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Crisis Management in the Travel Industry

The travel industry can be unpredictable. You never know when a natural disaster, political issue, financial strain, or other emergency may happen. That’s why it’s important to have effective crisis management in the travel industry. A travel industry attorney can guide you through the process of developing a crisis management plan as well as recovering after an emergency situation. With experience in an array of tourism areas, The Ment Law Group, PC can help you achieve your goals. Call 866-MENT-LAW or contact us online today.

Developing a Crisis Management Plan

If you operate a business in the travel industry, you need a crisis management plan. Travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, hotels, and other travel businesses and employees should establish procedures to take in the event of an emergency. How you handle a crisis situation can determine the safety of your customers and employees as well as the longevity of your business.

A carefully crafted travel crisis management plan should:

  • Establish action guidelines
  • Define a crisis situation
  • Establish monitoring systems for potential crises
  • Consider the political, social, and economic environments of host locations
  • Name specific decision makers
  • Detail action plans for as many potential crises as possible
  • Prioritize action items during a crisis
  • Designate an allotted timeframe for completion of tasks
  • Designate a clear “owner” for each task
  • Identify all stakeholders in planning and action stages
  • Establish training for a crisis management team
  • Create a communication strategy during crises situations
  • Provide a detailed resource repository
  • Provide opportunities for improvement in systems and procedures

All companies within the travel industry are unique. Thus, it is important to tailor your tourism crisis management plan to your business’s specific needs. A skilled legal advisor can evaluate your services and make sure your plan addresses all the situations your employees and customers may encounter.

Activation Guidelines in Your Crisis Management Plan

Not all incidents faced by travel companies escalate to crisis level. You need to have established criteria for when a situation needs addressed according to your crisis management plan. A preparedness program should monitor potential crisis situations by considering the social, political, economic, and physical conditions of origin and host locations. A crisis plan should only be activated when issues escalate to an extreme level.

By having an effective travel risk management policy, all employees should understand when your crisis management plan should be activated. Training should include defining a crisis, crisis levels, escalation protocols, and specific impacts you want your team to consider when determining the level of an incident.

Activation Guidelines in Your Crisis Management Plan

You should have detailed action plans for a general crisis situation as well as specific crisis scenarios in which your organization is likely to be involved. These action plans will serve as a check list for your crisis management team. This will ensure no important task gets forgotten or overlooked during a crisis.

When developing action plans, you should:

  • Identify tasks for each department to accomplish within the first 24-48 hours of a crisis
  • Prioritize action items in the order you want them to be checked off
  • Designate an allotted timeframe for completion of action items
  • Name an individual or department responsible for each task

Establish a Crisis Communication Strategy

Communication is essential during a crisis. This includes communication within the organization and to external vendors, the media, customers, other businesses, and government organizations. Your travel risk management plan should support timely, consistent, and effective communications with all stakeholders internally and externally.

You should include a pre-approved media plan with potential talking points, first response statements, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and other necessary statements to outside sources. You have worked hard to develop a solid reputation in your community. Do not let failed communication during a crisis ruin your standing. Make a media plan and distribute it to important stakeholders within your organization.

Communication with important parties both within and outside your organization is important. Your crisis plan should include a thorough contact list of company executives, stakeholders, and decision makers. Your communication list should also provide contact information to emergency resources, government agencies, consultants, experts, and nonprofit organizations that can provide assistance during a crisis.

Create a Detailed Resource Repository

During a crisis situation, it will be difficult to create materials to convey important messages to people internally and externally. A detailed resource repository is an essential part of any travel crisis management plan. You should include information that may be needed by any member of your team in the heat of the moment.

A crisis resource repository should include:

  • Timelines
  • Flowcharts
  • Checklists
  • Copies of stakeholder agreements
  • Network access credentials
  • Descriptions of important procedures
  • Pre-written statements

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Jeffrey L. Ment

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