Disaster resilience in the hotel sector : a mixed methods study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Emergency Management at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Building disaster resilience before a disaster may aid all types of organisations in speeding recovery post-disaster and returning to full operation sooner. For many communities the tourism sector is integral to their economic stability, therefore the ability of the hotel industry to maintain, or regain operations is essential in supporting the social and economic fabric of the local area. Furthermore, hotels play an integral role in disaster response and recovery, providing accommodations for people responding to disaster as well as local jobs.
The objective of this research was to define the characteristics of disaster resilience within the hotel sector and develop measures to explore strengths and gaps in resilience. This research developed the Disaster Resilience Framework for Hotels, outlining capital-based predictors of resilience customised for the hotel sector. The framework considers economic, social, human, physical, natural, and cultural capitals as components of disaster resilience. Within each capital, a set of predictors and measures was developed from the literature. This view of capitals combines both potential and actual resources to contribute to adaptive capacity; the ability of an organisation to withstand and recover from shocks.
The framework has been explored through a mixed methods study of hotels in two areas in New Zealand (Wellington and Hawke’s Bay). The data includes surveys and interviews with managers and staff. The inclusion of staff input provides a novel, innovative look at the connections between organisational policies and procedures and staff understanding, awareness, and integration of those policies.
Hotels in New Zealand were found to have many resources that contribute to their overall disaster resilience. A safety culture combined with social capital stocks as well as human capital skills and knowledge make for a solid foundation. Gaps included a lack of all-hazard planning, need to integrate staff in the planning process, and a need to better connect with other organisations that may provide support and collaboration during disasters. With a positive growth trend in New Zealand’s tourism sector and a history of devastating earthquakes, New Zealand provides an excellent test case.