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Responding to risks and emergencies for your tourism business
Your tourism businesses could be directly or indirectly impacted by an emergency event or crisis, which would affect how you respond.
- Direct impact: The safety or health of your staff, visitors, yourself or property will possibly or definitely be at risk.
- Indirect impact: Your business is open for trade but the crisis is likely to close access routes, or impact on how potential visitors perceive the safety or desirability of visiting your business or destination.
Responding to a crisis: first 24 hours
In the first 24 hours after an emergency event, you should action the following tasks.
- Activate your emergency response plan
- Follow any advice from emergency services for evacuations, access routes, etc.
- Stay informed: stay tuned to ABC local radio, regularly check the websites or social media channels of emergency services (should be included in your key contact list)
- Continuously assess the situation:
- what happened or what is expected to happen?
- find out what facilities in your area are open and closed
- decide if your business should close or remain open
- Record the situation and your actions in an 'event log' (this could help with insurance or other claims)
- Communicate with your staff:
- activate your crisis communication plan
- provide regular updates to staff
- prepare a template of key messages that you want staff to pass on to customers
- be mindful of changes in energy levels that your team will experience during a stressful period.
- Communicate with your customers and suppliers:
- keep customers who are directly in your care up-to-date with events
- contact customers who are expected to visit your business during the next few days to let them know if they can visit (keep in mind that access might be limited)
- update your website and social media channels with a brief statement about the status of the situation
- contact your suppliers to update them on the situation.
- Be prepared to deal with the media. Defer enquiries to the tourism crisis management group or consult with them about key messages.
Responding to a crisis: short to medium term actions (days 2–14)
- Manage your bookings
- Deal with cancellations—your cancellation policy should explain what happens if either you or a customer cancels a booking
- Stay informed and stay in touch with your Regional Tourism Organisation
- Update customers, staff and tourism partners on your progress and activities
- Revise marketing activities
- Respond to the media through the tourism crisis management group
- Prepare a cash flow budget