It’s 7.45pm, very dark and quiet at the Tourism Tribes customer service office based in Adelaide, South Australia. I’m here with a pen and paper by torchlight compelled to write a blog post on business continuity planning.
Why? because I suspect over the past 8 hours I’ve learnt something about the reliance we have on technology and how quickly it can impact on your business.
Today the entire State of South Australia lost power, that’s right everyone, except those fortunate to have a generator handy. This blog is about how the Tourism Tribe planned for such an incident and what you can learn from our experience.
I can’t say that the State wasn’t warned, bad weather was heading our way and we needed to prepare. So, I did what most people with common sense did and advised my business partners they needed to be on standby. I then proceeded to complete all my urgent communications, fully charge my mobile, fill the thermos, find a torch, batteries and battery powered radio.
Right, I’m set I thought! If I lost the power and internet I could switch to my mobile phone and run the help desk remotely for about 4 hours. Anything after that and we could switch to Queensland and continue to operate. This I feel is a luxury that most of our members don’t have, the geographical distance between our virtual offices. The day progressed and 3.48pm came and the power went out, that’s OK I thought I’ve got enough power on my mobile to continue.
To cut a long story short, the batteries I had brought for the radio were the wrong ones, the internet radio chewed up my mobile phone battery like you wouldn’t believe , so I ended up in the car in the garage running the help desk, why? because apparently I am resourceful!
Make sure you have a business continuity plan, that’s a plan that outlines what you’ll do in the event like an extended power outage. A simple Google search will provide plenty of resources like this one.
You create this by writing down all the things that you do and a plan on how else you could do them.
For example, if you run an accommodation establishment, what would you do in the following circumstances if you lost power for an extended period?
- You have guests in the lifts?
- You run a restaurant?
- You have guests wanting to check out?
- Can you guests find their way around in safety? Do you provide torches?
- Does your online booking system run on your mobile?
- Do you know who’s checked in, without using your PC?
The power of Social Media
Social media is an efficient and powerful tool to keep your guests informed, it was used very effectively by emergency services and can save your businesses reputation.
But, do you have a plan? who is going to communicate to your guests and on what platform? How do they contact you if there flight is delayed? How would they find your Bed and Breakfast in total darkness?
The answers aren’t that hard, allocate and appoint someone to be responsible for communication, have mobile phones always charged and on different networks, if you’re really concerned you can buy battery chargers for your phones, provide mobile numbers on your guest confirmations and have solar lights in dark areas on your properties.
Remember the safety of your guests is paramount and be inventive, have board games stored somewhere, make platters with what you can and bring everyone together in a safe environment. Most of the feedback on social media is that whilst an extended power outage is annoying and costly for business, it is outside of the control of most people and a break from technology isn’t that bad!!
As for Earth Hour, I think we’ve done our bit this year!!