Board members affirmed strategic priorities

Posted by: Mary Ann Passi, CAE on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 12:00:00 am

The CHPA Board of Directors met in October and the Executive Committee in November. Board members affirmed strategic priorities for the Association for the remainder of 2015 and 2016. Recent leadership decisions including:

  • Purchasing event cancellation insurance to protect the annual and regional conferences.
  • Updating investment policies.
  • Approving the Value of Corporate Housing white paper differentiating corporate housing from other lodging choices.
  • Selecting the Lifetime Achievement Award winner for next year.
  • Adding the contribution of industry data as a requirement to become a CHPA Accredited Member Company.
  • To streamline and change the method in which industry data is collected.

Look for more information on the impact of these decisions on your company’s success! If you have any business to come before the Board of Directors, please contact Mary Ann Passi, CHPA CEO, at

Canadian Advisory Group Announced

Posted by: Amanda Cook on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 12:00:00 am

The Canadian Advisory Group’s Managing Director, Terry Rodgers, CCHP of HighStreet Accommodations, Ltd., announced the following members as part of the 2015 – 2017 Advisory Group.

Together, they will drive the strategic initiatives for Canadian members focusing on:

  1. Member Engagement at Canadian events
  2. Industry Awareness for Canadian audiences
  3. Development of New Members in Canada

Canadian member companies support Canadian-specific initiatives by contributing financially to these efforts in addition to their CHPA Association dues.  These resources are earmarked for Canadian initiatives only and overseen by the Canadian Advisory Group to ensure effective use.

The CHPA Board of Directors is the governing board for the entire Association, overseeing overall member program and services for all CHPA member companies globally.  All CHPA members, including international members, are eligible for election to the Board of Directors. The Canadian Managing Director is invited to CHPA Board strategic meetings to ensure that Canadian initiatives for members align with CHPA’s overall mission and goals.

In addition to elected Directors from and by the membership, there are four validated positions on the Board of Directors. These positions are established by validating that they are one of the four active members with the greatest monthly average leased unit count. The composition of the CHPA Board of Directors is outlined in the Bylaws as follows:

Article VI – Board of Directors, Section 1. Composition of the CHPA Bylaws require that: The Association Board of Directors shall consist of no less than ten (10) individuals (including Officers); four (4) directors representing the four active members with the greatest monthly average leased unit count, calculated on an annual basis; up to one additional director affiliated with, but not employed by, each of the largest four active members; one (1) associate member director with the right to vote and the remaining directors shall be elected by the members of the Association eligible to vote. Member companies with the greatest annual unit count will be validated through a process identified by the Board of Directors. Validation will occur every three years.

Hurricane Katrina - A Look Back at Disaster Preparedness

Posted by: Michelle Velasquez, CCHP on Monday, September 21, 2015 at 9:00:00 am

On September 16, 2004 Hurricane Ivan made landfall along the coasts of Alabama and Florida. Prior to the storms’ arrival, mandatory evacuation orders were issued all along the Gulf Coast due to Ivan’s unpredictable path. These evacuations caused widespread panic and Preferred Corporate Housing, a national provider of furnished apartment solutions, began receiving higher-than-normal inbound calls at its Headquarters in Houston, Texas.

“People were desperately requesting apartments as far away from the coast as they could get in the short amount of time they had,” recalls Megan Margetusakis, PCH Director of Operations. “Our existing corporate clients were calling in to find solutions for their displaced employees along with all of the people who happened upon our information on the web. We were one of the only national furnished apartment providers at the time, and I remember it being extremely chaotic trying to fulfill everyone’s requests.”

Preferred Corporate Housing eventually housed hundreds of people along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Ivan’s destruction, but knew that they had to come up with a better plan for servicing disaster-related situations for the future.

“We knew we had create a specific planning and response process for any future disaster-related situations that might occur,” said Jon Lanclos, Founder of PCH. “When a Hurricane is on its way, its too late to start trying to create a plan, and we wanted to be prepared in the future. We also knew that we were at risk for future storms and we need to be prepared as well. That’s how we came up with the Preferred Placement Program®"

This unique disaster preparedness plan allowed us to track the anticipated path of a potential storm, compile an instantaneous list of all existing clients located near the path of the storm, and simultaneously source all viable furnished apartment solutions outside of the storm’s path to offer to anyone who may be evacuating prior or displaced. Using our proprietary database platform, we were able to incorporate automatic alerts, employee phone trees, mobile office solutions and other critical disaster recovery elements that would allow us to be a resource for any company effected by a disaster, no matter where it occurred.

The remainder of 2004 along with the beginning of the 2005 hurricane season, which began with Hurricane Dennis hitting the Florida coast in July, gave Preferred Corporate Housing several opportunities to test and perfect each element of our newly formed Preferred Placement Program®.

“Although there were some kinks, I was proud of the plan we had created and our ability to service our clients who were displaced after Hurricane Dennis. If we had not taken the time following Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis to perfect our systems and plans, we would not have been ready for what came next,” said Lanclos.

On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans. Preferred Corporate Housing had enabled the beginning phases of its Preferred Placement Plan® the week prior and was already operating its “Ready Room,” to prepare for another influx of calls once the storm passed.

“It was pretty close to business-as-usual at the beginning of the week,” said Margetusakis. “Although we were receiving a higher call volume and were responding to more housing requests, we were following the plan we had in place and things were going as smoothly as could be expected. As news reports of the failed levees and floodwaters started surfacing, we watched, along with the rest of the world, in horror as people were stranded in their flooded homes and at the Superdome without food or water.”

“As we learned of the levee breaches and widespread devastation, we expanded our search radius to incorporate more cities away from the devastated regions. We knew that we would need more available housing than originally planned," said Lanclos. “With our past storm-response experience and our allocated resources, we had quickly developed a reputation with our clients and apartment community partners of being a go-to resource for furnished apartment solutions following a disaster.”

PCH received a call from an American Express Travel Agent on August 31, around 5:15pm. “Normally we would have been shutting down for the day,” explains Samantha Elliott, President of Preferred Corporate Housing, “But we were all still busy helping people find housing that we had extended our office hours for the week.” The caller explained that she was representing a major energy company who’s Louisiana office was currently underwater in New Orleans and who was looking to relocate its entire team and operations away from New Orleans as quickly as possible. The caller had been turned away by three other national corporate housing providers who explained that they had already reached their inventory capacity and could not accommodate a group of this size.

The company was Dominion Exploration and Production, one of the largest providers of electricity, natural gas and related services at the time. Dominion Exploration’s Louisiana office, Dominion Tower, was located directly across from the Superdome, and was the central office for more than 325 employees who were displaced from their homes following Katrina’s devastation.

Preferred Corporate Housing was up to the challenge. It was decided that Houston, TX was the best location with enough housing solutions for all 325 employees and their families. Utilizing the designed Preferred Placement Plan®, Preferred Corporate Housing’s team was able to source and furnished all 325 apartments at 21 different apartment communities in the Houston area.  Dominion evacuated the families and brought them to Houston where they arrived to fully furnished, fully equipped apartments. For many, it was the first time they were able to sleep in an actual bed, prepare a meal, and even shower since the storm hit. 

“It was the proudest moment for me,” said Elliott. “We saw the living conditions these people were coming from, and for my team to be able to provide a safe, comfortable place for these families while they began the rebuilding process was an accomplishment that I will never forget.” These Dominion employees and their families were home in the PCH furnished apartments for the next 6 months. Although approximately 200 families returned back to New Orleans in early 2006, around 140 employees became permanent Houston residents and did not wish to return.

Its been ten years since Hurricane Katrina caused more than $108 billion dollars in damage, more than 1,300 deaths and displaced more than 400,000 people from the Gulf Coast region.

“Looking back, there isn’t much I would do differently,” recalls Lanclos. “We had a plan in place ahead of the storm, and though we could never have predicted the amount of devastation, we were able to provide immediate solutions when others could not.”

“We still use the same Preferred Placement Plan® today,” says Margetusakis. “We’ve improved it as technology and resources have changed, but the shell of the plan is the same.”

“Hurricane Katrina taught us so much about our company - our strengths, our culture, our capabilities,” said Elliott. “I am so grateful we had the opportunity to help those families, and while I hope no one has to experience that kind of devastation again, I know we’ll be ready to help the next time we get the call.”

To read the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Case Study in its entirety, visit To learn more about Preferred Corporate Housing’s furnished apartment solutions in more than 42,000 North American locations, or to receive a customized employee housing proposal based on your specific program needs, contact Krista Ripper at (800) 960-0102,

New opportunities approved by CHPA Board

Posted by: Mary Ann Passi, CAE on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 12:00:00 am

Peak season for the industry was also incredibly busy – and productive – for CHPA and its leaders. CHPA Board members approved several new opportunities help members increase awareness of both their companies and the industry.

  • Company Credential: Individual professionals show off their corporate housing ‘know how’ and competency with the CCHP designation. CHPA leaders recently approved a member company accreditation – something to help you get more recognition for your company. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by accrediting your entire company.
  • Corporate Housing Documentary: Corporate housing will be the subject of an upcoming documentary. This is an investment in overall industry visibility, with the finished videos available for all members to use by 2016. The In America series, narrated by James Earl Jones, features public television ‘filler’ pieces. Representing the overall industry, this partnership will result in three short documentaries about the corporate housing industry. Look for more information on production progress and airing information soon.
  • Updated Ethics Grievance Process: The Past Chair Advisory Council reviewed and revised CHPA’s process for alleged ethical grievances. Please review the updated policies.
  • Nominations Form: There are three open provider member positions on the CHPA Board of Directors, beginning March 1, 2016. Add to the industry experience leading the Association by letting us know of your interest or by nominating a colleague.
  • Board Business: The CHPA Board next meets for their annual strategic planning meeting on October 1. If there are any issues to bring before the Board, please contact Mary Ann Passi at by September 19.

The Board of Directors stay busy

Posted by: Amanda Cook on Monday, July 20, 2015 at 9:00:00 am

The Board of Directors and their companies join you in this summer's busy season, but that hasn't stopped them from moving some of the Association's initiatives forward. Below is a recap of recent activity.

Showcase Your Company's Excellence: The Board and Task Force have made some final adjustments to the criteria and CHPA's new Member Company Accreditation Program will be unveiled this fall. This company accreditation is a mark of excellence for your company. It demonstrates to clients and partners that your company achieves higher standards and sets you apart from your competitors. Your company accreditation shows you don’t just meet the standards of good practice – you exceed them.

OTA Toolkit: The Board voted to hire a writer to draft a position paper that helps clarify what you do, how you do it and how these stakeholders can differentiate qualified corporate housing professionals and other marketplace options. The final position paper will be included as part of a toolkit you can use in your local area to combat this confusion about online travel agents (OTAs).

Assess Your Guest's Experience: The Board has been working most of the first and second quarter on CHPA’s Quality Assessment Pilot Program with ASAP that wrapped up June. Companies across the US and Canada were professionally assessed against more than 250 criteria that a guest experiences when they stay with your company. CHPA leaders will take member company’s feedback in the coming months to determine the value to members and how to best move forward.

Progress Toward Strategic Goals:

  • Goal 1.0: Grow membership by 24% to 323 companies. Progress: 300 or 92%, however we are in the middle of renewals so this may change.
  • Goal 2.0: Increase Revenue by 30% from $658,000 to $855,400. Progress: 91% as of 12/31/14 and revenue generating activities are trending well so far in 2015.
  • ACHIEVED! Goal 3.0: Reserves will equal 50% of CHPA’s annual operating budget by 12.31.16, increasing from $202,414 to $320,000

CHPA 2016: The Board also approved the budget for the 2016 Annual Conference so we are well on the way to planning the next event! Don't miss it in Fort Worth, Texas!

If you would like to bring anything forward to the Board to discuss, please feel free to forward it to Mary Ann Passi, CAE, CHPA CEO so that she can add it to the next agenda. We look forward to sharing in CHPA's successes in the 3rd and 4th quarters.



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