The world has witnessed an increase in crisis of all kinds, ranging from slow and expected, to those that strike without warning (Coombs, 2014). A crisis affects people’s everyday lives and causes destruction of property and environment. Crisis can be categorised into two distinct types: cobra and python (Miller, 1999). While cobra is the crisis that strikes unexpectedly or suddenly, python develops slowly and can be predicted (Miller, 1999). Hurricane Katrina is an example of a cobra crisis because it was categorised by storm surges that submerged part of the city. This essay discusses the impact of Hurricane Katrina on The Beau Rivage Hotel, its consequences, and what we can learn from the Beau Rivage Hotel’s experience during and after this event.
The Hurricane Katrina
The Hurricane Katrina happened on August 29, 2005 becoming the worst national disaster in the US. In addition to being a deadly and destructive cyclone, it was the most costly natural disaster in the history of the United States of America. In particular, the Hurricane Katrina impacted negatively on the Beau Rivage Hotel. Beau Rivage Hotel is among the most preferred hotel by tourists in Mississippi. The hotel is located in Mississippi, which is one of the most interesting cities in the United States. There are different accommodation options that are available in Mississippi, ranging from cottages to five-star restaurants. Each region of Mississippi has unique sceneries, and this thus determines the kind of accommodation. Moreover, the Beau Rivage Hotel serves visitors with a wide variety of meals ranging from set menus to quick foods. For those who love nature, camping and private caravan options are provided under the watchful eye of security officers. There are numerous self-contained rooms that provide visitors with personalized services. Thus, tourists from all parts of the world prefer to stay there during their visit to Mississippi.
Following the Hurricane Katrina, a task force was formed to assess the damage and also to establish whether there was negligence on the part of the company or municipal council. It was established that hotels were required to be situated near water catchment areas. According to analysts, the risk could have been minimized if hotels in Mississippi were located on dry land.
The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Beau River Resort
When Katrina hit, in 2005, the Beau Rivage Hotel was seriously destroyed. There were, however, impressive responses from the state and federal disaster response teams, the Louisiana State University and its office of public affairs. The Beau River Resort floors were washed out, and, therefore, many renovations needed to be done. In addition, many tourists throughout the world cancelled their trips to Mississippi. The hotel incurred huge losses, as a result.
What We Can Learn
The Beau Rivage Hotel’s experience during and after Hurricane Katrina should motivate and prepare organizations to have a plan for unpredictable catastrophes. Such an unlikely disaster may happen in the future, and, therefore, there is a need to commit resources and efforts to defend against them.
The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) approach to catastrophe provides directions on how business organizations should react to disastrous risks. During the past years, risk management professionals focused on insurance risks, instead of operational risks. Thus, the risk management professionals never felt they had a duty to assist a business firm to manage risks. Thus, risks could not be proactively managed. Today, a major shift has occurred, and risk management professionals are using a more proactive approach (ERM) to manage risks (Grossi, & Kunreuther, 2006). This approach calls for a business firm to evaluate risks in all areas, that is, from meeting room to the mailroom, from power outages to brand equity to tornado to information security management. The effects of Hurricane Katrina on Beau Rivage Hotel could have been minimized if the hotel was not located near a beach. The building planners could have used this holistic and systematic approach to identify relatively unpredictable risks, including the Hurricane Katrina.
In every undertaking, there are many uncertainties that hinder the attainment of the set objectives (Hillson, 2009). Disasters like the Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 are relatively unpredictable but, unfortunately, when they happen they result in high losses. As history demonstrates, the Beau Rivage Hotel is vulnerable to another catastrophic event. Thus, the organization should embrace the ERM approach in preventing or mitigating risks. Adopting an ERM approach does not mean that the Beau Rivage Hotel will never suffer another Hurricane Katrina disaster. However, the prospect of another tragedy is rare to occur once risk-related decisions have been made. Thus, the Beau Rivage Hotel should be the master, as opposed to being a victim of a catastrophe. Therefore, steps should be taken to detect warning signs of a crisis, plan for it, organize a team, and prevent it from happening. In addition, it is crucial to design and test management plans.
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