by Art Pfenning | December 01, 2004

In the aftermath of hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, M&C conducted an online poll of 285 meeting planners to determine how this year’s devastating storms affected their meetings and their plans to hold future events in hurricane-prone destinations. 
   chart About half of those polled (49 percent) said they had worked on a meeting that was affected by at least one of this year’s hurricanes. Furthermore, 46 percent of respondents said the recent storms in the Southeast have affected their likelihood of booking future events in hurricane-prone areas during hurricane season, which lasts from June through November.
    Interestingly, 30 percent of survey respondents report they already have booked a future meeting in the hurricane belt during that potentially risky season. On the other hand, 7 percent have gone ahead and taken the preemptive measure of canceling their plans.
chart    But special offers from those areas might be enticing. The top incentives that would make planners more likely to book in a hurricane-prone area during hurricane season are waived attrition fees (82 percent), hurricane guarantees (80 percent) and lower hotel room rates (77 percent).
    Overall, the majority of those polled (83 percent) are confident that repairs to affected hotels will be completed on schedule. Still, 73 percent say they are concerned about the completion of repairs to the infrastructure in affected areas, and 74 percent are worried their attendees will not want to travel to meetings scheduled in a hurricane-prone destination during hurricane season.

By Art Pfenning, director, M&C Research;