6 Ways to Manage Your Hotel During a Natural Disaster | By Kacey Bradley

Hurricanes, flooding and severe storms set businesses back and alter their performance. Hotels, like any other establishment, can suffer from natural disasters.

Resorts and hotels in locations prone to natural disasters take steps to protect themselves. While proactive measures and planning can establish a plan for your hotel, in the midst of the disaster, attentive management and action are crucial.

As tourists turn to you and your staff and upcoming reservations approach, you can skillfully handle the situation and look toward recovery options. Here are six ways to manage your hotel during a natural disaster.

1. Assess the Safety of Guests and Employees

Your primary concern should be the security and health of your team and your guests. In a time of crisis, make sure water, food and resources at your hotel’s disposal are available to your workers and guests. In your and your staff’s interactions with guests, take precautions to keep guests as calm as possible. You trained staff should be able to recommend helpful tips for the uncertain circumstances.

As a part of your community, people without places to stay will likely turn to you. Depending on the level of disaster, you can act as a housing solution or offer discounted rooms to victims, relief workers and volunteers. Demonstrate care to emergency guests, and consider flexibility on your pet policy during this time.

2. Change Marketing Tactics

While you’re dealing with a natural disaster, avoid waste in marketing by pausing your SEM campaign. Your PPC budget can become unhelpful when your website gets lumped with updates on the state of the storm. Reduce your emphasis on region-specific keywords until the conditions change.

In the same way, curb your regional email marketing. As you can’t take bookings right now, postpone these tactics for when you can confidently reopen. Replace your regular email campaign with messages crafted for an emergency.

3. Regulate Updates

As guests use hashtags and their feeds to express their experience at your hotel, tune in to social media to review these communications. Maximize your social media platforms to offer updates to guests, concerned parties and the community.

Keep guests and interested parties notified on the progress of the natural disaster with frequent posts. Respond to questions on these platforms, too, if possible.

4. Keep Track of Any Damage

If it’s safe to make your rounds and examine the area, you can begin scouting out your hotel grounds. Assign workers to look out for potential repair needs.

This can inform your recovery plan and help you gauge when you can reopen the hotel or resort. You can keep guests from dangerous areas as the storm winds down and begin to identify actionable steps for the coming weeks.

5. Prepare to File an Insurance Claim

Your policy may cover several parts of your hotel’s lost income during the disaster, from rebooking to evacuation. But you’ll also have impacts on the structure, vehicles and overall property. Prepare to file an insurance claim to get a quick estimate of your recoverable costs.

As hotels end up having high occupancy during disasters due to a lack of shelter, hoteliers rely on insurance experts to evaluate the building for damage. You can contact an insurance agent, contractors and repair professionals to obtain an accurate assessment.

6. Formulate a Cleanup Plan

To cut down on the time your staff and outside workers will take to clean up the property, contemplate the best way to tackle the necessary tasks. Do you need to remove debris first? Or will draining water and drying the area be your first move?

You can meet with a committee or your staff to organize a cleanup strategy. Get the facilities back to a functional state efficiently with swift action.

Focus on Recovery After a Natural Disaster

As your hotel encounters a natural disaster, you have to deal with many considerations. You can never be overly prepared for a crisis, but when it happens, your next step is to look toward recovery. Rebuilding and repairing can set your hotel on track to thrive again.

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