Crisis Management in the Hospitality Industry

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  • 0:03 In a Crisis
  • 1:05 Crisis Management:…
  • 1:59 Making a Plan
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Being prepared for a crisis begins before a disastrous situation unfolds. In this lesson, you'll learn more about best practices in navigating crisis situations in the hospitality industry.

In a Crisis

Crises in the hospitality industry are inevitable. Whether the source is a natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake, or a man-made situation, such as a terrorist attack or a bomb threat, sectors of the hospitality industry are often at the forefront of critical situations that need to be handled appropriately. Problem situations can create serious risks to the hospitality industry's ability to continue regular operations. They can cause problems with a hotel's perceived image, ostracize a customer base, and have devastating short- and long-term financial consequences.

Where most organizations fail in managing the crises that beset their businesses is in not being prepared before a tragedy strikes and then trying to blindly navigate a host of problems once the situation has presented itself. In this lesson, you'll learn more about best practices for managing crises in the hospitality industry.

Crisis Management: Best Practices

The first step in mitigating fall-out from a crisis involving your organization is to consider the various types of situations that could arise. This is sometimes called a vulnerability analysis. What are trends in current events, the environment, and health-related concerns in your area? Have you considered both internal and external crises, ranging from a death at your hotel to hundreds falling sick due to food contamination at your restaurant? Are you equipped to handle a cyber attack that compromises the credit card information of your hotel guests? Thinking of all the possible scenarios you could be confronted with can be overwhelming, but it's necessary in order to formulate a plan that can deal with any obstacle presented.

After you've completed your assessment, it's time to enact a plan.

Making a Plan

Look at available resources. What resources are available to you locally as well as internally? What agencies can you get involved with to ensure you're equipped to handle a crisis at your establishment? Is your staff involved in building the plan or will you bring them in later? Ensure that all members of your team, including insurance providers, vendors, and legal counsel are a part of your coordinated strategy in one form or another.

Identify the protocol that will be put into place when a tragedy strikes. For example, where will guests be taken if a crisis happens? Will you evacuate the premises like locations along the coast did in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew? What types of things will need to be done to temporarily close the business? Someone should be in charge of initiating the protocol, with designated team members responsible for different tasks, such as rounding up all customers and starting computer back-up procedures to save and protect data. Consider other operational concerns in your plan, such as staffing and transportation needs.

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