To better understand the current capacities and needs of the hotel industry in disaster resilience, this study aims to analyze the business context and its needs for specific disaster risk management standards, and make recommendations on how those standards could be most effective in reducing disaster risks.
This study conducted 17 semi-structured interviews with representatives from hotels, government, insurance companies and hotel associations. Interviewees all had tourism links and expertise relating to destinations including Bohol and Cebu in the Philippines; Lombok in Indonesia; Phuket in Thailand; and the Maldives.
Overall, the research aligns with the literature available on the subject. It confirmed that there is a need for standardized disaster risk management procedures and processes, especially in independent hotels, to promote best practices and emphasize more on disaster risk reduction rather than disaster response.
The interviews also found that there is a range of drivers to support the Hotel Resilient Initiative. Interviewees agreed that conference and corporate retreat organizers, tour operators and travel agents from Europe are requesting risk management information and audit hotel risk management. This suggests that if Hotel Resilient can work towards developing recognized standards that meet the needs of these purchasers, it could create a competitive advantage. Furthermore, it was mentioned that some insurers reduce premiums for hotels that demonstrate good risk management practices, but this may be limited to larger hotel chains with a number of properties and greater negotiation power.
This study also found examples of government agencies actively supporting improved risk management practices among hotels through the development of minimum and regulated standards. Interviewees across all categories noted the important role played by these government agencies and suggested they should be included in the local implementation of the Initiative. The literature and interviewees agree that the Hotel Resilient Initiative should consider complementing standards with activities that address common risks to the tourism industry. For example, developing early warning systems in touristic areas and strengthening key infrastructure. It was also suggested that training and awareness-raising activities would be important to operationalize the Initiative. Additionally, its framework should be flexible enough to adapt to the regional needs of each destination, such as local legislation and hotel-specific constraints.
The involvement of industry "leaders" was also suggested to be an important part of the Initiative - both for early adoption and stronger support in the region. Already, a number of industry leaders have indicated their interest to contribute to the development of such standards and work with other hotels in their destination to build capacity and promote adoption of the standards.