Scenario: Emergency in a Tropical Resort
Early one evening at the Daintree Forest Hotel, a tropical resort, John, Philip and Jill (all members of the receptionist staff) are busy checking in guests and dealing with their everyday reception duties.
John, the senior supervisor, who has been at the hotel since it opened, is replying to some questions asked by Mr Vidler, one of the hotel’s regular guests, While this is happening, Jill is busy preparing tomorrow’s arrivals and departures list for the housekeeping department and, at the same time, working with Philip, the junior member of staff on duty, rechecking the hotel’s room status. The hotel is fully booked for this evening. In fact, it is over-booked by 20 rooms. This was done allowing for possible ‘no-shows’, late cancellations, and 1800 hour release bookings. Other hotels in the area are also fully booked for this evening because of a catering exhibition being held in the nearby convention centre. The exhibition has been very busy today – the last day of the exhibition.
Janet Kong, the front office manager, comes into the front office to check if everything is in order. She then states that she is ‘popping out’ for a few minutes, to buy her nephew’s birthday present. As she goes out of the hotel, the telephone on the front desk rings. It is Mrs Rossi, the executive housekeeper, asking why six rooms have not been vacated. John checks the room status board, and confirms that the room should be empty. He checks which guests are occupying the rooms and finds them to be exhibitors at the catering exhibitions. He asks Mrs Rossi if their luggage has been packed, and is told that their belongings are all over the rooms. It is agreed that nothing can be done at this stage until the guests have returned to the hotel.
The hotel reception desk is directly opposite the hotel front door. As the doors are opening and closing it is becoming apparent to the receptionists that the wind outside is blowing more strongly. The sounds of the flag outside the hotel cracking against the pole, and of the canopies hitting against the building, can be heard at the reception desk. An emergency bell seems to be ringing in the distance.
At that moment, George, one of the hotel’s porters, saunters across to the reception desk.
‘I just heard that the cyclone warning has been upgraded,’ says George. ‘It was supposed to miss us completely, but now the weather bureau is warning of a change in its course.’
‘Oh yeah, just like they said last week, responds John. ‘They told us that we were going to be hit by a cyclone last week, and all we had was a big thunderstorm.’
‘That doesn’t mean that they won’t get it right this time,’ observes Jill. ‘Perhaps we should activate the cyclone warning plan.’
‘Never mind,’ responds John. ‘It’s that time if the year. The weather bureau always overreacts.’
Jill looks doubtfully at Philip, but says nothing.
While the receptionists and the porter have been discussing the weather, Mr Wilson, an American tourist who is staying in the hotel, has arrived at the front desk.
Executing Emergency Alert for Impending Cyclone
‘I just heard on my portable radio that very bad weather is coming. Is that serious?’ he enquires.
‘No,’ replies John. ‘It’s only a thunderstorm. It’ll be over shortly.
‘Is it wise to heave the hotel?’ Mr Wilson asks anxiously. ‘No problem,’ says John. ‘Just be careful of the rain.’
At that moment, all lights in the foyer and the reception area go out. ‘Where’s the torch, John?’ asks Jill nervously.
‘Bottom right hand cupboard, near the computer terminal,’ replies John.
Jill reaches into the cupboard, to find the torch. On finding it, she attempts to switch the torch on, but finds that it will not work.
‘John the torch is not working,’ cries Jill. ‘Try the other one,’ responds John. ‘Oh no, I lent that one to the engineering department last month.’
Fortunately, as if on cue, the lights come back on. In the meantime, Mr Wilson has disappeared from the reception counter, but is replaced with Mrs Cox. She had been due to check out later that evening, to catch a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.
‘Are flights still scheduled to depart this evening?’ enquires Mrs Cox. Er…. Probably. Replies Jill.
Can you check for me please?’ asks Mrs Cox
‘Er…yes,’ an uncertain Jill responds, wondering if she should use the telephone
‘Should we use the telephone?’ she asks John.
‘Of course, it’s only a rain storm, ‘says John dismissively.
While Jill is telephoning the airport, Philip is asking if it is OK for him to go off duty. His shift had finished fifteen minutes previously.
‘You go off duty Philip.’ Says John, looking at his watch. ‘Nigel should be in shortly. In fact, he is twenty minutes late.’
Meanwhile, many people are entering the hotel, with soaking hats and coats leaving pools of water along the foyer’s marble floor. At the same time, the sound of crashing pot plants can be heard as the hotel’s front doors are swinging backwards and forwards.’
Someone’s stuck in the lift!’ shouts an unidentified voice.
‘Call engineering immediately, Jill,’ says John.
Jill calls the engineering department for assistance. This is followed by the sound of Jill crying in the corner. No one at the hotel had known that she is very nervous during thunderstorms. Unfortunately, many years previously, her father and brother had been driving in the northern part of Australia during a very bad storm when a falling tree had hit their car. Both had been killed instantly. On seeing Jill in a tearful state, John tells her to go into the back office for a while.
‘Can I stay an extra day?’ enquires Mrs Cox. ‘It has just been confirmed that my flight is cancelled for this evening.’
‘Sorry Mrs Cox. We are, in fact, fully booked for this evening,’ replies John.
At that moment, Nigel, the latecomer, walks up to the front desk.
‘Full cyclone alert!’ announces Nigel dramatically. ‘Just heard it on the radio. Been talking about it all day, and now they’re really getting serious. Looks like this is the real thing this time!’
You are the Facilities Manager, and you are at the front office lobby for some reason and you are pulled into this situation.
- What steps need to be taken immediately?
- After the restoration of relative normality, what would you do next?
- To ensure that these problems would not occur again, what policies, if any, would you investigate and implement?
Scenario: Emergency in a Tropical Resort
1. Since the weather forecast of cyclone is true emergency alert has to be executed. The emergency ring should be blown to reach the information of impending storm and cyclone to every guests as well staffs in the hotel. All windows and doors should be locked and latched. Necessary arrangements should be made if in case power goes off. All the electrical machines needed to be unplugged. Some technicians or engineers are needed to be called up urgently or take help from neighbourhood hotels in order to take out the person stuck in lift (Wang & Ritchie, 2013). All the guests who has gone for the exhibition both as participant and audience or has gone elsewhere should be called individually and asked to be back to the hotel immediately in order to ensure their safety. The guests who were about to leave but their flights have been cancelled should be made some arrangement to stay back for the night with proper care, empathy and good quality of service (Singal, 2014). To make the people feel cosy and safe more heaters or fire should be arranged mainly for those who comes back to hotel rain soaked. The water on the floor needs to be mopped so that no one falls or trips and get injured.
2. From the case study it can be understood very clearly that both the services provided by the supervisors, reception staffs and management of the hotel are very poor and not up to the mark specially when emergency situation like weather calamity hits. The service is not only poor but also very casual, careless and lacks empathy. They are poorly informed or apply their own judgement over the reality. When guests asked about weather condition John misguided them saying it was normal thunderstorm and they can easily move out. He also lacked empathy and denied to cooperate when Mrs. Cox’s flight got cancelled and she wanted to stay. This reflects poor customer service and miscommunication (Hu, 2016).
The unavailability and poor condition of torch reflect the lack of maintenance of necessary aids in time of emergency. Nigel’s coming late and Phillip’s extra hour in work reflects lack of supervision on the labours sign in and sign offs. This reflect that there is no strict rule as well as monitoring on the total working hour maintained or served by each individual staffs within the hotel. This depicts a poor condition of team performance in the emergency management (Hu, 2016). Jill’s feelings of anxiety fear due to thunderstorm were not noticed by anyone reflecting lack of team spirit bonding among the staffs. This reflects a poor organizational behaviour within the hotel where individuals even though work together but not connected at all. There is no consensus, participation by all in decision making. Every junior staffs keep asking John the supervisor to make any move. This not only reflects inefficiency but also too much dependence that leads to a biased environment. John being senior supervisor is faulty at his role. He is careless, not bothered to get information, believe them and act accordingly. He is judgemental and opinionated and very rigid. He ignores the rattling sounds o doors.
Executing Emergency Alert for Impending Cyclone
It is important to ensure that such problems do not occur again and for that making the staffs aware of their mistakes, casualness is very important. So as a facility manager I will conduct a meeting and make everyone aware of their expected behaviour, duties as per the job role (Sisson & Adams, 2013). Stricter monitoring would be exercised on the staffs and also focus would be given on making arrangements to deal with emergency like natural calamities.
3. To avoid such problems again management needs to conduct a meeting where all these issues are addressed and proper solutions are taken. They are needed to be given training on hospitality management so that they conduct good quality of service and handle emergency efficiently. Each department starting from housekeeping, general staffs, supervisors, juniors, reception staffs etc needs to revisit their roles and ensure such situation should never occur in near future (Zhou,Ye, Pearce & Wu, 2014).
Proper supervision of all the facilities is to be done. The management of the hotel needs to come up with some solution for situation of over booking or if any guests want to extend his stay. The hotel authority should not ask the guest to leave or force them. Services like elevator should be checked up monthly if there is any fault that might disrupt the service. Proper arrangement should be done to beat the natural calamities like cyclone, cold storm etc. Rooms should have good heating facilities (Sisson & Adams, 2013). The hotel management needs to ensure that every individual guest gets good quality of food and hygienic atmosphere within hotel. In order to make the staffs grow bonding among them, they should be gathered and give time for relaxation. Management should conduct one on one meeting with every staffs to know them better and enlighten them about their duties better and motivate them to take care of his duties well (AlBattat & Mat Som, 2013).
It is important for the management to install facilities that avoid risk of injuries among the staffs as well as keeps the guests secured and safe. The hotel needs more communication within staffs and between staffs and the guests. The supervisor or senior authority representative should be more responsible and intrinsically motivated for his work. He should take into account others feelings, opinions and conditions over his mere assumptions. Management needs to take up democratic style of leadership where views, opinions of individuals are taken into account and decision is made with a consensus. This would help effectively to grow more team spirit and connection among the workers (Sisson & Adams, 2013). In order to enhance the quality of customer service the customer relationship management should be executed properly.
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Mair, J., Ritchie, B. W., & Walters, G. (2016). Towards a research agenda for post-disaster and post-crisis recovery strategies for tourist destinations: A narrative review. Current Issues in Tourism, 19(1), 1-26.
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Singal, M. (2014). The business case for diversity management in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Hospitality Manageme nt, 40, 10-19.
Sisson, L. G., & Adams, A. R. (2013). Essential hospitality management competencies: The importance of soft skills. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 25(3), 131-145.
Wang, J., & Ritchie, B. W. (2013). Attitudes and perceptions of crisis planning among accommod ation managers: Results from an Australian study. Safety science, 52, 81-91.
Zhou, L., Ye, S., Pearce, P. L., & Wu, M. Y. (2014). Refreshing hotel satisfaction studies by reconfiguring customer review data. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 38, 1-10.
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