The Perfect Storm
Events that are scheduled for September in Florida had never really concerned me before. Somehow, the weather gods seemed to favor me until then and the meetings happened with no real weather interruptions even though September is the middle of hurricane season in Florida. I fell out of favor with the weather gods in the fall of 2017 as this Hurricane Maria made her way across the Atlantic. The stars aligned to completely derail my carefully laid plans for this event. It was the perfect storm to test our abilities to react as Hurricane Maria made a direct hit in Miami.
Mercury in Retrograde
We watched the weather 24/7 for days leading up to our schedule departure date to see exactly where Hurricane Maria was going to make landfall. The attendees for the multi day training program were from all over the globe and the weather was really putting a damper on all inbound flights. The hotel was unable to accept this as a force majeure until the city of Miami declared an emergency. It was The Waiting Game. We had logistics planned, menus decided, theme and design all ready to go and we were anxiously waiting for news. As we waiting, we connected with our national sales rep in a quick search of other cities to exploring options of who had openings for a 100+ meeting to start in 4 days. We were hedging our bets should this possible nightmare scenario become reality. It became real, the city declared an emergency as the hurricane approached and the city and hotel experienced flooding flooding from the massive amounts of rain and power outages. My good luck ran out and we had to cancel or move the meeting. My client and my team did not want to cancel.
The Stars Aligned
We were lucky. We had been on the phone for days it seemed working with our hotel contacts to find a viable alternative. We found a great option at the Dallas Renaissance Hotel. They had the meeting space, the sleeping rooms and the meal space for us. We are forever grateful to the hotel staff as they pretty much dropped everything else to accommodate our program. We needed an offsite for a formal award ceremony if we could find one. After many calls and picking the brains of the hotel staff, we discovered The Perot Museum was available and seemed perfect for our evening event. The staff there at the museum was equally gracious as we put the last minute details in place. Talk about southern hospitality! The stars did truly align for us.
With our new hotel contract signed three days prior to our arrival my team put in some long hours. Communication to our attendees to change the location, change flights, and rebooking hotel rooms was our first line of attack. Creating new menus for the hotel as well as our offsite event were quick to follow to ensure all venues would be able to staff up and order as needed. Meeting rooms sets and AV requirements were sent to the hotel as our production partner, CMI Communications, rerouted their truck of equipment from Miami to Dallas and our final shipping was sent out with fingers crossed the hurricane making its way from Miami to Atlanta, would not affect our materials our attendees.
Our team arrived at the hotel and we were truly amazed by the staff. The meeting came off without a hitch and the hospitality at the hotel and museum was outstanding. It was like the meeting was always meant to be here. It takes months of planning and contingency plans for a successful event and we just recreated the same success in a matter of days with our partners, team and behind the scenes support. I always knew I can weather any storm, and this hurricane proved it!