The Perishable Items in Your Disaster Response Kit: The Number One Thing You Should Know About Hotel Rooms In An Emergency Deployment

Take a minute to think of the things that you must consume by a certain date or, one way or another, they’ll go bad.  Expire.  Go away.  A few common examples come to mind.

  • Bananas
  • Milk
  • The batteries in your smoke detector

Now think about your BC/DR plan.  What could possible expire in that?

  • Ride-out supplies, particularly food
  • Fueling contracts
  • Employee contact data
  • Hotel rooms

What?  Hotel rooms?  Surely I mistyped, right?  A hotel room, once built, is there until the building is demolished.  That’s true, but the concept of a hotel room night – any room at any hotel on any given night – is perishable.

Think about it.  A hotel with 300 rooms has an opportunity every single night to sell those 300 rooms.  However, if the night comes and goes and some of those rooms go unsold, then the hotel’s opportunity to sell them passes as well.  The flip side of that is that during peak season or a major event like a disaster that causes a business disruption, those room nights are few and far between.

Kind of a different way to view hotels, isn’t it?  But that, my business continuity friends, is the premise for every interaction you have with hotels.  And if it’s not, it should be.  Every question, every guarantee you ask them to make, every contract you sign.  It’s all based on the concept of hotel room nights being a perishable good.


Add to that the fact that often times other people want to eat your bananas . . . er, get their hands on your hotel rooms, especially in an emergency or fail-over situation.  The term “unknown unknowns” was a buzz phrase a few years back but there’s a reason.  What do you not know about guaranteed hotel room nights that you might need in the event of a business disruption?

Don’t leave it to chance.  Or luck.  Or even to what you think your agreement with a hotel guarantees.  Those hotel room night unknowns?  Make it a point to know about them.  Or hire someone who does.

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