Understanding recovery and resilience from natural disasters in hospitality organizations


  • Kristin A. Horan, PhD https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9318-044X
  • Blake Scott, MPH
  • Ahlam Farzan, MD
  • Marian L. Ortíz-Aponte, MS
  • Alejandra Rivera-García, MS
  • Jennifer Marshall, PhD
  • Anthony J. Masys, PhD
  • Mindy Shoss, PhD
  • Adriana Campos, MPH
  • Lida Orta-Anés, PhD




resilience, weather events, hospitality industry, Hurricane María


Extreme weather events, such as Hurricane María, shed light on the importance of understanding the factors that promote resilience, defined as bouncing back after adverse events. The current study took a qualitative focus group approach toward understanding resilience in employees of the hospitality industry after Hurricane María. The hospitality industry plays an important role in disaster responses due to its role in supporting local and national economies, job stability for vulnerable employees, and in supporting response efforts, eg, housing aid workers. Through a series of indepth focus groups, employees from San Juan, Puerto Rico and surrounding areas shared their Hurricane María experiences in terms of themselves as individuals, their workplaces, and their community. Major themes focused on the importance of the preparedness phase of the disaster response timeline, measuring impact and response on multiple levels in interdependent systems, creating and promoting awareness of resources, and acknowledging both struggle and strength when conceptualizing transformative potential. These findings can inform actionable strategies for individuals, organizations, and communities.

Author Biographies

Kristin A. Horan, PhD

Psychology Department, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

Blake Scott, MPH

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Ahlam Farzan, MD

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Marian L. Ortíz-Aponte, MS

University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Alejandra Rivera-García, MS

University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Jennifer Marshall, PhD

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Anthony J. Masys, PhD

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Mindy Shoss, PhD

University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

Adriana Campos, MPH

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Lida Orta-Anés, PhD

University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico


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How to Cite

Horan, PhD, K. A., B. Scott, MPH, A. Farzan, MD, M. L. Ortíz-Aponte, MS, A. Rivera-García, MS, J. Marshall, PhD, A. J. Masys, PhD, M. Shoss, PhD, A. Campos, MPH, and L. Orta-Anés, PhD. “Understanding Recovery and Resilience from Natural Disasters in Hospitality Organizations”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 19, no. 8, Sept. 2021, pp. 109-21, doi:10.5055/jem.0643.