by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 01, 2007

chartHurricane season is upon us, lasting from June through November. In a survey conducted online last month, M&C gauged how planners prepare to meet in storm-prone areas -- or if they avoid them. Of the 171 respondents, 51 percent had an event scheduled for a hurricane-prone destination in 2007.

The bulk of those heading into the Storm Belt this year (67 percent) will be going to Florida. Texas was next, with 13 percent holding meetings there, followed by New Orleans (11 percent), the Caribbean and Mexico (10 percent each) and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (6 percent).

Are planners being lured to these destinations with sweet deals? Sometimes. More than half the sample (53 percent) said no incentive was offered to get them to book in a hurricane-prone area. A hurricane guarantee and reduced room rates both were cited by 21 percent of the sample as incentives they accepted when booking their meetings, 19 percent took free hotel meeting space, 16 percent had attrition fees waived and 5 percent got free convention center meeting space.

chartJust more than a quarter of the respondents (28 percent) protect their organizations with cancellation insurance for these events, while only 12 percent said they buy cancellation insurance for every event. Half of the sample said they never buy such policies.

For 57 percent of respondents, the two severe seasons of 2004 and 2005 did not affect their likelihood of booking a meeting in hurricane-prone areas, but 38 percent said they are less likely to book in these destinations now. Those storm-tossed seasons prompted 38 percent of the planners to strengthen their force majeure clauses to address weather; 43 percent felt their clauses already were strong enough.

 

 

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