Communicating During a Crisis
Why Regular Communication with Stakeholders is Important,
Even if you Don’t Have New Information to Share
We are six months into a new year, a new decade, and a new normal. International and domestic borders are shut down, employees are working from home indefinitely, and the world has more-or-less come to a standstill as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all traverse the many obstacles presented during this crisis, it is important to remember the crucial role that communication plays.
It might seem easiest to tackle one obstacle at a time during a crisis and wait to communicate with stakeholders until you have solutions to the problems at hand. Chances are, though, you likely won’t be able to answers all the questions before another issue presents itself.
Our advice? Communicate anyway. Communicate early, regularly, and often to stay in touch with important stakeholders. Ongoing communication allows you to share facts, data, and decisions; instill and foster confidence and trust in your organization; and at the very least, let them know you’re still in business.
During a crisis, the number one thing your stakeholders want from you is a partner they can trust. They want transparent facts about what is (or is not) happening, to know what they can expect and how it will impact business, and what measures you are taking to weather the storm. There will undoubtedly be an influx of misinformation, as we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Put everyone at ease by collecting information from reliable sources, taking the time to digest it, and then sharing that information clearly and frequently.
When you establish good communication in normal times (with no crisis), your partners trust you and feel taken care of. When you continue with that same level of communication during a crisis, it instills confidence that they are dealing with a professional organization; they feel like they haven’t been, and won’t be, forgotten in the midst of the chaos. Happy travelers, employees, and partners is a win-win-win situation. Happy travelers become loyal customers (who share their experiences with friends and family); satisfied employees feel cared for by their employer and are therefore motivated to continue their good work; and clients feel that they have a true partner that will help them weather any storm.
When a company goes quiet during a crisis, stakeholders assume one of two things: 1. You’re not thinking of them and their concerns or 2. Your business is in trouble. Don’t let anyone assume the worst. Stay top-of-mind by communicating regularly with important people, even if you don’t have anything new or important to pass along. Communication doesn’t always have to have an end goal of delivering new information. Sometimes, the goal of communicating is much simpler—to let them know you’re thinking of them, to share that you are working on a post-crisis plan, and to remind them that you’re available to answer their questions.
Communicating to travelers
Just like partners, travelers, too, need consistent, reliable, and early communication. They need to feel trust in their travel provider and support from any business into which they’ve invested their time and money. Here is what some of our travelers have said after receiving our regular traveler communications: