Hurricane Sandy and the clean up

What's left of the Jetstar from Casino Pier sits in the ocean in Seaside Heights, New Jersey Tuesday 10-30-12 photo by David Gard
What’s left of the Jetstar from Casino Pier sits in the ocean in Seaside Heights, New Jersey Tuesday 10-30-12 photo by David Gard

It will be interesting to see how the hospitality and tourism industry rebounds from Hurricane Sandy. The infrastructure of this country was already taxed and decaying from lack of refurbishment. Atlantic City already suffering from last year’s Hurricane Irene and diminishing casino revenues due to legalization of gambling in surrounding states, has yet, probably to total the complete damage. There may be minimal damage to the hotels, casinos themselves but the supporting infrastructure is sure to be challenging. Are we going to see an influx of legislation now for more Internet-based gambling opportunities? How will social media help in drawing back crowds to that famous area of New Jersey? How will the hospitality organizations work together to rebuild and flourish in these uncertain times?

In the back of everyone’s mind in hospitality has to be the thought that there is a remote chance of something dreadful happening. Any hotel, hospitality venture with its grain of foresight would have such a plan of action in place to address this possibility. With climate change has this probability evolved into a likely possibility? Does it have to be a catastrophic storm or just a guest becoming ill for a company to recognize that it needs action plans in place to address and overcome these challenges? How can you not?

My grandfather, my father always said, have a plan of attack. You cannot sit on your laurels, thinking nothing bad is ever going to happen. It does, whether you are prepared or not, someday, someone, something, is going to take a bite out of your flesh. Those that sit and wait will be, as my grandfather eloquently said, “Sh*t out of luck.” But how do you prepare for such a national emergency? How do you prepare your employees, your middle managers and so forth to deal with such events? How do you safeguard your assets?

Planning just isn’t for the future, it is for today and tomorrow. I tell my students in my two-week lecture on crisis management (believe me I could use a whole year on this or more), you learn from the past, you visualize scenarios and you plan. You put it down on paper and you train. Sure, people will panic, people will react differently when placed in real life events, but the more training you have the better you will be to handle the situation. Your instincts will kick in and take over. You will not second guess yourself and act. We don’t have time to train? It costs too much. Yet, the impact to your bottom line could be far greater if you do not incorporate crisis management into your budget, have as a line item on your income statement. Wouldn’t insurance agency be happy and consider this planning a bonus and give you points for planning? Perhaps they do already? Do you know? The old cliché–plan for a rainy day jumps out at you.

No one is good at anything without practice, even if that just means sitting down and closing your eyes and visualizing what would happen. Test yourself, test your own ability, challenge yourself. To this day my favorite quote that came into my mind and I know probably has been said by many others:

Challenge life, do not let life challenge you.

I know that is all well and good and believe I’m not perfect. I should be better prepared for any challenge in my life. All of us want to go about our lives as if nothing bad would happen. But the fact is, reality is rose with a host of thorns. I do not always plan and I should. I procrastinate and wait until the last possible moment to do things. I know I shouldn’t. I am human and flawed. You have to realize that and get over it. You have to develop thick skin and push on. And yes, you have to remember the humor of life.

God grant me patience but hurry

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