The Aftermath: Post Hurricane Maria – Puerto Rico – (Part 2 of 5)
It’s been about a year and half since Hurricane Maria went through the Caribbean. In this first segment, I have reached out to a few of our ABC members based in Puerto Rico to see how Hurricane Maria affected their business, and what their progress has been. I asked them a few questions, and after I received their responses I decided to feature their stories separately. While finalizing the content, I saw that Jimmy Fallon was recording a show in Puerto Rico. I have shared it below, in case you missed it. It was awesome, but most importantly it will prepare you to understand what our ABC members went through and how they survived.
Part 2 of 5: Meet Sari Skalnik, MWP and John Skalnik, PWP, Tropical Weddings Puerto Rico, Rio Grande Puerto Rico
1. Where do you live and work? (SKALNIK) We work all over the island including Vieques and Culebra and we live in Rio Grande.
2. How long you have been in business? (SKALNIK) This year we are celebrating 20 years in business.
3. How did your business suffer due to Hurricane Maria? (SKALNIK) We had several cancellations and due to the lack of electricity and hotel closings couples were not even considering Puerto Rico as an option for their weddings or events.
4. What is your progress post Hurricane Maria? (SKALNIK) 2018 was one of the slowest years we have had in 20 years but things are picking back up now and almost starting to feel normal again.
5. How did the PR wedding industry cope with Hurricane Maria? (SKALNIK) I think it came together in some ways as we each spread word of the recovery efforts and why visitors should come back. All this done through social media.
6. Do you have something in place if this were to happen again? (SKALNIK) Yes, for Tropical Weddings we now require all couples to have insurance during the high hurricane season. This saves us from having to reimburse non-refundable deposits. Couples seem to want all their monies back and forget that we have put time into planning their weddings already when they canceled.
7. Did you have insurance before the Hurricane, and if not do you have it now? (SKALNIK)Yes, we always have insurance and thankfully we suffered no damage to equipment. Although we did come to find out that loss of business insurance is challenging to get as we work at many venue’s.
8. Lessons learned. (SKALNIK) Solar and generator is a must have. New ways to communicate with our couples and wedding professionals when there is no communications.
January 29, 2019
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