It’s every hotelier’s worst nightmare when something goes wrong, so how do you effectively manage a crisis?
Sophia Soltani, editor of Hotel News ME reveals some top tips on how hoteliers can effectively manage a crisis and why it is imperative for the staff to control the crisis and not the other way around.
Crisis management has its roots in strategic planning incorporating contingencies for unexpected events. And the challenge for hotels is to recognise the early ‘warning signals’ and
take appropriate action before a real crisis unfolds.
So what can be classed as a crisis? There are several variables: those resulting from internal actions of the hotel vs. trends taking place in the marketplace or changes in the immediate environment outside the organisation. Generally speaking, a crisis as an event is characterised by its unexpected nature, inflicting severe impact on those involved. Moreover, a crisis typically demonstrates the characteristics of suddenness, uncertainty and time compression thus demanding immediate action from the hotel and management teams.
How any of these challenges are managed can determine the magnitude of the impact a crisis will have on an organisation. Prompt and expertly dealings with a crisis situation and those affected by the crisis can also open new opportunities for future business success. Regrettably, such events are an occupational hazard for many hoteliers, and it is common for establishments to be dealing with the potential of a crisis on a daily basis.
In any crisis, it is a situation that requires immediate action, tact, and most importantly, discretion. Knowing the appropriate steps to take ahead of time can make dealing with this easier and enable the hotel and its staff to return to some form of normalcy.
Top tips to remember include: Be prepared for crisis situations – response practices within a hotel should be mandatory for all staff, some hotels even produce crisis preparation manuals for all staff to read covering all probable situations.
Managing costs during a crisis – Managing costs effectively during any crisis is probably the key to being able to remain in business during and after thr crisis, as any reduction in hotel occupancy rates will translate into a drop in the revenues. However, this cost saving exercise should be conducted in a way that allows the hotel to bounce back quickly once the demand for their services returns.
Make use of all local advice – it is imperative for hotels to know their local areas and building regulations and this advice is often freely available when contacting the local authorities.
Maintain good communication with your guests – accurate record keeping should not be limited to the customer relations department but be a standard across all the departments within the hotel. Moreover, all well documented procedures can also stop a minor incident from becoming a major crisis. And remember, it is key to note that you, as the hotelier must control the crisis, the crisis must not control you.