No Oil Spill Guarantees?

The BP Oil spill is still leaking across the Gulf Coast’s many industries, including tourism.  Many hotels have been offering up No Oil guarantees to shore up their businesses. Steve Huettel of the St. Petersburg Times reports:

From the Panhandle to Sanibel Island, Gulf Coast hotels are trying to reassure wary tourists with a simple promise: If BP oil slimes our beach, you don’t have to pay.

Only it’s not that simple. And some lodging experts say the no-oil guarantee is more public relations than shrewd crisis management.

More than 200 hotels, motels and condo rental firms on Florida’s west coast are covered by some sort of oil-related policy through the end of July. They carry names such as the Natural Beach Guarantee, the 100% Oil Spill Guarantee and the Zero-Risk Vacation Guarantee.

Details vary widely. The deal for 28 properties promoted on the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website promises a free first-night stay if customers “arrive to find our pristine beaches affected by the oil spill in any way.”

The No-Oil Guarantee at Plaza Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach — up to three free nights at no charge — applies as long as oil washes up in front of the hotel during your stay.

The Sirata Resort on St. Pete Beach won’t give away free rooms. But if oil is anywhere on St. Pete Beach or oil-burning operations degrade air quality below federal standards, guests can cancel reservations up to 6 p.m. on their arrival date or leave early without a penalty.

To read the rest of Steve Huettel’s story, click here.

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