In the hotel industry, you can hope for the best of times but you need to plan for a crisis, because no matter where you are, a crisis is going to hit at some stage. From the impacts of climate change and pandemics to civil wars and global unrest, the impact on the hotel industry has been highlighted, directly or indirectly, making it imperative that you have the guidance of a hotel advisor to provide holistic crisis management. By getting expert insight and putting the appropriate plans in place, you’re able to remain resilient in the face of even the most destructive challenges.
How to prepare for a crisis
Developing a crisis management plan
The hospitality industry, as with any industry, is susceptible to a crisis which is why the first thing your hotel advisor will do is risk assessment before outlining a crisis management plan. The risk assessment will include a complete analysis of the hotel business to identify any potential vulnerabilities when facing a natural disaster, terrorist attack, economic downturn, and more. Once these risks have been identified, the hotel advisor can begin drafting up a contingency plan.
Training staff for crisis situations
It’s no good to have a crisis management plan if nobody knows about it, which is why the next step will be providing you with support in training staff to handle crises effectively. The hotel advisor will provide training in emergency response protocols, stress management, and how best to handle guests during a crisis. You will be advised on holding emergency drills and keeping everyone prepared, and equipment maintained, for optimum safety.
Implementing effective communication protocols
One of the key areas of crisis management is ensuring the correct communication protocols are in place so that the crisis plan can be implemented effectively. Staff will need to be allocated responsibilities for any crisis, and know exactly what the communication protocol is for the employees and guests. You will also need a communication protocol in place for dealing with media and social media in particular, especially if the crisis is isolated to your hotel such as a fire or attack. Finally, your communication with local law enforcement and emergency services will also need to be via established and open channels.
How to prepare financially
Identifying potential financial risks
The crisis management plan will also analyse the costs involved in any potential threat, whether this is a direct risk – such as damage to the building, equipment, or services – or an indirect threat such as reputational damage. This would undoubtedly require you to have certain insurance measures in place, and a thorough audit of your finances will assist in better preparing you for a crisis.
Developing a contingency plan
If an emergency does strike, you will need to have a contingency plan in place to ensure you can continue operating as a business. Backup systems and emergency generators are vital to continue operations, but you must ensure these are serviced to ensure they’re fully operational when the time comes. A stock of candles, a landline connection, and emergency food stocks are also important as this will keep your business running in a crisis.
Optimising revenue streams
Another way to remain resilient in a crisis is by optimising your revenue streams. Your hotel advisor will look at ways to best adapt your business, find alternative markets, create new services, or target new customers so that you’re more resilient. The hotel advisor will also identify ways that you can streamline your expenses and renegotiate contracts so that you’re maximising your cash flow and saving wherever possible.
How to create partnerships
Building relationships with suppliers
When it comes down to a crunch, you need to know that you have a supportive network, and that means establishing great relationships with your suppliers now – so that they’re there when you need them. This is not only necessary in a physical crisis, but you might be going through a time of financial stress and being able to buy on credit can make all the difference to your business’s survival.
Collaborating with local businesses and tourism organisations
Beyond your suppliers, it’s vital that you establish good working relations with local businesses and tourism organisations in the area. This means you’re benefitting from added support when times are difficult, including further marketing exposure and testimonial backing where needed. A hotel advisor will provide you with the best networking options available in your area, as well as tourism organisations, both domestic and international, you should be aligned.
Building brand reputation
Finally, your hotel advisor will assess and outline ways to better build your brand reputation – before a crisis, and after if needed. By creating a strong brand now, you’re creating a more resilient business model that can withstand future uncertainty. If a crisis has hit, then a hotel advisor can help implement measures to put you ahead, such as promotional messaging, waiving cancellation fee policies, and connecting with guests over social media.
Tourism and Hospitality Services Australasia (THSA) partners with hotel owners, investors, operators and governments to deliver creative solutions for the hotel and tourism sector. Get in touch today for the best crisis management planning, so you’re always on top.