Dear Web Guest:

I was just pondering what to write about as my turn has come again when it came to me like a divine intervention. I want to talk about hurricanes. Why you ask, would I want to talk about a subject as broad as hurricanes? Because I am a “hurricane fighter”. You see I now have a strong “albeit recent” history of battling those weather villains.

I was minding my own business last year enjoying our 2 hotel projects in Ft Walton Beach Florida watching them have a record revenue and profit year when lo & behold we got a hurricane watch thrown at us. It was Hurricane Charley who in the end missed us in the Panhandle and clobbered the rest of the state. This nasty intruder was followed by Hurricane Francis who also clobbered Florida but missed us in the Panhandle again. The problem was that we didn’t know it would miss us and we had to prepare for it while all the time watching our guest room cancellations pile up.

Then Hurricane Ivan came calling and that my friends was a real doozy! It hit us directly and the damage was significant. When you see boats sitting on the highway and water sitting where a highway use to be, it makes you realize how small an individual person is in the huge scope of life.

The cleanup efforts after Ivan was quite extensive and my hotel staffs were all into the cleanup effort. Desk clerks pulling wet carpet, wait staff personnel piling wet sheetrock into dumpsters. It was an all out effort and I really appreciate the sprit of the hotel employees. Guest service people are absolutely the most wonderful, hard working employees in the whole employment chain as far as I am concerned.

So, now after getting back to normal, the Panhandle is visited less than a year later by Hurricane Dennis. Hit the area directly. It was surrealistic. There we all were again boarding up the building, moving furniture to higher ground, seeing guest cancellations mount right in the middle of the “season”. It doesn’t seem right.

So, I have written a nasty letter to “Mother Nature” regarding her lack of concern for denizens of the Panhandle. Look, take your huffing and puffing somewhere else lady! I don’t want your business anymore! Keep your rain, wind, water surges, tornados, business interruption and the continued loss of my boardwalk to another area. I have had enough of your business. The spring breakers treat me so much better!

I don’t know if there will be any reaction to my letter, but at least I said my piece. I hate to be rude to a lady but “Mother Nature” is no lady. At least I have said my piece to her and I feel so much better just to get it off my chest.

By the way, as an ending to my reflections as I have mentioned in the past, how about calling or writing me about any hotel management opportunities that you may know or hear about for our company? After all you didn’t think this was a column without a sales pitch did you? We are building this company and we are very good at what we do and we would like to share our story with you at anytime.

Thank you for reading my “reflections”.

Marc Leffman-COO
July 27, 2005