Following the devastation of New Orleans by
Hurricane Katrina, M&C surveyed planners to learn how
they prepare for such disasters and when they might return to the
Of the 192 respondents, 31 percent worked on a meeting affected
by this year’s natural disasters. Of those, 80 percent were
affected by Katrina, 10 percent by Hurricane Rita, 8 percent by
Hurricane Dennis and 3 percent by the tsunami that struck Southeast
If a major hurricane were predicted for an
area where a major meeting was scheduled, 54 percent of the overall
sample would wait and see before taking action, 40 percent would
cancel, and 6 percent said they would go ahead with the event and
hope for the best.
For their meetings, 53 percent of planners surveyed either
tailor a crisis plan to each major event or have a general crisis
plan in place for their meetings, while 47 percent do not create
crisis plans. A full 62 percent have never had to implement such a
plan. Another 12 percent said the last time they enacted their
crisis plan was more than two years ago, 4 percent did so within
the past two years, 8 percent in the past year, 7 percent in the
past six months and 7 percent this past summer.
In choosing a site, 72 percent of
respondents always or sometimes determine if the facility has a
disaster/evacuation plan, while 28 percent never ask.
A plurality of those surveyed (45 percent) say they’ll hold off
on returning to New Orleans for more than two years; 25 percent
would consider meeting there within two years; 13 percent will wait
18 months; 14 percent will give it a year; and 3 percent think the
city needs only six months to be ready for their groups.