The Mews Blog > How to effectively manage a hotel crisis
Hotel crisis management is essential for any hotelier. Regardless of what's happening, your action plan should consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Once you define all these factors and analyze their respective risks, you'll be ready to handle any crisis and stop it from negatively affecting your brand's reputation.
So, let's look at the best practices to help you handle any emergency that comes your way.
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What constitutes a hotel crisis?
In recent years, the hospitality industry has become all too familiar with the word "crisis." Travel bans, a global pandemic, reduced staff levels, the inability to find qualified staff, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and government disturbances all constitute a hotel crisis.
That's why hotel crisis management has become an essential topic for hoteliers looking to future-proof their business. The best way to mitigate the impact of the upcoming crises is to absorb the lessons from the past and formulate effective strategies for the future.
What are the best practices in hotel crisis management?
During a crisis or a situation that might negatively impact your brand, it’s best to start with an outline that defines the soundest way to communicate with guests, staff, media, and other stakeholders.
"Expect the best, prepare for the worst" captures the best mentality to deal with a crisis in the hospitality industry. A hotel manager should analyze the situation and decide how the business will respond. On the contrary, being under-prepared will result in a slower and clumsier response.
Once the how is defined, carefully communicate it to the staff and all stakeholders. It's advisable to organize regular crisis prevention training so that staff across departments know what needs to happen in a worst-case scenario.
Optimize services for natural disasters
Optimizing services is one of the best forms of crisis prevention. Think of implementing safety protocols like fire hydrants on every floor, making your building safe from earthquakes, and creating a safe exit plan in case of a blackout or a natural disaster.
If your structure can handle an unexpected event, evacuating guests and getting them to safety will be much easier. Regularly review your safety protocols and services to make sure everything is working well.
Identify potential issues
Being prepared includes identifying the possible scenarios that could lead to a problem for your hotel. If it’s a staffing shortage, plan staffing needs at a budgeting time so you have an adequate budget to handle the peak season. For a power outage, have generators to back up your power loss. For health outbreaks, have filters and hygiene protocols in place.
Next, analyze their likelihood and impact on your business. Rank them according to severity and urgency to allocate adequate resources to address each potential threat.
Create a crisis management team
Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of different team members. There should be a person dedicated to attending to guests' needs and inquiries, a spokesperson who handles media requests, and somebody who helps lead the crisis management from the ground up.
You can rely on your crisis management team to lead the response and coordinate efforts. That way, the crisis will have the least possible effect on your business.
Training and testing
Training and testing are inevitable parts of hotel crisis management. Conduct regular drills to prepare your staff members for any issues and make the process as agile as possible. Analyze what went well and what could be improved, then use these points as the basis for your future training.
Your crisis management is an ongoing process. The more your hotel’s general manager can motivate staff to do their best under any circumstances, the better they’ll respond when faced with any problem. Encouraging employee engagement is one of the best things you can do to improve the crisis response.
We’ve looked at some of the best practices in hotel crisis management. Preparing, training, optimizing services, testing, creating a dedicated team, and improving are all parts of an optimal response to a crisis. At this point, you should feel confident enough to handle any unfortunate situation, catastrophe, or natural disaster.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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