Today’s business world recognises the power of social media and many businesses understand the necessity to be prepared for an unforeseen crisis, but a new mobile app will take the tourism industry to the next level of ‘readiness’ through a powerful digital tool – the Ready, Set, Go! mobile app.
John Sharpe, owner of Brisbane-based business and QTIC member Riverlife, helped to launch the Ready, Set, Go! mobile app designed to assist Queensland tourism businesses prepare for disasters or weather crises, similar to the 2011 floods which devastated his business.
The Ready, Set, Go! App was created by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), EC3 Global and the National Centre for Studies in Travel and Tourism through funding from the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Industry under its Small Business Advisory Services program Queensland Natural Disaster Assistance round.
Mr Sharpe said the Ready, Set, Go! mobile app is an invaluable tool for tourism businesses looking for an easy and effective way to get prepared for severe weather events and help them manage their business in times of crisis.
“I understand only too well how hard it is being a small business owner and thinking that you’re prepared for the worst case scenario,” Mr Sharpe said.
“The 2011 floods caused $100,000 worth of damage to Riverlife and we were forced to shut down temporarily, which resulted in a significant loss of revenue and staff wages. We thought we were covered by our business interruption policy but our insurance company didn’t pay us anything.
“It’s easy to be a little complacent and think ‘Oh, it won’t happen to us, we’ll be right’. The best way for other tourism operators to avoid finding themselves in such a devastating situation is to be prepared and have a plan ready to know what steps to take towards management and recovery.”
QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said Queensland’s tourism industry has certainly had its fair share of disaster and weather challenges in recent years.
“Tourism operators know only too well that floods, bushfires and cyclones are part and parcel of doing business in Queensland, yet too many are putting themselves at risk of closure due to inadequate preparation for natural disasters and severe weather events,” Mr Gschwind said.
“In 2010-11, flooding and Cyclone Yasi were estimated to have caused a loss of around $400 million to tourism exports. Then on top of that we saw the devastation of flooding earlier this year on the Australia Day long weekend.
“As we approach another summer of unpredictable weather, the best way for any business to cope in an emergency situation is to have a plan before a crisis strikes.
“The Ready, Set, Go! app transforms a person’s smartphone into a disaster management headquarters. Essentially, it’s like having a digital business continuity plan which holds all the essential information to get a business up and running again after an incident or crisis.”
Mr Gschwind said research has shown 80 per cent of businesses without a continuity plan don’t survive two years after a major crisis (Source: APEC, 2008).
“We also know that for every dollar invested in disaster mitigation, three dollars is saved in recovery costs,” he said (Source: Queensland Government, 2001).
“This is a crucially important factor for tourism businesses, just like Riverlife, when considering how severely they would be impacted in the short and long term if they went through a major crisis.”