In early 2020, hotel manager Jacques D’Rovencourt was preparing for thousands of energy executives to fill Hilton Americas Hotel when he took an unexpected call. Organizers of CERAWeek would cancel the annual conference, known as the Davos of energy, rather than risk bringing together professionals from around the world as the coronavirus rapidly spread.
“We went from being ready for the busiest week that we typically have in the year to just like that, in 24 hours, going down to single-digit occupancy,” D’Rovencourt said with a snap of his fingers. “At that point we knew that we were in for some pretty big challenges ahead, but we just didn’t really realize the magnitude globally of what was going to transpire. The cancellations and the calls just kept coming.”