4 Proactive Disaster Planning Tips for Hotels and Resorts
Okay, let's be real. You're incredibly busy and developing a hotel or resort emergency restoration strategy is probably not near the top of your to-do list. But given the frequency and intensity of weather events and other natural disasters, or even fires, hospitality disaster planning is not only critical to protecting guest and employee lives—it can make the difference in post-disaster business survival. And planning doesn't have to be overly complicated. Especially if you break it down into manageable tasks. Here are some key actions you can take to ensure you keep people safe and can get “heads back in beads” as fast as possible should the unexpected happen.
Develop a Clear Plan
Your location influences what you need to plan for. So be sure to account for any type of natural event that could potentially occur, in addition to day-to-day events like sprinkler breaks or a fire. In any type of disaster, the top priority is protecting the health and livelihood of guests and employees. The Journal of Business and Hotel Management suggests that an emergency preparation plan should include the following:
- Systems of communication for reaching guests, employees and emergency services organizations
- A clear evacuation plan for guests and employees
- A rendezvous point for hotel employees to meet and organize
It is also important to outline steps that will be taken in extreme circumstances, such as times when phone service is unavailable, power is disrupted and/or roads are impassable.
Make Sure Employees Know the Plan
Every employee should be familiar with your emergency plan, so their instincts kick in and they know what to do and where to go when disaster strikes. Depending on the disaster potential in your area, it is good to do regular training sessions to ensure your plan will be well orchestrated if something happens. While security teams often take a leading role in a disaster, it is important that all of your staff know what to look out for and how to direct guests, should it become necessary.
Keep an Eye out with Security Cameras
Security cameras can play a vital role in getting through a hospitality disaster. For example, depending on the event, your security team may be able to use cameras to see what is going on across the property and respond appropriately. In an event such as arson, cameras may not only be invaluable to helping locate and protect guests, but footage could help you apprehend a perpetrator. For this reason, dummy cameras are not recommended.
Perform a Pre-Loss Risk Assessment
Many hotel and resort owners are often caught off guard by the high costs of repairs following a disaster. And it’s even harder to process when you’re trying to move as fast as possible to reopen doors. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a professional restoration company do a pre-loss assessment. An assessment can help you determine replacement and repair estimates so you can buy adequate insurance to further protect the property and their physical assets. An assessment is also a great opportunity to establish a relationship with a restoration company (click here for tips on what to look for in a restoration partner) so you have a direct line for help if and when you need it.
Managing a hotel or resort is always a difficult juggling act. Hopefully these tips will help you understand how to better protect people and assets so you can have peace of mind knowing that you're prepared for virtually any surprise.