Hospitality in times of Adversity

Monica Or, columnist and Hospitality Consultant at Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy discusses how the hospitality industry steps up in times of need..

Over the last few weeks there has been reports in the news of the devastation that Hurricane Irma has been causing throughout the Caribbean and Florida in the United States. It is at times like this that the hospitality industry really shines through as hotels offer temporary accommodation, food and drink to those that have lost everything in the blink of an eye.

Weather disasters like this are becoming more common and ever more forceful. In fact the United Kingdom has been battered by its own storms as Storm Aileen blew over in recent days.

It is when incidents like this occur, that it that reminds us what it truly means to be hospitable: ‘To be friendly and welcoming to visitors and guests’. We open our doors and care for those that will be coming in to our premises probably for the first time. It will be unfamiliar to them and they will also be tired, anxious, may be disorientated and quite probably in shock.

Some hotels will lower their rates or offer complimentary accommodation for the immediate aftermath of such an incident. Although it also has to be remembered that you may be in a situation when the hotel is full, although you will still need to accommodate people who have been stranded.

Below are some tips on how to prepare to accommodate unexpected guests in situations of adversity:
– Set up manual logs of who you are accommodating – your property management system is only set up for the number of rooms you physically have so if you are accommodating additional people you will need a way of tracking who is on site.
– Ensure you have enough spare blankets and bedding – people may have to bed down in your conference rooms or public areas.
– Bottled or tap water should be readily available, to keep people hydrated.
– Non perishable food items should be available, so there is something for them to snack on.
– Have the TV on the news channel to keep your unexpected arrivals up to date with the situation.
– Ensure all mobile devices are fully charged – you never know when you may have to rely on just them.
– Have flashlights / torches available in case of a power cut.
– Keep your guests informed of any updates you get and have clear communication with them.
– Keep in contact with the emergency services so they know you are providing shelter and can give you the ‘all clear’ and assist with the movement of people.
– All of this information should be outlined in your ‘Disaster Manual’ so your staff know what needs to be done and who to contact.

Whether it be a natural disaster or something more sinister, we need to be prepared for when adversity strikes.

About Monica Or: As the founder of Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy, Monica specialises in working operationally with the owner/managers of independent hotels and restaurants focusing on their business structure and service delivery. She is the Amazon Best Selling author of ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’ and ‘Star Quality Experience – The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys’.
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