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Get your coronavirus planning in place, industry leaders told

Businesses need to ensure they have all their planning and communication in place to try to mitigate any impact of the coronavirus outbreak and also to assist in reacting to any potential issue.

That was one of the key points made at micebook’s emergency meeting for event industry leaders in London last week, where Colin McGregor, managing director at crisis management expert Tranquilico, advised agencies to have policies and plans in place.

He said: “Staff need to know what to do in different scenarios. For example, if someone falls ill with symptoms, if a staff member or delegate is diagnosed with coronavirus, or if there is an outbreak in the hotel or destination where you are staying. You have to think worst case scenario and have a plan in place to action if that happens.”

Here are Tranquilico’s top 10 items to consider:

– Do all have staff have a briefing on what to say to any clients calling in asking for advice – is this consistent – so everyone is saying the same thing.

– Have you drafted up all the potential Q&A’s so you have responses to all the key questions.

– Do you have information on your website and pumped out on social media – dispelling the myths and giving the facts

– Do you have policies in place for event cancellation, amendments, refunds etc. Are you directing your clients to FCO, WHO, Nathnac etc for up to date info

– Have you drafted up advice for your staff travelling on business – what precautions should they take and what action is required if they become caught up in an affected hotel, plane, ship or destination

– What is your policy for staff who are travelling overseas on holiday too – what if they are affected in the same way as above for those travelling on business?

– What are your contingency plans for Head office staff, do you have hand gel, tissues, digital forehead thermometers to check for any fever, what is your policy for staff who may need to self-isolate, work from home, paid or unpaid sickness leave?, what if someone is diagnosed with Covid19 from your office, what action do you take as a business.

– Partial or full closure of your business should be covered in your business continuity plan, what if your IT staff members are affected, what if it’s reservations staff, what if it’s finance, HR, payroll, planning, marketing, PR, operations etc – you need to consider what action you would take in respect of each department that could be affected within your business as they will probably differ ranging on impact and importance.

– If your office had to be closed – do you know who to call to get someone in to deep clean and sanitise your office/building so you can get back operational as quickly as possible?

– Planning for worst case scenarios is always the best practice – and a key element of any crisis management planning. Ultimately, we hope that it never comes to this – but remember the old adage – “to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail”.