Stuff happens, all the time. From hurricanes to tornadoes, wild fires to drug cartel fueled violence. This is the nature of the world that we live in. Meeting and event planners need access to the latest information in order to ensure that their programs go off without a hitch and that the safety of their attendees is job one.
More and more, meeting and event planners are getting their information from a variety of sources ranging from CNN and MSNBC to hotel staff and local news outlets (calling my contacts with the hotel staff is always a good one).
In the past few months, I have seen more and more Convention and Visitors Bureaus stepping up and being a great source of information in times of crisis and I think that this is a good thing. When a meeting or event planner can learn to trust a destination with providing an accurate picture of what is happening on the ground in bad times, they become an even more trusted partner in the good times.
Case in point is Nashville during the past couple of weeks as they have experienced a terrible disaster due to flooding. I have heard through the grapevine that the Nashville CVB did an excellent job of keeping the information moving out to planners as the situation was unfolding. (and to the rest of the world as well).
They deserve high marks for being honest about the situation (and not candy coating it as some would) and for doing what they can for meeting and event professionals. They have even set up a spot on their website for flood information which keeps the number of phone calls down.
The one thing that meeting and event planners can not get from the evening news is how an unfolding crisis is going to impact their "meeting and event reality", which makes the CVB partners that we have critical in making smart decisions.