In the wake of natural disasters like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, meeting planners often wonder, "What can I do?"
Although there are many potential answers -- including donating money, supplies, and blood to recovery efforts -- the most powerful thing you can do is to hold your next meeting there, according to Visit Houston President Mike Waterman. Post-Harvey, he says, Visit Houston has been flying planners who have meetings on the books into Houston to see the city's recovery for themselves.
"We flew them into Bush or to Hobby, showed them it's what it was pre-hurricane, toured them around the facility, showed them the George R. Brown [Convention Center], and convinced them they can safely execute their meeting," Waterman told Successful Meetings
Managing Editor Alex Palmer. "It turns pretty quickly into them realizing, 'Wow, this is really the best way we can help Houston recover, bringing our event here. We want to come. We want to put Houston back on the road to recovery.'"
If hosting a meeting in a disaster-affected city isn't possible, donations targeted to the local hospitality industry can have a similarly positive effect on the local economy.
Reports Palmer, "Visit Houston, the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, and Greater Houston Restaurant Association have … just launched the Houston Hospitality Employee Relief Fund to help hospitality- and tourism-industry workers impacted by the hurricane, and to which Waterman urges those looking to offer aid make a donation."More Tips:http://www.successfulmeetings.com/News/Destinations/West/How-Visit-Houston-Took-Action-When-Harvey-HitQuestions, Comments, Suggestions?Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.