by Sarah J.F. Braley | November 01, 2005

chartFollowing 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 Big Easy.
    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 Asia.
    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.

 

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