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Planning for the Worst: Is Your Association Prepared for a Crisis Situation?

Posted by Shelly Pfenninger on Nov 19, 2014 12:00:00 PM

communicationsWhat would happen if:

  • A cyber-attack hit your association’s database, compromising sensitive member information?
  • A natural disaster hit an area where you have a large number of members?
  • An accident occurred and a number of members were severely injured?
  • Your association’s reputation was being attacked online?

No one likes doom-and-gloom scenarios, but the reality is that at some point every member-based organization will face some form of crisis.

The Vacation Rental Managers Association is no different. Our members work in some of the most beautiful vacation areas in the world. However, with nature’s beauty also comes risk: From wildfires to earthquakes to hurricanes, our members are unfortunately often affected by natural disasters. When a disaster hits, it’s critical that our members have tools at their disposal to communicate with all their various constituencies and protect their area’s reputation—and tourism economy.

To assist our members, we’ve compiled a comprehensive crisis communications plan outlining the steps they need to take if/when the worst happens. We regularly send the plan out to our members at the beginning of the summer tourism season (which corresponds with the start of hurricane season) and again distribute it to targeted areas if/when a natural or man-made crisis situation occurs. The template also serves as VRMA’s crisis communications plan if/when crisis situations affect the association.

Just as each association is different, each crisis situation is different. But the key to successfully managing a crisis lies in advance preparation and a clear chain of command. Download the crisis communications template that can be used for your organization as well as distributed to your members to help them weather any crisis situation that might arise. You’ll gain:

  • Basic steps.
  • Sample templates for dealing with various forms of crisis, including natural disasters, man-made disasters, crime, accidents and others.
  • Steps to take to train your company spokesperson.
  • Guidelines for communications tactics to ensure your message is consistent.
  • Specific social media guidelines during a crisis situation.

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Topics: Communication, Association, Associations, Crisis Management

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