Katrina damage update

My colleague Mike Bassett has been working overtime on the Katrina damage updates. Here's one good thing that is coming from so much bad, according to this article he wrote for today's MeetingsNet Extra e-newsletter:

    At 5 p.m. central time yesterday, the Dallas Convention and Visitor Bureau announced that 23 of its city's hotel were offering reduced room rates for evacuees of the storm, and would extend those rates "as long as it will take for some communities to get utilities and other services in operation," said Dallas CVB president/CEO Phillip Jones.

    In addition, "the bureau is in constant contact with the Hotel Association of Greater Dallas and our member hotels, and we will continue to add their special rates throughout the week," Jones said. "Our hotels are providing us with their week-by-week availability of room blocks and the Dallas Convention Center and Dallas Market Center are keeping us informed about their availability. We contacted American Airlines, which agreed to not assess destination change fees for group business relocating to Dallas due to Hurricane Katrina.

    "In addition, we are actively responding to customer requests about availability and have contacted the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau to let our colleagues know that, where we share clients for meetings scheduled now through future years, we will accommodate them by switching our dates with theirs, based on availability, to enable the city to have adequate ramp-up time for their facilities to be fully functional," Jones said in the statement. "All of us have friends or family throughout the affected states, and we want to offer our support. The hospitality industry is close--in good times and bad--and it is our intention to assist in whatever way we can."

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