EarthCheck, a Brisbane-based and internationally recognised environmental management and certification program with more than 1300 members in over 80 countries, today launched a Risk App designed to help the hospitality industry swiftly rebound from crisis situations and climatic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
Based on three years and more than AUD$300,000 of research investment, the Risk App was unveiled before EarthCheck’s “Inner Circle,” a powerful alumni of senior CSR experts representing the world’s leading hotel brands.
CEO of EarthCheck Mr Stewart Moore said the technology was developed to help the industry address the expected escalation of extreme weather events and comes after research shows that 80 percent of businesses without a continuity plan won’t survive two years after a major crisis.
“The world is at a tipping point and the type and impact of climatic events of the last few years like the super storms in the USA and the tsunamis in Asia are likely to increase,” Mr Moore warned.
“It’s not so much about if, or when, a disaster will strike. Today it’s about continuity plans and how fast a business can bounce back. And that means adopting new technologies and operational procedures to help build resilience.”
“The ERI Risk App is an evolution of technology that puts the paper-based crisis management practices we’ve been preparing for years into a smart phone and into the hands of operators; no matter where they are.
“Effectively it’s a ‘Disaster HQ’ in your hip pocket,” said Mr Moore.
The ERI Risk App provides users with timely prompters for handling disaster mitigation based on the preparatory action plans loaded during normal operating times. It reminds users to capture time-stamped imagery, provide status updates, track unfolding incidents, communicate with stakeholders and map out recovery.
EarthCheck’s Vice President Sales, Andre Russ first seeded the idea of applying the company’s research and benchmarked intelligence to a Risk App after experiencing first-hand the chaos that followed the 2013 earthquake in Cebu.
Forced to flee his hotel, Mr Russ and his clients watched helplessly without access to the action plans and contact lists they had carefully crafted.
“We couldn’t go back into the hotel where our paper-based reports and references for handling risks were filed,” said Mr Russ.
“That’s when I realised the need to adapt all the years of research EarthCheck has done for the hospitality industry into a smart phone App that allows operators to take vital information wherever they go.”
Professor David Simmons, a New Zealand-based scholar on sustainable tourism and a contributor to groups engaged with the redesign of Christchurch following the 2010 earthquake, believes the app will assist tourism businesses to prepare prior, during, and straight after a crisis.
“Our experience in Christchurch reminds us that visitors can be overlooked in disaster planning. As non-locals, they may not know the escape routes, may not be connected with local media, and they may not speak the same language as local residents. For these visitors the tourism industry is often their first safety life line.”
“Having a crisis plan at your fingertips – set to go at the push of a button – means a cross section of stakeholders can get their information faster in order to make the best possible educated choices and actions,” said Professor Simmons.
EarthCheck worked with Zone 4, an interactive media company founded in 1999, to create a white label Risk App that can be modified for individual hotel clients. The app based on a number of well-documented reference books that EarthCheck has written.
EarthCheck’s Inner Circle Forum is an annual meeting of the world’s most powerful hotel industry thought leaders to discuss sustainability. Now in its third year, the theme for the 2014 Inner Circle is about resilience and the actions needed bounce back from a disaster.