In 2011 we were asked to help Starwood Hotels refresh their crisis communications protocols and processes and train their General Managers across EMEA in crisis and issues management.
We devised a hands-on crisis communications training programme which introduced hundreds of GMs and their teams to social media monitoring, the importance of effective holding statements and how swift and effective action tends to be the fastest way to deliver effective crisis communications.
We worked with Starwood regularly before they were taken over by Marriott, and then went on to work with the Marriott comms teams too.
The support we provided was tailored precisely for the hotels' requirements. It included developing and delivering:
- Tabletop exercises for a range of food and beverage issues
- Keynote speeches at global brand conferences (for W Hotels and the Westin)
- Interactive crisis-response and crisis communications scenarios, including rehearsing for potential terrorist incidents at key properties worldwide
- Crisis escalation guidelines and protocols
- Reviewing and updating holding and incident-response statements
- Updating social media response policies and processes
- Dedicated training for individual properties
- Training and support for the EMEA and comms team
Unsurprisingly we also provided hands-on support during live crises and issues. But due to client confidentiality issues we can't go into detail here.
As well as working with Starwood and then Marriott, we also work with Shangri-La Hotels to deliver crisis training and support as well.
We can say with confidence that GMs and comms teams were far better prepared to deal with incidents, issues and crises following our training than they were previously. But (yes) it's hard to find explicit proof.