MPI survey finds lack of war contingencies

Nearly 70% of planners polled by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) do not have a contingency plan in place for events affected by the war in Iraq. MPI director of European operations and global development Didier Scaillet said the number of planners without a contingency plan is disturbingly high given MPI’s work with various chapters on risk and crisis management. Scaillet also points to the FutureWatch 2003 report (CIT, February 2003), which saw 32% of planners cite cancellation fees as being a major operational consideration for 2003. “The subject was identified as being high on the list of priorities and after 11 September, we would expect more plans to be in place,” he said. “A lot of companies were badly hit by attrition clauses and cancellation fees then, and it was only 18 months ago, so these issues should still be fresh.” He suspects as some suppliers have relaxed cancellation fees that planners are relying on all suppliers to be as lenient. “Some planners do not know how to put a contingency plan in place,” he added. “It involves a lot of work and with greater time pressures, planners are swamped.” Agency Jack Morton’s director of operations Julian Pullan said the high figure is alarming. “We always go through contingency and risk management with clients, normally only at our instigation,” he said. “It is something everyone will take more seriously given the current situation, but there are always risks that clients and planners should be aware of.” MPI carried out the survey through a web-based operation and had 236 respondents.

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