Experts say that COVID-19 could be the biggest shock to tourism since 9/11. The coronavirus outbreak has not only impacted travel in affected regions; it's caused the cancellation of the world's biggest exhibitions, including our own ITB Berlin.
More widely, we're seeing travel restrictions to certain regions and a huge downturn in tourism, especially in Europe and Asia. The biggest downtown by far is happening in China, where the ministry of transport announced that Chinese tourists had taken 73% fewer trips over the lunar new year holiday in 2020 compared with 2019.
Crisis communication tips for hotels
Panic and misinformation can quickly spread in a crisis. If your hotel is placed under quarantine due to the coronavirus, clear and consistent communication will be vital — both internally and externally. Here are a few crisis communication tips to bear in mind:
First, ensure you have a solid internal communication plan in place. Your staff should be up-to-date on the latest news, your own crisis plan procedures, and ready to deal with "what if…" scenarios. Your customer-facing staff also need to be ready to answer questions from guests. It's also essential that the answers your staff give are consistent. Finally, make sure your internal communication plan is easily accessible via your own systems.
Guest communication during crisis periods
When crafting a communication plan for guests, be sure to cover not just current and upcoming guests, but also recently checked-out guests, particularly if it involves a public health situation like the coronavirus outbreak.
In your communication plan, remember to cover all possible channels of communication, including email, text, phone, and social media channels. In addition, update the homepage of your website with the most relevant news and information using a temporary page banner or a news section of the site, but do not replace your existing content with a temporary page or message.
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