney-Brouse said.

Many hotels, like the Hilton, are accepting evacuees' pets too. It's something, Blaney-Brouse is thankful for, as she, her husband and furr babies live out of a suitcase, waiting to go home.

Eventually, a STR report will be created that will be able to track the metrics of how many more people booked hotels in the Richmond region on the week of Hurricane Florence.

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