Premier Inn’s recent reported payment of six figure compensation to the family of a guest who died after being scalded in an Edinburgh shower made me think again of how few hotels and restaurants give any thought to what happens if they suffer a crisis. I’ve been involved with Scottish hotels and restaurants for more than 16 years and can count on the fingers of both hands the number of those who know how to handle the press if they get into the news for the wrong reasons. Some but far from all of the Scottish properties of international brands have a crisis plan in a filing drawer back at head office. Independent hotels and restaurants generally don’t have a clue. Yet as the Newcraighall case showed there’s a daunting list of what could, and often does, happen: sudden death, fire, serious accident, food poisoning, staff scandal, discrimination allegations, damning hygiene report. A reputation can take years to build up yet be destroyed in minutes.
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