Crises are a predominant aspect of corporate life. Therefore, when talking about crises, the issue is not usually about if or whether a business entity will experience when, but rather it becomes an issue of what type, form, how, and when the crisis will take place. Tourism-based facilities are particularly susceptible to external setbacks which are usually beyond the control of management. Such setbacks result in an extreme and sudden reduction in demand. With increased turbulence in the global setting and the fact that such facilities experience employee turnover on a regular basis necessitates crisis management, which seeks to address the challenges and opportunities. A crisis management should be able to be divided into various functional phases as lessening, preparedness, response, and recovery which are tailored within the tourism and hotel management. A well-planned crisis management has the potential to reduce the effects, duration, and cost of a crisis (Zech, 2016). This paper discusses the importance of a detailed crisis management plan and differentiates between considerations for tourism and regular business planning.
A Crisis management plan may be described as a document which outlines the process and procedures that will be used by a business in response to a critical occurrence which will probably negatively impact the profitability, reputation, and the capability to efficiently operate. Crisis management plans are requisite possessions by corporate continuity groups, risk managing groups, crisis managing groups, and damages assessment groups as to avert or mitigate damages and also to offer directions on staffing, resource allocation, and communication amongst team members. Public relations has become a central factor in crisis management processes and hence a business facility could choose to outsource or contract a public relations firm to deal with communication elements like the media. A business facility recognizing public crisis response could counter any kind of misleading and false news and aim to ease concern among clients, stakeholders, and staff as well. A swift crisis resolution could make bringing it to public attention unnecessary as it would lead to unwarranted attention. A crisis management plan enables a business facility to always remain proactive as opposed to being reactive to crises (Glaesser, 2016).
In the occurrence of a crisis requires prompt decision-making so as to reduce the likely damage that such would lead to had the crisis taken longer to the facility, stakeholders, and the general public. Therefore, the provision of a documented series of responses to probable crises facilitates quick action in occurrence. Since a crisis management plan usually recognizes memberships of a crisis management team, it provides a clear position and role in case a crisis occurs hence reducing chances of panic and haphazard designation of duties. The crisis management plan makes the facility to quickly realize that a crisis has occurred since it documents the criterion for determining that a crisis has occurred. A facility will be able to detect the possibility of a crisis since a crisis management plan provides monitoring systems and practices with signals of a potential crisis.
A crisis management plan enables an organization to have one particular information flow in the occurrence of a crisis as it defines who the spokesperson will be. Further, public and private emergency response teams will be easily contacted since a crisis management plan provides a list of main emergency addresses which will prove useful for an organization especially as many lives and properties could be saved in case of a natural crisis. Incidences and possibilities of panic are reduced as the process of notifying relevant persons is well defined. An apt and prompt response to a situation is easily achieved by a facility since the crisis management plan offers a clear process of assessment of the crisis as to determine the possible severity and impacts it could have on clients, employees, and the whole building, therefore, determination of shortest routes for clients and in what order can easily be undertaken. Therefore, a crisis management plan facilitates easy identification of fatalities and casualties as it has a designated assembly point designed (Zech, 2016). Social media can be used to ruin the reputation of a business facility especially in times of crisis and therefore, a crisis management plan develops a stratagem that will ensure that social media posts and responses will be able to maintain the reputability of the facility.
Communication is a vital element in a crisis management plan. This is because it helps the facility to get through the occurrence by keeping all the relevant and involved persons from office to the entire business premise informed. A crisis management plan helps the organization to update its communication in the development and evolution of the crisis. When a crisis occurs, clients and employees alike look up to the managers for leadership and guidance and thus lack of apt communication could lead to erroneous speculations and actions causing a safety concern. A critical management plan comes in handy in ensuring that proper communication channels are used so that concise, clear, and truthful information is communicated concerning the crisis (Glaesser, 2016). This enables swift communication and notification to all the relevant persons and organs of the facility.
Since a crisis management plan brings together various stakeholders, relevant persons, and management, it enables the facility to get a realistic picture of the magnitude, cost, and probability of a crisis (Zech, 2016). Such may result in patterns and interconnections with a past crisis which provides a glimpse of what can be done and what should not be done in solving a crisis. Further, a crisis management plan establishes a team of qualified personnel which makes it easy to contain the damage and make requisite repairs. In addition, a crisis management plan enables a tourism-based facility to not only ensure the safety of persons within, at, or visiting the premise but also ensures that the facility resolves a crisis in compliance with the laws and regulations thereby avoiding business closure and license revocation thereby allowing business continuity after a crisis recovery. Further, the tourism-based facility can easily make apt travel, transport, and security coordination with the relevant government institutions (Glaesser, 2016). It also enables the facility to understand the public perception of the crisis which will inform the next moves it will make.
Crisis management planning for tourism is highly volatile currently and thus there are factors which need to be considered different from any other economic activity (Glaesser, 2016). These factors include increased natural disasters, political unrests and upheavals, the rising cases of terrorism, military conflicts, criminal activities, racism and ethnic violence, and epidemics such as diseases. Tourism is a key economic activity which the economies of other countries depend on. Further, unlike some other businesses, tourism involves the shared responsibility amongst the tourism industry players such as travel agencies, hotels, government agencies other players to serve to ensure the safety of visitors. Thus, planning should consider factors such as government legislation on international diplomacy as it has a higher corporate responsibility to the public as compared to the other regular businesses (Zech, 2016). The regular business crisis management planning takes into account factors such as funding, competition, consumer preferences, state regulations in business and ranking within the market.
In conclusion, tourism-based business is amongst the fast growing industries globally while at the same time is vulnerable to different crises outside the management control, management failures, and those within different parts of a premise. Therefore a crisis management plan involves coming up with measures, contingencies, and documentation which are used for prompt responses in occurrence of crisis so as to reduce the negative impacts to a business facility’s image, reputation, and health of everyone involved as well as property. A crisis management plan also helps maintain the repute of the entire industry. A well-planned crisis management is important in reducing the effects, duration, and cost of a crisis.