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12 Keywords for the Change in Meetings Industry Trend 12. Risk Management

Today, we are witnessing speedy development of new technologies such as mobile, social media, and virtual reality, and an outpouring variety of social issues such as economic depression and environmental questions. Under such circumstances, meetings industry people, who should lead the change, need to smartly cope with trends in the world with their brilliant insight into the world affairs. In this light, we have identified twelve major trends that reflect latest changes in the global meetings industry. Twelves keyword is risk management.

12. Risk Management

The Importance of ‘Risk Management’ in Meetings Industry

The meetings industry is required to establish a comprehensive risk management strategy that covers the industry for the purpose of flexibly responding to crises and minimizing damage involved.

[Case] Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

On Aug. 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina that struck the American Southeast caused the collapse of the levee for Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans and flooded 80% of the city, thus causing massive human casualties including those who were killed or gone missing. The entire city area was affected by the super hurricane, which dealt a tremendous blow to the local meetings industry, which constituted its three core industries (convention & tourism, education, and shipbuilding).

The direct damage to the local meetings industry from Hurricane Katrina was worth about 1.5 billion dollars, with 87 events scheduled at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center being consequently cancelled or delayed and 60 million dollars was spent to repair the damaged convention center. What added insult to the injury, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, damaged in the hurricane and required repairs, were used as temporary lodgings for the refugees from the flooded areas, which further aggravated their damage, and people of the meetings industry grew skeptical about New Orleans, which effectively cancelled all major events scheduled by June 2006. According to Louisiana Recovery Authority, the New Orleans meetings and tourism industry suffered a daily average loss of 5.2 million dollars from the hurricane.

New Orleans Born Again through Katrina as ‘Leading Risk-Management City’ in the US

The damage from Hurricane Katrina got the city of New Orleans to draw up New Orleans Tourism Crisis Management Plan. The main purpose of the plan was to guarantee city visitors’ safety in a crisis and minimize damage with prompt and efficient response.

In drawing up the plan, organizations with stakes in the tourism industry including the meetings industry in New Orleans provided New Orleans mayor and Louisiana governor with various information needed to create a plan with a view to getting the industry’s opinions reflected in the ‘Emergency Communications Plan’ that could be shared by the city and the state. (The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) is the only government agency that has close relationships with various organizations related to the New Orleans tourism industry and works with Executive Operations Team to perform to provide communications among meeting hosts and planners in the event of an emergency in the area.
As the principal convention center in New Orleans, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has established Emergency Procedures for Show Management, which included the eight categories of 1) Medical Emergency Procedures, 2) Fire or Smoke Emergency Procedures, 3) Civil Disorder/Riot/Protest Emergency Procedures, 4) Hurricane, 5) Bomb Threat, 6) Suspicious Packages/Objects Procedures, 7) Building Evacuation Emergency Procedures, and 8) Hazardous Materials/Bio-Hazards Emergency Procedures. Of these, the part related to hurricane response system stipulates that the Public Safety Department of the convention center keep tabs on tropical depressions that could cause hurricanes in the Gulf Coast while Center’s CEO, GM, and managers regularly get together to discuss hurricane path, magnitude, and potential risks.

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