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CASE STUDY: Healthcare Client (Emergency Response & Room Sourcing)

A fast-acting ETM team sources hundreds of hotel rooms from Louisiana to Texas for two healthcare clients on life-saving missions.

What happens when a hurricane and a pandemic strike at the same time?

In late August 2021, ETM worked with two of our healthcare clients on simultaneous emergency responses – one bringing healthcare workers to Louisiana to support temporary pandemic hospitals, and another evacuating ICU patients for the coastal areas of Louisiana where the hurricane would hit hardest.

Read on to find out how.

Overview

Late August 2021 presented the perfect storm. The COVID-19 Delta variant was surging, and Hurricane Ida was bearing down on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. This caused two simultaneous emergency responses for a pair of ETM’s clients in the healthcare space with critical life-saving missions.

  • Client #1 was bringing healthcare workers to Louisiana to support temporary hospitals treating people with COVID-19.
  • Client #2 was evacuating ICU patients (those patients whose care depended upon maintaining electricity) from coastal areas further inland. This, along with the typical evacuation of coastal residents, created an extreme demand for hotel rooms in northeastern Louisiana.

Challenge

  • Supply and demand – extreme competition for rooms meant no ability to get more than a handful of rooms in any one hotel
  • Timing – client #2 called us on Friday at 4pm needing rooms starting Saturday, and hotel contacts were also not available for us to call
  • Proximity – healthcare workers work long days and needed to be close to the location of the patients
  • Visibility into availability – neither the ETM team nor the client wanted to waste time looking for space close to the temporary hospitals when it was already sold out
  • Room list management – ETM team needed to receive names and communicate them to each hotel to know who was coming

Solution

  • Team effort – one ETM staff member looked for hotels within a 30-minute radius, while simultaneously another staffer looked within one hour, then 1.5 hours, then 2 hours
  • Focused on larger hotels for larger room blocks
  • Rolling availability + short terms solution = multiple blocks/hotels, moving attendees to closer hotels in larger blocks
  • Clients provided bussing for healthcare workers, so stops at multiple hotels meant some healthcare workers would miss out on sleep in order to get on the bus first
  • Developed shared file to track what had already been discovered, weekend coverage grid for team members to seamlessly back up each other. Later, the ETM team created shared email box to share all communication

The ETM team also ensured they had upfront communications with additional clients looking for space. Believe it or not, the team did have additional clients call looking for space where they had already determined that rooms were not available.

Results

  • Client #1 – sourced and contracted 380 sleeping rooms (extended stays for 5+ months) across Louisiana, with a total estimated spend of $3.5M
  • Client #2 – sourced 300+ sleeping rooms required within 24 hours. With limited rooms available, rooms were sourced from the surrounding areas – roughly 20 hotels stretching from Texas to Louisiana
  • Successfully booked hotels for nearly 700+ healthcare workers and patients

As a result, the ETM team also expanded its service offering and continues to service other emergency responses in multiple states for vaccinations, testing, etc. for both clients. But sometimes, the real result isn’t in the numbers. “This was the one time when our meeting planners can truly say that they are helping to save people’s lives,” said ETM’s Marla Everett.

 

Contact our team today to discuss how the ETM team can help you with your meetings program.