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Guy Parsons on protecting business against risk

Updated Thursday 17th March 2011

"I don't know if any business planning would have been robust enough to cope with the Japanese crises"

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Guy Parsons

Well some of it I guess is based on experience about things that have gone wrong in the past, and I have to say everybody will, every business, I would expect them to say we've done our best, we think we've got great contingency plans in place, and we’re the same as that.  But if you're ever faced with the sort of difficulties that Japan has had recently, with sort of three events taking place, you know, one after another, I don’t know whether anybody’s business planning would absolutely be robust enough for that.

We have an executive director in the business that is responsible for contingency planning, it’s something that the Board looks at once a year, and each department head is then responsible for contingency planning in their own area, whether that’s supply chain or health and safety matters, whatever, and all of those plans are reviewed once a year.  And if we make a significant change in the business, so if an IT system is changed for example, we’ll check to see that everything that then, that has a relationship with that piece of technology is, you know, all of those plans are then tested again.

So it’s something that we take very seriously and I hope that the plans that we've got in place are good enough and I hope that we’re never sort of faced with the same sort of difficulties that Japan has had.

Interviewer

What sort of specific really big events or disasters would you plan for?

Guy Parsons

I mean, you know, the thing that, we plan anything from the IT system going down meaning that we can't take reservations, because 90% of our reservations are taken through our website, so we have a plan in place to make sure that if the web does go down, how could we actually end up taking reservations, so that’s at one extreme, through to a fire in a hotel and how we would evacuate the customers, through to somebody, one of our key suppliers actually not being able to deliver something.  So what happens if the laundry company can't deliver laundry or the food company can't deliver, I don’t know, bacon into the hotels for the breakfast.

So, you know, there are plans in place across the business at different levels, and even at a local level for individual hotels, what happens if the staff can't all get there because there’s a public transport strike.  So there are plans in place throughout the business, and they are at differing levels, and some at a national level…

(2’35”)

 

 

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