How to cope with crisis is vital for all businesses and companies -especially in tourism- as can causes changes which result in fall in tourist arrivals,stop travelling this destination or low occupancy rate in hotels. For example: during the SARS,as International Air Transport Association(IATA) mentioned a significant decrease in numbers of international tourist flow from Asia and to Asia, made industry lose about US$ 10 billion. Same thing happened after September 11 attacks,Roger Dow (2011) -who is CEO of the U.S Travel Association- provided:
”If America had simply kept pace with the growth in global long-haul international travel in the decade after 9/11, 78 million more travelers would have visited the United States, adding a total of $606 billion to the U.S economy…”
Image 1. 9/11
Source: The Telegraph (2011)
So why all crises, no matter If it’s natural crisis,technological or something else, have a negative impact on the tourism industry?. The answer is simple: because most of them haven’t got a crisis management plan or even they have one, their don’t know how to manage it. Who is responsible for managing crisis? Managers are undoubtedly responsible but they can’t do everything in a time of crisis as it expect you to make right decisions within a short time. Therefore, you need to coordinate and work with your group -that required to selected before the crisis. There is four stages to follow during the crisis: take responsibility,determine the fact,tell your fact and solve it (Devlin,2007).
Goel (2009) mention about being prepare for crisis:
”The other vital component of crisis management preparation is the creation of an intelligent and forceful strategy for dealing with various crises if they do occur”.
As we can noticed, to have a crisis management plan can help us to handle with crises without suffering from economic impacts. Secondly, creating a crisis management team which means that you won’t waste time after crisis and quickly respond to crisis.
Image 2. Illustration of crisis management team
Source: Eurocontrol (2003)
On the other hand, we also need to think about our businesses reputation during the crisis. In today’s global world, social media plays a major role in spreading information. If we ignore digital media in our crisis management plan, it can make company’s life difficult and cost you a lot. Your customers may start to questioning your company’s respond or your managerial skills but If we aware of social media we can cope with gossips about our business in times of crisis. For example: If social media didn’t care about Deep Water Horizon oil spill-which happened in 2010 by BP-,maybe BP is still denying that. As a result of strong pressures made via social media, BP took full responsibility.
We can’t ignore crisis respond phase, during crisis. Don’t forget to create a digital crisis management plan for your businesses.
Image 3. Gulf Oil Catastrophe
Source: Coastal Care (2013)
U.S Travel Association (2011) U.S Travel Association Discusses Impact of 9/11 on Travel Industry;Releases Principles for Building a More Secure and Efficient U.S Travel System [Online]. Available at: http://www.ustravel.org/news/press-releases/us-travel-discusses-impact-911-travel-industry [Accessed: 07/12/2013].
Devlin, E., S. (2007) Crisis Management Planning and Execution, Auerbach Publications, United States of America.
Goel, M., S. (2009) Crisis Management:Master the Skills to Prevent Disaster, Global India Publications Pvt Ltd., New Delhi.
EuroControl (2003) Crisis Management [Image Online]. Available at: http://www.eurocontrol.int/dossiers/crisis-management [Accessed: 08/12/2013].
Coastal Care (2013) Engineering Experts Hit Safety Culture in BP Spill [Image Online]. Available at: http://coastalcare.org/tag/gulf-oil-spill/page/6/ [Accessed: 08/12/2013].
The Telegraph (2011) Ten Years After 9/11,the conspiracy theorist nutjobs are still telling lies [Image Online]. Available at: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100102988/ten-years-after-911-the-conspiracy-theorist-nutjobs-are-still-telling-lies/ [Accessed: 07/12/2013].