The Room Key: Responding To a Crisis

Fortune favors the prepared, so the best defense is having a plan.

Crisis communications

The Room Key is LODGING’s advice column for hoteliers, managers, and team members at all levels of hospitality. Experts will answer questions on everything from an operations crisis to revenue management. Have a question for our experts? Submit it here.


How should I publicly respond to a crisis at my hotel? 

Fortune favors the prepared, so when the worst happens at your hotel, the best defense is having a plan. Hoteliers need to be able to anticipate crises, from fires to active shooters to cyber threats. Have drills so everyone knows what to do and where to go. Call your local police department to arrange for active shooter training and if you don’t have a cybersecurity group, get one, immediately. This minimizes damage upfront.

When news of a crisis hits the media, you also need to have a team of senior leaders who are identified as your property’s Crisis Communications Team. The general manager should be trained to be a spokesperson, as well as equipped to handle a physical event or crisis.

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The Crisis Communications team should develop a “go by,” that is, a statement that can be adapted immediately after a crisis breaks. Here’s an example: “We have implemented our crisis management plan. This places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of our staff and guests. We will be supplying additional information when available and will post it on our website.”

The idea is to adapt the crisis-specific messages as needed for any given situation.

 

Answered by Bob Rauch, president and CEO of RAR Hospitality

 


The Room Key

The Room Key is LODGING’s advice column for hoteliers, managers, and team members at all levels of hospitality. Experts will answer questions on everything from operations and F&B to finance and marketing. Have a question for our experts? Submit it here.