ICCA presents white paper for crisis management

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

icca crisis management

ICCA announced yet another valuable guideline for the international association community to assist organisers and delegates running more efficient and effective meetings. The new white paper that has been launched in cooperation with Safehotels Alliance is designed for association executives and meetings management companies to plan, prepare, manage, and recover from any crisis situation.

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk: “I’ve frequently stated during presentations that “there is no such place as a safe destination”, but that doesn’t mean that association meeting planners, PCOs, destination marketers, and venue directors can’t work together to help mitigate risks and prepare to deal effectively with unexpected crises.  Planning, foresight, great contingency preparation, understanding how to communicate internally and externally, and, perhaps most critically, teamwork are all covered in this new ICCA document, which we hope will enable international association meetings to safely navigate an ever more complex and challenging global environment.”

The objective of crisis management is to develop structured solutions to crisis and emergency situations by allocating and utilising effective resources to ensure minimal impact to people, reputation and assets in this order of priority. The new white paper does not only provide crisis management direction and guidelines to association executives, but is also aimed at meetings management companies an association is engaged with, e.g. Association Management Companies (AMCs), Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs), Destination Management Companies (DMCs), Hotel and Conference Venues.

There are two complementary forms of crisis management – operational and communications. Operational crisis management focuses on the practical organisation and arrangements to deal with a crisis with a priority on people and assets. Communications crisis management focuses on handling public relations and the media with a priority on reputation.

Operational crisis management
The operational guidelines have been provided by Andy Williams of Safehotels. The guidelines illustrate the main components of a Crisis Management and Emergency Plan, planning and preparation for a crisis, examples of what designates a crisis situation, roles and responsibilities of a Crisis management team, an Appendix with practical guideline templates and links to useful resource and information.

Safehotels Alliance AB is the originator of The Global Hotel Security Standard ©, and provides independently verified security and safety certification for hotels and meeting venues with regards to:

  • Hotel facilities and safety services
  • Process, procedures, training and management
  • Security equipment
  • Fire equipment
  • Fire procedures & training
  • Risk prevention and crisis & recovery management

The Safehotels Alliance’s certificates allow hotels and meeting venues to communicate their level of safety and security, making them an easy choice for safety concerned guests and more comfortable for its guests and participants.

Communications crisis management 
The crisis communications guidelines include “Managing the media” by regular ICCA Congress speaker Tina Altieri of Media Australasia Xchange (MAX), as well as an article by ICCA’s Communication Strategist Mathijs Vleeming, called: “Reactive or proactive? Seven factors for effective crisis communication for international meetings”, including a crisis communication checklist to prepare before an event, which has also been published, a blog about PR and social media in the meetings industry, supporting the ICCA Best PR Award.

The appendices include 2 ICCA case studies on how ICCA has dealt with a specific communication around potential crises involving an outbreak of dengue fever before the 2012 ICCA Congress in Puerto Rico and geopolitical challenges related to ISIS and Ebola at the 2014 ICCA Congress in Antalya, Turkey, as well as an article on “Mastering the Media: When the media spotlight is on you in times of crisis”.
Associations can download the document by registering for the ICCA Association Portal a unique online platform providing a safe environment through which Association Executives could get in touch with peers to exchange valuable advice and information on their meetings. ICCA members can download the publication from the My ICCA section on

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