As we left port, the sun had just started to set with the most gorgeous orange glow reflecting over the millpond-like North Sea, this was indeed rare as the North Sea is generally known for its rough seas. Shortly, after departure, both myself and the hotel manager were called to the bridge to be advised by Captain Tom that this was the calm before the storm and that he was indeed expecting rough weather.
Now within any industry, you have many ‘plans & processes’ in place for incidents, however, within the cruise industry you have far more in-depth processes, as in essence you are a small floating city, and as such you have to be prepared for any eventuality. A small floating city will be in the media spotlight far more than other businesses.
With the current panic-demic (I know it is a pandemic, however panic has taken over, as we are not prepared) so as to assist individuals during this time, I have put together guides with regards to crisis planning. What we are seeing at present is that the majority of businesses are being reactive to a situation that no one thought would take place. Think back to SARS & H1N1, very similar, as at the time it crippled businesses globally, however many did not learn or put into place processes to protect business. The idea with a Crisis Management Plan, is to have a set of processes / protocols in place. Typically, management will say ‘why bother, it will never happen’. Never say ‘never’, it has and potentially could happen again, although in a different way!
Within the guide, currently we are within the mitigation stage, in essence what are you doing to mitigate COVID-19 within your business, what are you doing to tell your customers that you take both yours and their own safety and wellbeing seriously. Even now you must be thinking about what will happen once we come out through the other side. Yet what is in place to be operationally ready? For example, cruise ships, are in a ‘warm-layup’ meaning that within a matter of days they can be back in full operation. How long would it take you to have your team operational, your doors open once more, customers using your facilities? If you are not thinking of this now, then you may miss that opportunity when it happens.
As and when we return back to normality, whatever that may be, you need to take a step back and look at ‘lessons learned’, be critical of what happened, how you reacted, what measures did you have in place to safe-guard the business, and while moving forward, ensure you have a plan in place, ensure that your staff are fully trained and know what to do. It is not just a ‘lets put something together and let it sit on the shelf’ thing, it should and must be reviewed on a regular basis.
The team at Shorthouse Hospitality has experience in both the development, building, implementation, and audit of such emergency / crisis / quality management systems and are here to support and guide during this challenging time.
If you would like a copy of the guide then please email: info:@shorthousehospitality.com