Get Us in Your Inbox
As you’ve no doubt seen in the news, California has been hit with severe firestorms throughout the state. The disaster has been dire for many people — and our hearts go out to them — but more broadly, it has given even those not directly impacted by the fires a sense of general chaos. I was recently at a shopping mall in Northern California, and the power kept going on and off, leaving shoppers to wander up and down the aisles in the dark and wondering aloud if they would be able to make it home.
Sadly, disruptions to the everyday order have become commonplace in the past few weeks and — when combined with an ominous haze, the smell of smoke in the air and sirens in the distance — it can instill the feeling that society is teetering on the edge.
Chaotic times like these are when business owners — especially those in the hospitality industry — need to step up and show their customers they are ready to help. When people feel like their lives are out of control, they are most hungry for a kind and thoughtful gesture.
I saw this play out recently at a resort in Napa Valley, Calif., which by no fault of its own lost power. In general, guests took the situation in stride, realizing that there were issues larger than their convenience at play. Unfortunately, as time passed and the property failed to deal with the situation — or even acknowledge guests’ anxiety — it became apparent that the hotel had done irreparable damage to its reputation. I don’t know how much future revenue was lost by the resort because of how it responded to the situation, but I’m convinced that a thoughtful gesture at the right moment would have salvaged a lot of good will.
So, as you hear about or witness some of the disruptions felt by members of your community, reach out and let them know you’re ready to assist in whatever way you can. Perhaps a family needs help finding a local hotel for a few nights, or maybe they just need a sympathetic ear. It’s often the small gestures during a difficult time that leave the most lasting impression.