How is an exercise initiated?
Prior to an exercise, TUI’s Crisis Manager sends out information to the entire organisation in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark stating that they will be running an exercise within the upcoming 2–4 weeks. The staff are told to act as if it was a real event and instructed to read up on their crisis and continuity plans.
This results in a number of things, one is that the employees become very interested in taking part in the plans, because even if you have read them you forget, and you want to be prepared. Nobody “gets away” either, by which I mean, when it happens, it happens, no matter where people are or what they are doing right then.
During our most recent exercise, the communication group were at a conference in the Canary Islands, so they had to manage the communication issues from there, which very well could have been the case in a real event. The idea is to be as close to reality as possible in these exercises.
Which branches of TUI are participating in the exercise?
We exercise the entire TUI Nordic branch. With TUI’s crisis management model and the experience they have accumulated over the years, TUI has a well-developed ability to be prepared for the unexpected. Emergency managers are available around the clock, all year round, ready to make decisions within their daily operations. But the exercises we do are focused on training for larger crisis events.
How does TUI decide what to exercise?
We create relevant scenarios together with TUI, last time we simulated a fire on Cape Verde, and included simultaneous disruptions in the IT system in the exercise.
TUI also sees great value in training together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because of their extensive cooperation. Sometimes the police authorities are also involved in the exercise delivery, as exercise ‘players’ who simulate the real-world conditions.
What happens more specifically in an exercise?
A number of different events are set in motion to simulate a high pressure situation. Some examples of these injects from the Cape Verde fire scenario are below:
- The crisis management receives calls from worried staff.
- Management watch news media clips and must respond to a social media crisis.
- Families of travellers begin demanding answers and speaking with journalists.
- The Foreign Ministry calls and wants to know how many Swedes are on location and want name lists
- The airline has to consider whether to continue flying to Cape Verde or redirect to other destinations,
Our exercise deliveries also benefit greatly from the use of 4C’s exercise management software Exonaut. As part of this tool, an exercise web portal simulates TUI’s Intranet and plays news media clips to give an augmented sense of reality.
TUI has offices in four Nordic countries and we train them to deliver a coordinated message to different markets through several channels in an uncertain situation – a task which is quite difficult.