The meetings industry has been quick to organize help for
colleagues affected by Hurricane Katrina. Following is a list of
news, initiatives and relevant links.
The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans will reopen on Nov.
1. Long regarded as one of the city's finest hotels, the
Orient-Express Hotels property has 324 guest rooms. "Eighty percent
of the rooms were undamaged," according to management, and the
hotel was not affected by flooding.
Hilton Hotels Corp. is waiving group cancellation damages for
meetings booked through Dec. 31 at its New Orleans and Gulf Coast
hotels. Groups can call the hotel's Group Hotline, (866) 973-8030,
for assistance. Of Hilton's 27 properties in the hurricane-affected
regions, 24 remain closed, with the remainder housing relief
American Gaming Association
The AGA has set up a relief fund www.americangaming.org/relieffund.cfm for those
affected by Hurricane Katrina. The website also has a link to its
Katrina Relief Fund Tool Kit, practical information on how
companies can help out.
American Hotel & Lodging Association
The AHLA’s home page (www.ahla.com) has a wealth of information on
post-Hurricane Katrina initiatives. Click on www.ahla.com/message_board_entrance.asp to access
"Opportunities for Employees Affected by Katrina."
American Society of Association Executives
The ASAE has extensive information at www.asaenet.org/GeneralDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=11993.
Included is a lengthy list of how industry associations are aiding
Convention Industry Council
The CIC has created the Hurricane Katrina Information for
Event Professionals site, including a link to an Excel spreadsheet
listing hotel contacts for rebooking and rescheduling events
originally scheduled for the affected areas. Click on www.conventionindustry.org/aboutcic/pr/katrina_information.htm.
Destination Marketing Association
The DMAI has lists information at www.destinationmarketing.org/iacvb/view_page.asp?mid=278.
Included are updates from the convention and visitor bureaus
affected by the hurricane.
Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association
HSMAI has set up an information source, the Disaster
Recovery Resource Center, for members (nonmembers can register for
a 60-day free trial); the association, via its Foundation Hurricane
Katrina Relief Fund, also will match all member contributions to
the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, up to $25,000.
Membership to all HSMAI chapters in the affected areas is free for
the next 90 days. For all the relevant information, click on www.hsmai.org.
International Association for Exhibition Management
IAEM has teamed up with several industry organizations the
American Hotel and Lodging Association, Destination Marketing
Association International, International Association of Assembly
Managers, Meeting Professionals International, American Society of
Association Executives and Professional Convention Management
Association to create the Special Task Force of the Associations.
The main focus of the group will be to assist members needing to
relocate upcoming events scheduled for the affected areas. Click on
www.iaem.org/content/hurricane/main.htm for more
Jekyll Island (Ga.) CVB
Jekyll Island officials have developed a program to
accommodate meetings and conventions displaced by Hurricane
Katrina. Jekyll Island (www.jekyllisland.com) will match the terms of
existing agreements between affected convention business and
affected CVBs/convention centers in affected areas (including
lodging, convention space, food & beverage and airport
transportation). In addition, Jekyll Island will offer any
displaced business, CVB or convention center 50 percent of its
collected lodging tax (5 percent per room night) to help offset
their lost revenue. For more information, call (888) 413-9127.
Meetings & Conventions and BiZBash
To raise funds for disaster relief, 25 percent of all
two-day-pass registration fees to the Meeting & Event Style
Show (Oct. 20-21 at New York City's Pier 94) will be donated to the
American Red Cross. To register, go to www.bizbash.com/tradeshow and use the registration
Meeting Professionals International
MPI offers thorough coverage on post-hurricane aid. One link offers
help from planners, another help from suppliers; a message board
also is available. Planners from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast
looking for work can post a free 60-day listing on the
organization's job board. Click on www.mpiweb.org/aboutmpi/katrina.
National Business Travel Association
NBTA has set up a Hurricane Katrina Resource Page, with information
on relief efforts, affected hotels, airline access to affected
cities and ways to donate. Members can click on a link listing the
area’s meetings-related housing possibilities. For more
information, click on www.nbta.org/hurricane.htm.
Northstar Travel Media
NTM, the parent company of Meetings & Conventions, Travel
Weekly, TravelAge West, Hotel & Travel Index, Official Hotel
Guide International and Official Meeting Facilities
Guide, is offering free office space in its northern New
Jersey headquarters to members of the travel and meetings industry
displaced by Hurricane Katrina. For more information, please
contact Leena Clausell at (201) 902-1784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA has set up the Hospitality Industry Relief Fund at www.pcma.org/source/community/katrina/default.asp.
From the same page, the Managing Meetings in a Crisis link has
offers of help and expertise from planners. PCMA also has teamed up
with Gifts In Kind International, where people can donate exhibit
products and equipment to charity. For more information, contact
Virginia Rhedmon, Gifts In Kind International, at (703) 299-7550 or
Society of Incentive & Travel Executives
SITE’s home page (www.site-intl.org) has a link to a Katrina
resource page. The association also joined up with PCMA to set up
the Hospitality Industry Relief Fund (see PCMA’s entry, above).
SITE is donating half of the proceeds from its 2005 silent auction,
which is being held both online and at its International Conference
in Toronto, Nov. 3-6. The organization also is planning a special
fundraising event at the Motivation Show in Chicago, Sept. 27-29.
Complimentary registration and hotel accommodations for the Toronto
conference, as well as free 2006 SITE memberships, are available to
all SITE members from affected areas.
Trade Show Exhibitors Association
TSEA has organized a Katrina Relief Fund. Contact 312-842-8732 or
or click on www.tsea.org for more details.
Travel Industry Association of America
A free job bank for those affected by the hurricane went online
Sept. 15. The initiative was set up by the TIA in cooperation with
the Travel & Tourism Coalition and the Travel Business
Roundtable. For more details, click on www.katrinajobs.org
The state’s official tourism board is working with eBay to offer
Getaways for Gulf Aid, an online auction of Florida vacations. All
proceeds go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Click
The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau has
kept its website updated daily with pertinent information (www.neworleanscvb.com), including the new annoucement
that all citywide conventions (those requiring convention center
space and three or more hotels) are canceled through March 31,
2006. Small and midsize meetings scheduled after Jan. 1, 2006, that
do not use the center and are self-contained in hotels are
not canceled. The bureau also has created three
relief funds to assist its staff, as well as area hospitality and
tourism employees. The three tax-deductible funds are: the NOMCVB
Employee Relief Fund, the New Orleans Tourism Workers Relief Fund,
and the New Orleans Tourism Rebirth Fund. Donations can be sent to:
Steve Moeller, (Fund Name), New Orleans Metropolitan Convention
& Visitors Bureau, 1051 North Third St., Capitol Annex, 5th
Floor, Baton Rouge, La. 70802.
The NOMCVB has a temporary office in Baton Rouge: 1515 N.
Federal Hwy., Suite 204, Boca Raton, La. 33432; (561) 314-3249;
fax: (561) 750-6795. Meeting planners also can call these other key
NOMCVB staff for advice and information: Donna Karl in Chicago:
(630) 357-3480; Peggy Hagaman in Chicago: (847) 236-0200; Kitty
Ratcliffe in Dallas: (972) 687-9211; JoAnne Hunsicker in
Washington, D.C.: (703) 379-2233, and Sallee Pavlovich in
Washington, D.C.: (202) 835-4082.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau's
site (www.gulfcoast.org) has a link to a local charity, the
Gulf Coast Foundation. Note that connecting to www.gulfcoastfoundation.org can be slow due to
infrastructure problems resulting from the hurricane.