Successful Meetings - October 2007 - (Page 8)

10.07 & NEWS ANALYSIS > Suppliers Hurricane Dean Spares Meetings, Hotels Though most major hotels and resorts were spared significant damage from Hurricane Dean, the promise of the storm’s course through Mexico and the Caribbean packed enough of a punch to change the plans of some meetings and incentives and to spring hoteliers into full hurricanepreparation mode. Dean traveled west-northwest through the Caribbean Sea, passing just south of Jamaica on August 20 and making landfall on August 21 in Mexico's Yucatan Penninsula—where Cancun sits. It made landfall again in a more rural area of Mexico a day later. Although its strength was fierce—it was a Category 5 storm at one point—Dean landed primarily in sparsely populated areas and was not as damaging as other storms of the same caliber, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The area hardest hit, Costa Maya, Mexico, is mainly a shipping port, but two cruise lines, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, are rerouting some ships slated to depart or arrive there until further notice because of damage in the port. Elsewhere in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean, hotels made a number of preparations in order to minimize Dean's harm to people as well as to property. There were similar tales and minimal damage throughout Cancun, which was good for Jo Ann Hoffman, the Rockville, MD-based president of the Meeting Industry Ladies Open, a golf tournament slated to be held May 4-7, 2008, at the Mexican resort. She had a site inspection scheduled for the week after the hurricane, and it went as planned. “I still needed to do my job and, as a meeting planner, you have to be ready for all sorts of disasters,” she says. “If need be, we had a backup plan to delay the site inspection for a few weeks, but Cancun is as beautiful as ever.” In Jamaica, hotels kept a tight watch on guests and locals. The at the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall took in children, including several infants, from a nearby orphanage, says general manager Bob Jensch. Independent planner Jim Nutter, executive vice president of Events Forum in New Hartford, NY, monitored Dean's impact on Jamaica as one of his clients was slated to sponsor an incentive program at the Ritz-Carlton the week of the storm. “The hotel called on Friday [Aug. 17] to make sure we were aware of the situation, and my client chose to wait to make a decision,” he says. “On Monday, my hotel contacts says the damage was minimal and left the decision to me. “But when I asked about service levels, I was told the hotel would be challenged because many staff members were involved with the cleanup, and other employees might have trouble getting to the hotel,” according to Nutter. The client postponed and is trying to find alternate dates this year when all participating executives are available, he says. “This incentive is one of the premier ones for the executives—it takes a full year to qualify—so they all want to go,” says Nutter. —Rayna Katz OCTOBER 2007 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS Inside > SUPPLIERS Starwood launches Baccarat brand PAGE 10 > CALENDAR Industry events PAGE 10 > RESEARCH Planners not taking full advantage of CVBs PAGE 12 PHOTO: VICTOR RUIZ / REUTERS / LANDOV >Q & A Carlson Marketing’s Fay Beauchine PAGE 12 8

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - October 2007

Successful Meetings - October 2007
Editor's Note
On the Record
Technology Talk
Mouth for Sale
On Site
Tools of the Trade
Striking a Balanace
IACC’s New Generation
Suffering from “Green” Fatigue?
There Once Was a Group in Nantucket . . .
A Trick and a Treat
Places & Spaces
Reno / Lake Tahoe
New Orleans
Los Cabos & Baja
Ontario Province

Successful Meetings - October 2007