We tell our clients all the time that they should have a crisis communications plan in place and review and update it a couple times each year. Here’s another example of why.
During a recent trip to Santiago, Chile, for semi-annual Public Relations Global Network meetings, we saw and experienced something we had never been involved with before.
As we checked into the Singular Hotel in downtown Santiago on a quiet Sunday morning, workers began putting plywood up over the hotel’s windows. The buzz of the electric screwdriver began simultaneously with me standing at the check-in desk. The workers were preparing for a second night of protests and rioting on the street in front of the hotel.
Thirty minutes after we checked in, the hotel’s general manager grabbed me off in the lobby and told us they were relocating all of their guests to another hotel, one not in the protest area. They had arranged for transportation to the new hotel and a seamless check-in to avoid any issues related to the curfew imposed as part of a state of emergency declared across the country. The general manager even called me later to make sure we were okay and insisted that I call her back should we have any problems or need anything.
Later I learned that the night before we arrived, the hotel earned its first gold star of the weekend. Three of our PRGN colleagues were just finishing their dinner at the hotel restaurant when the protesting and rioting began – resulting in an early Saturday night curfew for the city. Two of the three were registered guests at the sold-out hotel. The other was staying at another nearby hotel. The Singular Hotel’s GM would not let the non-registered visitor leave the hotel. She provided a roll-away bed for free, telling the non-guest that he could stay in his colleagues’ room for free, which under the circumstances was a great option.
I doubt the hotel staff, in particular the general manager, pulled these customer service and communications home runs directly out of the property’s crisis communications plan – but I would bet it wasn’t the first time the hotel team had gone over its emergency action and communications plan.
While the country was under extreme duress, The Singular Hotel rose above the fray for its guests and guests’ guests.