Tourism is an industry that will continue to grow and thrive. People want to see the world and the only way to do so is to literally get out there and see the world. As a tour or activity company, there are risks you may face when providing tourists an unforgettable experience. Having a plan in place is one way to mitigate risks and be prepared if something does occur.
What Is Risk Management?
A risk management plan will help your organisation better navigate a crisis. Before you find yourself in a crisis, you can put procedures and failsafes in place.
When creating a risk management plan, you will need to consider these four stages:
- Mitigation: Outline immediate actions that need to be taken when a crisis hits
- Preparedness: Steps to prepare your business and your team to handle a crisis
- Response: A comprehensive plan that outlines how you will respond to the crisis
- Recovery: Steps you can take to get your business back to normal
The last step can be one of the most difficult since you will need to be realistic about the worst of the worst happening to your business, steps to get back to normal and how to overcome the crisis that impacted your business.
Why Are Risk Management Plans Needed Within the Tourism Industry?
As a tourism company, you will need to consider your historical data and business analytics when creating a risk management plan. Your data can help with the following:
- Prevent repetitive losses
- Improve the premiums your company pays for insurance policies
- Improve the reporting conducted by your business
- Monitor the performance of your business
- Have an understanding of what went wrong in the past so it can be avoided in the future
Creating a Risk Management Plan
Owning a business, no matter the industry, comes with different risks and liabilities. That’s why it’s important for your business to create a risk management plan that is communicated to all employees. Some businesses will have more risks than others, especially companies that offer adventure tours.
The key to handling any crisis or issue is to have a risk management plan in place. This requires you to take several steps.
Identify the Risks
The first risk you will need to plan for is a natural disaster. You may need to have someone glued to the weather to ensure that destinations are safe to travel to.
Political unrest is not something that you may think of when you think of possible risks. However, you should keep in mind that different countries have different governing systems and they may crumble at a moment's notice. Protests and civil unrest can truly break out at any time. You should also prepare for health crises, terrorism, and financial collapse.
When an accident or a crisis occurs, it is essential that liability be properly determined as this will determine who pays for any damages that resulted from the incident. Tour and activity businesses can determine liability by doing the following:
- Inspect sites and have discussions with staff
- Review contracts, products, and services
- Review historical activities and losses
- Identify possible risk scenarios
Train Your Staff
Your team is your most critical asset when it comes to handling a crisis. You will need to train staff to handle a crisis and let them know what information to give customers. Statements must be honest, reliable, and based on facts, while being reassuring. You can also do the following when it comes to training your staff:
- Create certification programs for employees who take part in high-risk activities
- Ensure that risk training is competency-based
- Conduct regular refresher training sessions
- Utilise passive learning techniques
Properly Inform Clients of the Risks
Whether it be a potential weather crisis or a safety risk, it is important to offer information to your clients so they can make an informed decision about whether they’re willing to take the risk They should be aware of policies, guidelines, and procedures that you put in place to keep them safe. If they do not follow these they can place themselves in harm.
Documentation is key for any business, especially one that involves travel or excursions.
There is a plethora of information you will need to provide your clients including waivers, liability forms, and agreements. It is important to have a way to store these in an organised fashion. You may want to have paper copies but it is always a good idea to also have digital copies. This way, if one copy is lost or stolen, you always have the digital one to fall back on.
While this may sound simple, having the right tools and document management plan is important to help you stay organised. Consider the type of documents you will be creating and storing, and how often you’ll have to retrieve them. You will also need to execute that plan effectively so there are no mishaps. You will need to consider the kind of documents you are creating, storing and how often you will need to retrieve them.
Lastly, don’t forget about confidentiality as you do not want anyone’s personal information being stolen and misused.
Protect Your Touring and Activity Business
When it comes to your tour or activity business, you need to protect it at all costs. One way to do so is by creating and implementing a risk management plan. You will be better prepared for crises that are often out of your control and can directly affect your client base.
Always stay ahead of the turning tides so that no one suffers.
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