People pulling trollies and walking on the service lanes of Rajiv Gandhi Salai has become such a common sight every time the city witnesses heavy rains and these past few days are no exception.
People, especially those in the IT industry and getting out of flooded areas, seem to be moving from one place to another in groups. The cyclonic storm drove a lot of people to hotels. “We have no rooms now. With water levels remaining stagnant or rising, people are coming from their homes in large numbers. We also have IT employees coming in as groups. They are using the wifi to work from here,” said a senior staffer at a hotel on Rajiv Gandhi Salai.
A hotelier said that popular hotels on GST Road had an influx of guests when the flights were cancelled. “There were no flights for 28 hours. Passengers who could not go home in Chennai and even transit passengers stayed with us. We had to open our banquet hall to guests. We threw in some extra beds to make space for people,” he said.
However, many hotels were finding it difficult to manage the crowd since they were short of manpower and vegetables. “People who went home got stuck there. Also, we have not been able to procure perishables from our regular vendors since they are flooded. Our teams have been scouting for vegetables in other areas. We are unable to make changes in the menu according to guest demands because of this,” said an F&B manager at a hotel.
A hotel industry source said that the city has over 7,000 classified rooms of which at least 60% were occupied due to the rains. “This is not the kind of business that makes us happy. But hotels nowadays have also become places where people are turning to in times of such needs. We are glad we can help our customers under such dire circumstances,” he said.