The meetings and events industry associations response to the Gulf Oil Spill has been downright shameful. After the AIG incident, they (we) all got together to "Keep America Meeting" and to rally to the defense of our industry. Everyone was coming out of the woodwork to protect and defend. What have I seen in response to our brothers in arms that have been suffering over the past 120 some odd days......not much.
The Meetings and Events Industry Magazines have not been so kind either. A quick glance at the homepage of PlannerWire and the Meetings Industry RSS feeds, show only one story about the Gulf Coast.
Let it be known that I am not casting stones, I am as much to blame as anyone because this is true of PlannerWire as well, we have not done our fair share. We can be doing more and we haven't. I think that this is an across the board failure of an entire industry, not the failure of a few.
We can however, change course. I think that we all have the opportunity to help this region recover quickly, keep communities and families intact and help produce much needed jobs by simply helping to get the word out that for meetings and events, the Gulf Coast is open for business.
That being said, here are my ten reasons why you should be hosting a meeting on the Gulf Coast right now.
1 - Rates.
They are amazing right now and a fiscally responsible option for any event. This is not taking advantage of the situation. It is supply and demand. Because demand is low, you can get a great rate. By taking advantage of these rates, you are ensuring that your program comes in under budget. You are also helping the Gulf Coast get back on track because rates cannot go up unless there is demand.
2- Attendees don't care about swimming.
Most attendees at a business event do not care about bathing options. For them, the ocean is a backdrop, not a playground. Should they want to take a swim, most attendees opt for the pool anyway.
There are great options for your program and a property to fit every tier of program. Have a large program? Try the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center . An Incentive? How about the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa.
4 - Hospitality.
It is true. There is a sense of warmth to the people of the Gulf coast and the service is great.
5 - Assistance with your program.
There are any number of willing and able CVBs and DMCs that can assist with your program right now, just ask them.
6 - Climate.
7- Ease of access.
It is easy to get to the Gulf Coast and you can leave the passport in the drawer.
8- A culinary adventure.
So you are not eating what comes out of the Gulf. Local restaurants and hotels are importing the seafood and it is the love of the chefs, the preparation and the spices that make the cuisine.
9 - Things to do.
There are a million and one activities for your attendees that don't involve jumping in the water.
10 - Golf.
Last time I checked, golfing does not involve swimming in the ocean unless you suck. The Gulf Coast has some of the most amazing courses on the planet and going back to number 1, you can get some great rates for your attendees ensuring that they play the best courses at the best rates.
Meeting and Incentives on the Gulf Coast are the right thing to do now. They want and need the business and you need a spectacular place to host your meeting, event or incentive. A match made in heaven. From the restaurants and hotels to the gift shops and bars, everyone down there could use a shot in the arm and you can play doctor. They are ready, willing and able.
What are you waiting for. Make your attendees happy, your boss happy and the people who really need it happy! This is a true win, win, win.
Have a look at the following video from the Alabama Gulf Coast CVB, they are doing weekly updates about conditions in the area, I think that you will see that you have nothing to fear and everything to gain.