Have you ever considered how you would react in the face of an extreme crisis situation in your workplace? Well, students of Les Roches Marbella’s BBA in International Hotel Management have. Through a real-world simulation with the guidance of expert professionals in crisis management the students experienced the stress and urgency firsthand associated with what can be considered worst case scenarios for a hotel`s management team.
The scenario is as follows: Starwhite is a fictional chain with 3 hotels located in different regions of the world. Once the classes are configured into groups, the students must assign each other the various positions found in a hotel management team: General Manager, Director of Operations, Director of Human Resources, Social Media Specialist, Guest Relations Coordinator, Public Relations Manager, etc. Each student must make their own decisions, agreed with their team, from whatever position they hold in the hotel.
Through email and other forms of communication, the course lecturers notify the management teams of a series of crisis situations that directly affect the safety of their customers and the reputation of their brand. From there the team leaders are charged with developing a strategy for dealing with the crisis itself, as well as a communication plan to affront the potential blowback from the media. Meanwhile, another group of students take on the roles of journalists who will grill the hotel’s management in an effort to see to what extent the hotel may be negligent or in some way responsible for the escalation of the crisis. They then confront the crisis management team in an open press conference. The press conference is the defining moment and determines, under the intense pressure of skeptical journalists, how well the hotel is situated to deal with the situation and minimize the negative impact.
The students did a great job by making decisions under pressure, prioritizing their actions, directing others within their teams, sharing information and transmitting it to the departments involved, and by trusting their intuition and creativity to reach permanent solutions.
I would like today, through the blog, to include some of their testimonies about the experience they lived and that, in my opinion, greatly influences them as the leaders they will be in the future.
“The seminar taught me quite a few lessons mainly communication, teamwork and working under pressure.” – Schinell Rodrigues
“The seminar showed me that there is not a “one & only “solution to every situation/problems and we shall adapt to each one of them, as well as anticipate and think ahead the possible repercussions of our actions.”- Emilie Lallement
“ I am really proud of the work that we have done as a group and I think the seminar made me grow as a professional but even more as a human.” – Diana Gherasim
“Mixing my theoretical knowledge with my practical skills has helped create a unique combination in order to exercise my ability to work efficiently and rapidly.” – Basem El Kashef
“The activity was so well organized and taken seriously by all the other students, especially in my group, that I almost forgot the activity was related to school.” – Ludovica Muratori
“I managed to put my feelings and emotions aside while facing crisis because I understood that I would just ruin my performance of the tasks.” – Daria Tumarova
“We learnt that instead of giving journalist mixed signals and partial/misleading information, it is better to share all the available information of the crisis with honesty and dignity in order to avoid future reputation issues.” – Gianmarco Niglio
“We all learnt how to filter the best ideas out of the entire brainstorming and how to be sensitive and not make any team member feel excluded.The lessons I learnt were countless in this simulation.” – Publio Da Silva