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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.
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.
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:
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.
The CHPA 2015 Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago last month was a great success! Over 90 CHPA members and guests came together for a few days of volunteering, education and networking at Loyola University. Attendees started the conference off on the right foot by volunteering with the Greater Chicago Food Depository along with our partner charity Move For Hunger. Together we packed 575 cases. That’s the equivalent of 13,800 cans of food or 20,678 pounds of food! After working up an appetite from volunteering, it was time to mingle and relax at the Welcome Reception at Jake’s Corner Tap, sponsored by CORT Furniture Rental.
The next day was packed full of programming and networking. The first session, Chi-Town Rental Inventory Trends, featured Gail Lissner, CRE, SRA of Appraisal Research Counselors giving an update on the latest development trends in the Chicagoland rental market. Once Gail kicked things off there was no looking back. Next we heard from relocation and property management professionals for the Midwest Property Management Trends & Insights panel.
Everyone had a chance to network and catch up on email over lunch then regrouped for the Express Learning Labs. Attendees were able to discuss industry hot topics such as:
Is there a topic you’d like to see discussed at an upcoming event? Let us know!
Later in the afternoon Judith Gausnell, JG Performance, spoke on the best ways to gain insights into research, profiling, prospecting and sales calls with her session, Cold Calling that Opens Doors & Closes Sales. The day ended with the Apartments, Condos & Corporate Housing: Chicago Short term Rentals…Long term Business Strategies panel. The group shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities with corporate housing rentals of 30 days or more and the ever-evolving submarket of shorter-term rentals in the Chicago Metropolitan area.
A special Thank You to the CHPA members who make these events possible through their generous sponsorships and exhibits!
Welcome Reception - CORT Furniture Rental
Onsite Program - ABODA
Silver - Brook Furniture Rental
Bronze - ALE Solutions, AvenueWest Global Franchise, Preferred Corporate Housing, Suite Home Chicago
Aaxsys Technology, AMJ Insurance, Inc., Brook Furniture Rental, Bruce White Galleries, Chicagoland Apartment Association, CORT Furniture Rental, Furniture Options, Move for Hunger, Suite Interiors
We hope to see you at the last Regional Conference of 2015!