Crisis Management: How to Best Prepare for the Unexpected


Bracing for Catastrophe: How to Best Prepare for Unexpected Incidents

Following on from our recent post “Coronavirus - How Travel Business can Limited the Damage" we wanted to share some insight into how to best ensure your travel business is prepared for a catastrophe. With many businesses taking potentially even years to get back up and running after a natural disaster, it’s important to understand how to manage damage limitation and get your business into the right shape to cope with potential catastrophes.

  • Epidemics and outbreaks have become the new norm, with outbreaks such as H1N1 estimated to have had a global economic impact between $45-$55 billion.
  • The economic impact of this year’s Australia's bushfires set to exceed $4.4billion.
  • 2018 was the fourth-costliest year for natural disasters in history, costing $160 billion - of which only half was insured.


How To Best Prepare For The Unexepected

Resilience – Putting a Solid Emergency Operations Plan in Place

If catastrophe strikes, how would your business cope in the hours, days, weeks to follow? Begin to plan by having a general awareness of any potential risks to your business, through collecting data via risk assessments – and calling on experience.

To become resilient many businesses establish a set of action protocols and business continuity plans. This, combined with the right communications technology, infrastructure, human resources, and extra financial provisions will help your business to respond effectively and quickly to events that are high-consequence and low-probability, such as the Novel Coronavirus outbreak. If your people know how to act, and your business has the appropriate insurance coverage, you’ll be much better equipped to brace for - and recover quickly from impact.

Creating a Strong Organisational Culture

Your business can also be better prepared for unforeseen events when supported by leaders who share the same values. For example, when trust is present in the business community, and your group of leaders share values such as teamwork, inclusion and innovation, you can rely on other team members to make important decisions that facilitate a swift recovery. Your business can safely continue operating thanks to a dependable team-driven organisational culture, while looking for financial support, handling legal issues, and supporting any affected employees or customers.

Plan for Business Continuity

The threat of an environmental hazard is ever-present. Along with standard procedures such as evacuation drills, other considerations should form part of your business continuity strategy. For example, identifying alternate sites from which to operate will enable a quick response to disruption of services such as Wi-Fi or social media due to power cuts, or busy communication networks. Equally important is ensuring the relevant employees are well familiar with the correct communication flow, as well as how and when to communicate, in order to reach out to customers in an appropriate and timely manner.

Using Technology to Make a Difference

Another primary consideration that will help your travel business in the event of a crisis or environmental catastrophe is the correct use of information and technology. Backing up organisational data and providing consistent and reliable connectivity can help preserve sensitive business and customer information. While making crisis communications part of your disaster planning, by equipping your business with a communications platform able to communicate quickly and simply with customers, will help protect your brand reputation. To make sure you’re prepared, try answering the following questions:

  • In the event of a catastrophe, how do you communicate with customers?
  • What kind of messaging do you use to keep everyone in the loop?
  • What is your email, SMS, and social communications process?
  • How do you ensure your communications are tailored and personalised to individual customers?

Efforts to prepare for a catastrophe must focus on building trust-based cultures, assessing readiness, putting a solid communications plan in place, and developing emergency action plans. Providing customers with the information they need, when they need it is the key to strengthening your customer relationships and the trust they have in you as a brand. And being able to respond quickly in a crisis by updating customers with impacts to service levels - instantly and personally – will only serve to help improve the customer experience and reduce any added frustration.

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