Article by Giovanni Angelini
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions and communication is more important now than ever before. This is the time when organizations can make the biggest difference for their customers, their employees, and ultimately their own future success. It is paramount for any hospitality-related brands to continue communicating on a regular basis in particular on maintaining awareness, establishing trust, and loyalty.
This is not the time for leaders-heads of organizations to be silent and passive, you have to be visible. It is a time when your customers and your colleagues want to hear from you and you must have a cohesive crisis communications plan. A time when communications are more important than ever because aside from ensuring the safety of your employees and customers, how you handle this crisis can be a decisive factor in whether your company will succeed or not.
Most hotels/hospitality related companies are facing serious financial pressure “are on lifeline now” and cannot afford to lose any business opportunities as soon as situation improves. Therefore the importance of keeping all potential customers interested to the brand.
It's vital to connect and communicate with all your guests and customers. During these trying times, travelers are being especially cautious about each and every decision they are making in their personal life and in their business. Establishing trust with those travelers needs consistent communication and messaging.
At its core, crisis communication must be built on the key pillars of transparency, honesty, flexibility, accountability, and consistency. Consistency is key to mitigating confusion and protecting your brand reputation. Remember that people have different anxiety levels and risk tolerances but all need reassurance that the brand is making the necessary improvements and it cares.
As for internal communication, be sure that your constant messages unite your people, rather than dividing them, and reinforce teamwork, alignment, company culture and foster a sense of community. In a challenging period like this one, people thrive when they have a clear direction and they are in general very supportive of reducing expenses, working adjustments, etc. Ensure that you focus on facts rather than emotions or fake news-misinformation.
The physical health and the mental well-being of all employees have to be at the top of the list of any successful leader. With so many dependencies-transmission rates, regulations, border closures, and others, it's impossible to make meaningful predictions now, therefore it is a must to remain focused and positive and provide practical information and guidance on dealing with the situation. And on a more personal and caring message, frequent reminders to all on what it takes to boost their immune system is always appreciated.
No one was prepared for the present global pandemic and this is why successful organizations always have an efficient and up-dated crisis handling process in place that can be adapted to any emerging situation.