The recent coup in Thailand has brought a question to many travel companies minds; how do we prepare for crisis management when an emergency effects a country we’ve got customers currently in.

Whether you’re a hotel group, DMO or travel agency, you’ve got a duty to help people who happen to be in countries hit by natural disaster or political instability. But how do you do that? Mobile can help.

Speed of communication is of essence

Mobile is an important tool in crisis management. When you’re trying to help customers left in a unsafe environment where they may feel stressed or even scared the speed of communication is important, that makes mobile communication the superior choice, because they will have their phones on them, whereas they may not access the internet, or check for messages at the front desk.

Direct notifications is most reliable form of communication

The best way in a crisis is to use direct notifications directly to each traveler, this should be delivered via SMS, so you’re not reliant on wifi.

You should set up a SMS gateway system in advance, so you’ve got a system ready to use in case of emergency. These systems are easy to set up, and typically charge by SMS sent, so it will be a limited expense to set it up, think if it as insurance.

Make them feel safe and supported

Here you can give a quick message to let them know that they are not alone, you’re there to help, and link them directly to a page where they can find detailed information about how to get out of the place, the policies and all important phone numbers and addresses.

Link to a fast-loading, preferable offline info page

The emergency & policy info should ideally be put into your dedicated app, as it can then work offline once they’ve opened it the first time. If the situation develops into a real emergency its important that they always have the information at hand.

Alternatively the SMS can link to a mobile optimized webpage, but this means they wont be able to access it without internet, so if they are on the move it will be hard to access.

Either way it is key that you build a page which loads as easily as technically possible, so no images, videos etc. This is important because the phone network is likely to be overburdened at the destination if everyone is trying to find out what to do.

Make sure you have a CMS where you can make fast changes

Whether you choose to out the information in an app or mobile web page is it important that you have instant access to enter and publish the information. So choose an app/m.web set up which has a CMS system so you can add and update content it in fast and easily.

For apps there are CMS systems (like Triptale’s) that allow updates to go directly to the users, by passing Apple and Google, so you don’t have to wait for an app update. As an app update can take up to 2 weeks to be approved, it goes without saying that this is of key importance.

What ever you do, make sure you direct people to the exact page they need in case of an emergency, as they are likely to be stressed and impatient.

Steps to prepare

1 – Systematically collect phone numbers for customers

2 – Set up an SMS gateway

3 – Keep accurate track of the location of customers (by looking at the hotel for example), and the date on which they travel. This means we at any time can pull a list of effected customers and concentrate our communication only on them.

4 – Make sure you have either an app or m.web with a mobile web CMS where you can add and change info quickly

5 – Sit back and feel good knowing that you’re ready for the worst case scenario.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help with your mobile requirements, whether they are for emergencies or good times.

Rasmus Aagaard, Partner