Hotels are highly dependent on the reputation they create thanks to the quality of their services. Hotels create a captive clientele through ensuring a good stay, regardless of whether you travel for pleasure or business. Of course, each hotel offers a certain quality of services according to the profile of the traveler that is its target market.

A hotel chain, on the other hand, needs all its hotels to operate under the same quality standards. The hotel chains seek, in this sense, that their guests meet their needs for rest or business needs regardless of the city they travel. Thus, they create a market that is loyal to its hotel chain.   This loyalty is a consequence of the reputation generated by a hotel chain thanks to the quality of its services.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is clear that the risks (either in security, economic, regulatory, environmental, etc.) facing a hotel, for example, in Culiacan, are different from those faced by one in Queretaro. So, to materialize a crisis arising from one of these risks in the hotel of Queretaro for which only the Culiacán was prepared or, worse, for which no other hotel in the chain was prepared, the hotel chain in its Together they will suffer a reputation crisis, losing the trust of their captive clients, investors and even their employees. What can have as a consequence, if the crisis is not adequately addressed, significant economic losses for the company.

While it is true that there are unforeseeable crises, such as an earthquake, the great majority of crises can be mitigated if there are adequate monitoring mechanisms that allow for the best decisions to be made from the highest positions in the companies.

The JW Marriott hotel chain has positioned itself in the world tourism sector as the chain with the safest hotels in the world; that is, they sell security in addition to the comfort of their services. It is important to remember that the chain has hotels in some of the most dangerous regions of the world. So, in order to offer the level of security that has earned its worldwide reputation, JW Marriot has an intelligence unit that operates around the clock, collecting information on the risks faced by each of its hotels in the world. They have a plan for permanent monitoring of each of their properties and a system to define the level of alert for each of them. This is how JW Marriott protects and is congruent with its reputation.

Despite the above, in July 2009, one of the two bombs detonated by Islamic terrorists in Jakarta, Indonesia, exploded at the JW Marriott hotel. Before this attack, Indonesia had begun a process of professionalization of its anti-terrorist unit. This was the result of the attacks carried out in Bali in 2002. In this sense, a safer environment was perceived in the country.

Derived from this increase of the anti-terrorist forces in Indonesia, it was possible to capture leaders of the most important terrorist group in the country. These achievements, in turn, resulted in the US Department of State raising the travel alert to Indonesia. While these events may have triggered a relaxation in the security protocols of the Marriot hotel, it was decided to remain at alert levels. Just at the time of the attack, JW Marriot executives were in this hotel with the aim of reviewing these security protocols.

Immediately after the attack, the security of Marriott hotels in the media began to be questioned. Derived from these questions and in the midst of a crisis of security and reputation, Alan Orlob , vice president and chief security coordinator of the Marriott group, decided to offer interviews to various media, both local and international, to explain the security mechanisms under the which operates the chain and those specific ones that this hotel in Jakarta followed.

Thus, Orlob stated that Marriott’s security team is in constant communication with local authorities and the State Department, that the hotel was operating under “Red Risk Condition” at the time of the attack and that the security team was responding to its protocols. It was just these interviews along with the comprehensive strategy of communication and response to the crisis that prevented Marriot from a reputation crisis that would have repercussions in the loss of confidence of its clients and investors and that would cause economic losses to the company. So, we are dealing with the case of a company that:

He is aware of the risks they face due to their operations in troubled areas and is prepared to act in case of emergencies or crises.

Maintains strategic links with local and international authorities.

It was operating in a state of maximum alert despite the perception of improving the country’s security.

Proactively looking for the media in times of crisis, instead of running away from them. That is, it acts responsibly and has strategies of containment and communication in case of crisis.


At Riesgos Políticos, SC, we can help your company establish risk management and crisis management mechanisms. If you have any questions, please contact us by email   info@riesgospoliticos.com.mx .

Photo by Rhema Kallianpur on Unsplash

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