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CHPA leaders have met several times to ensure the Association supports member companies’ success through the following programs and services:
Protecting Your Interests
Several potential pieces of legislation afforded us the opportunity to share the recently developed Value of Corporate Housing. Using this resource with lobbyists, City Councils and NAA’s Government Affairs staff, for example, helps ensure that legislation does not prohibit your ability to do business. If you hear of a local issue that is of concern to you in any of your markets, please contact Mary Ann Passi. CHPA contacts these local government officials to support your concerns and share this resource to better educate their efforts.
Validating Your Guests’ Experiences
CHPA has announced the ISAAP Quality Assessment Program in partnership with ASAP. UK assessors will be used for continuity sake.
Accrediting Your Company’s Professionalism
Have you heard about CHPA’s new company accreditation? You may have individually earned your CCHP – now is your chance to earn recognition for your company’s excellence. Set your company apart and increase your competitive advantage – accredit your company in 2016!
For more information on these valuable member-only opportunities, check out www.chpaonline.org today.
Corporate housing is often misunderstood --- from your family to your legislator! But recently CHPA invested in two resources to help you start the conversation.
CHPA invested in a professionally filmed infomercial that was developed for the In America documentary series that airs on PBS. As part of CHPA's participation, the Association gets three professionally formatted pieces to use and distribute to members for their use. One of these is a one-minute ‘commercial’ that will air up to 400 times in the US in 2016. CHPA will use the videos to promote the industry in tradeshow booths and interactions with other organizations. Members are free to download any of the media pieces and use them to promote their companies and the industry. These videos are currently in production. Look for the release dates early in 2016! Check out www.inamericatv.com.
The other piece that was completed is a white paper describing what corporate housing is --- and what it isn't. Every day, we’re inundated with headlines about hotels, the sharing economy, online travel agents, vacation rentals, etc. These options confuse the hospitality and lodging space. CHPA has a new resource for you to use to educate partners, investors and legislators about the industry. Download the Value of Corporate Housing, a new white paper that articulates the differences between housing options available. Found in the Members Only Knowledge Center, please help educate stakeholders and give them the facts on these differences. CHPA uses this paper with legislators as they draft new regulations to protect the industry and your right to do business.
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:
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 email@example.com.
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:
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.
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 http://www.corporates.com/dom. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.