NASHVILLE, Tenn.—June 3, 2010—Gaylord
Entertainment Co. yesterday provided an update on the company’s
restoration efforts following the flood damage experienced at the
Gaylord Opryland Resort, the Grand Ole Opry, and the company’s other
Nashville-area facilities on May 2 and May 3, 2010. Gaylord also
provided an update on the company’s employment strategy during
remediation and restoration, as well as efforts to relocate customers
with events scheduled at Gaylord Opryland over the next five months.
In a press release issued yesterday, Colin V. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of Gaylord Entertainment, said, “We
have made significant progress in our work to assess and repair the
damage inflicted by the historic flooding. Our Nashville-area assets
have been stabilized and we have a large group of contractors and
experts working diligently alongside our management team to get us back
to business as soon as possible.
“Flood damage requires an extraordinarily complicated repair process.
We have had to manually test every aspect of our mechanical,
electrical, information technology, and power generating systems in
order to understand what works, what needs to be repaired, and what
needs to be replaced. There is an entire city of infrastructure which
operates under the Gaylord Opryland campus, the majority of which was
fully under water, and thus the assessment process has been extensive.
At this time we feel that we are able to provide an accurate overview
of the damage and restoration, projected costs and timelines, and an
update to our employment strategy and our progress relocating groups
displaced by the flood restoration work at the hotel.”
According to the update issued by company, the Cascades Lobby, Cascades
Restaurant, sushi bar, and Cascades Terrace lobby bar at Gaylord Opryland
will require complete renovation.In addition, 117 guestrooms were
flooded and will require complete renovation. The ground floor
exhibition space requires extensive cleaning and the information
technology infrastructure in this area will require full replacement.
The Ryman A breakout space, the laundry facility, and the sales offices
will also require full restoration. The company also said the
property's power plant suffered significant damage, along with the
majority of the electrical, mechanical and information technology
infrastructure, which will be replaced.
The gross total remediation and rebuild costs include approximately
$165-$172 million for Gaylord Opryland, the company said.
Based on damage assessments and the remediation/restoration plan
underway, the planned timeline for the reopening of Gaylord’s Nashville
properties is: The Wildhorse Saloon and General Jackson, June 5; Grand
Ole Opry House, Oct. 1; and Gaylord Opryland, Nov. 15.
Since May 3, Gaylord has been providing its Gaylord Opryland employees
with full pay and benefits. However, as a result of the timeline
associated with the reopening of the resort, the company will release
1,743 employees, effective June 12, according to the press release. The
company said it will continue to make healthcare benefits available at
the same cost to employees through September. Additionally, Gaylord
will provide affected employees with two weeks of pay, plus payment for
any unused vacation days. Gaylord is also organizing an event to help
employees with this transition.
In the meantime, Gaylord Opryland will continue to employ 919 employees
throughout the restoration process. These employees are employed
primarily in the areas of reservations, accounting, sales, IT,
engineering, horticulture, and security.
“We are deeply sorry to have to make this incredibly difficult
decision, as our employees are and have always been the driving force
behind the success of our business,” Reed said in a statement. “The
cost of this disaster has meant that we have to balance the future of
our business and our fiduciary duty to our shareholders with the duty
we have to our employees. We are grateful for everything our employees
have done to make Gaylord Opryland a wonderful place to work and visit,
and thank them for the courage and commitment they have shown over the
last month. Our people are what make Gaylord so different from every
other hospitality business out there.”
The company expects the bulk of the hiring process to take place six to
eight weeks before the grand reopening in November.
Gaylord said it has been and continues to work with event
planners and business organizations whose conventions were planned for
the Gaylord Opryland over the next five months. The company’s top
priority for its loyal customers is to find alternative locations and
solutions that meet the logistical needs of the host organizations as
well as the hospitality and entertainment needs of convention guests.
Gaylord Opryland had more than 329,900 room nights booked for
convention travelers at the hotel over the next six months. Whenever
possible, conventions are being relocated to other hotels within the
Gaylord network, including the Gaylord Palms, Gaylord National, and
Gaylord Texan. To date, the company said it has officially transferred
35,946 room nights to these properties.
Gaylord is also working to accommodate group travelers into other
hotels in Nashville to help lessen the impact to the city’s economy and
tourism industry. To date, the company has officially transferred
61,984 room nights to other hotels in the Nashville area, as well as
another 4,228 room nights to hotels throughout Tennessee.