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The 2017 Hurricane season has affected the Meetings Industry in the United States and the Carribean. While we assess the damage caused by these storms, it is already evident that some hotels & resorts will not recover in time to host some of their confirmed business and it will be displaced to other venues or destinations. What can we do to help now and how can we plan for this in the future? Read the article below with helpful tips from SmartMeetings. Lessons for the Future: The force majeure clause (French for “superior force”) in most event contracts releases a group from its obligation to a property over the contracted dates if a natural event makes arrival impossible or triggers a declared state of emergency. But the host organization still has some decisions to make about the future of that meeting. Kathy Gregoire, North American travel manager and executive coordinator for DSM Functional Materials in Elgin, Illinois, had a mid-September program in Charleston cancelled due to a state of emergency declared ahead of Irma. “The property asked if we could change the dates to early November and actually offered us a better rate because it was a slower time for them,” she says. “We could have just walked away, but of course we’ll do what we can to stay with that property.” If, however, a meeting is time-sensitive and must be held before the property or destination is able to accommodate it, the organization could hold it elsewhere. John Washko, vice president of exhibition and convention sales for Mohegan Sun and a member of HSMAI’s Americas executive committee, says that properties picking up storm-affected business should not try to take advantage of the situation. “If we can match the rate a group was going to pay at the original property, we should do it because the client is already budgeted for that event,” he says. “People remember if you go the extra mile for them, or if you don’t.” From the other side of the table, Gregoire expresses the same sentiment: “In that situation, I would try to promise the original property that we’ll come there with another meeting as soon as we can.”

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