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Local tourism organization tracking hotels during hurricanes

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jun 11, 2019

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Hurricane season is here and a Palm Beach County organization is working to make sure visitors and locals know where they can go in case of an evacuation.

For Ashley Svarney it’s a personal mission.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to go through a storm and completely lose your home,” Ashley Svarney said.

Now, part of her job includes helping others find a safe place to ride out a hurricane.

“You need a place to stay and you’re not going to go into another city. You want to still be home if you can,” Svarney said.

She’s not an emergency management employee, in fact, Svarney works for Discover the Palm Beaches the county’s tourism marketing organization.

“We try to provide as much information to not only our visitors but our residents as well,” she said.

So that means if there is a hurricane and Palm Beach County is in its path that’s when you’ll see a new emergency alert page on their website.

Svarney says a team will work daily to update the site to show hotel availability, room rates and what level of shelter you’re going to get at each hotel.

“It’s with that information that keeps us ahead of the game,” Rick Netzel said.

Netzel is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Best Western Hotel on Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. in West Palm Beach. He says during a big storm his hotel can easily fill up so it’s important for tourists and locals to know all of their options.

“Just so if we were sold out we could send someone knowing they had rooms and what the rates were and that they were still open,” Netzel said.