Preparing a Crisis Communication Plan.... The Time is Now!
By Susan Stoga Principal, Carson Stoga | October 28, 2008
Like all industries, the hospitality industry has its share of crisis...and as anyone who has worked the hospitality front lines know, a crisis seldom happens from 9 to 5 when everyone from general manager to controller to sales manager are on-site. Indeed, most "situations", whether great or small, happen in the wee hours when the newest front desk clerk seems to be in charge.
That's why it is so important to develop a sound crisis communication plan and keep it a vital part of operations and any new hire programs. Just as associates learn reservations systems, sign up for health care or learn about their 401k, this plan should be on the high on the agenda. While no crisis is ever the same, being prepared, in a general sense, will have a positive impact on any post-crisis quarterbacking.
There are a variety of crisis situations that can arise and the truth of the matter is that a solid crisis communication strategy may be the only way to safeguard your brand's reputation and maintain a safe and reputable image. The impact a crisis can have on your ability to service customers and grow your business varies from the loss of a day's work to the loss of your business altogether. Whether it is product malfunction, assault, fire, labor disputes, kidnapping, hostage situations or a natural disaster, the following procedures should get you going on the path to preparedness.
Make certain that all associates know how to contact the MOD in the event of any unexpected or unusual circumstance.
More importantly, create an environment that encourages the flow of communication at any time of day, or night. Sometimes, an issue that may not seem significant can have significant consequences and as a result, over-communication is better than no communication. Many situations never morph into full blown crises because they were handled at the outset, instead of allowing them to come to a boiling point.