Communicating With Staff During a Disaster

How the Holiday Inn Club maintains a culture

of calm – even when an epic storm hits

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Holiday Inn Club Vacations is in the business of creating truly great experiences. This starts right from the moment prospective holidaymakers pick up the phone to book their vacation.

Providing customer service excellence to these callers is taken care of by the Owner Support Group. This 270-strong team answers enquiries from club members around the world keen to know more about any one of the 26 luxurious Holiday Inn Club resorts in the United States.

In these fast-paced environments, the ringing phone or the tap-tap-tap of computer keyboards never stops.


This is a dynamic, ultra-competitive industry with lots of moving parts. Staff need to know up-to-the-minute information across a variety of topics. This could range from the latest marketing promotion; last minute availability at a resort; to weather warnings that may affect bookings.

Lisa Christie, Director of Owner Support Group at Holiday Inn Club Vacations, is responsible for the smooth running of this business function.

She says: “Our employees are on the phone constantly. We don’t want to interrupt what they’re doing, but at the same time, they need immediate access to accurate information.

“Email is not an effective channel for communicating quickly with the team,” explains Christie, “as we can’t be sure when employees get around to reading their emails.”



To address the concerns surrounding lack of control regarding communications, Holiday Inn Club Vacations selected a range of communication channels from SnapComms.

It opted for a cloud-hosted service, with licences for desktop alerts, scrolling ticker bars, an interactive blog and quizzes/surveys.

All these channels completely bypass email systems, and offer unprecedented control of how and when messages get published. 





Typical messages range from new processes regarding customer points system, updates on resort renovations, marketing campaigns, culture-related content, and more. 

Val Marquez, a Project Manager within Christie’s Owner Support team, is one of six staff responsible for publishing these messages to the wider team. She’s fine-tuned how and when to use each channel. For example, different colored Alert templates are selected based on message type i.e. red = urgent / read now; blue = important, but can read later; custom-branded = general information (see example below).

The scrolling ticker bars are used to keep staff informed of ongoing situations, such as caller queues and status updates, while quizzes and surveys solicit opinions.

“This could be ideas for a new product name, collating specific responses (such as ‘celebration lunch options’), or for general feedback,” explains Marquez.  

Useful features such as message recurrence, audience segmentation and quick publish make life much easier for Marquez and the team.

Important messages can be targeted to specific individuals, and repeated until all recipients have seen it and/or acted upon it, while quick publish allows a series of messages to be prepared in advance of an anticipated event i.e. power failure, email outage, or severe weather warning – and then, as and when needed, published in a single click.





  Examples of SnapComms' tools in action at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations



The Owner Support team has been using SnapComms since 2014. It’s become central to how the team communicates, embedded into the everyday processes.

“It’s a very user-friendly system that’s now part of our culture,” says Christie.

It saves time and simplifies things too, adds Marquez. “Rather than staff having to switch applications, and then trawl through their emails, with SnapComms they receive relevant news straight to their screen. Our content is forced upon them … they can’t ignore it.”

To see how effective message cut through is, SnapComms’ dashboard reports provide useful metrics, such as who’s read which message. For the team at Holiday Inn Club, it proves their messages are working well as they consistently achieve a 100% success rate.   

To sum up, this organization has successfully overcome the ubiquitous ‘lost-in-inbox’ problem. Through clever, best practice use of the tools, Christie and her team have found a fool-proof way of getting the right information to employees, who in turn, provide the right information to their holiday-loving customers.  


Publishing content direct to their screens enables agents to pass on accurate,

up-to-date information to enquirers





In October 2016, when Hurricane Matthew battered the region, the use of SnapComms’ tools went into overdrive.

Three Holiday Inn Club resorts were at risk of being impacted by the storm. “The situation was changing by the minute,” says Christie, “but we were able to keep our team fully up to speed through regular alerts and tickers.”

It was a frantic time dealing with lots of cancellations and concerned property owners. Getting the right information to agents, which could be passed onto owners, eased some of the pressure.  




  • Who: Holiday Inn Club Vacations (Owner Support Team) – a chain of 26 family-focused holiday resorts, in top holiday spots throughout America.
  • Employees: 270 employees (across two shifts), working Monday – Saturday.
  • Location: Two call centres based in Orlando, Florida and North Richland Hills, Texas.


“It’s a very user-friendly system that’s now part of our culture” 

- Lisa Christie, Director of Owner Support


Holiday-Inn-Team.jpg L-R: Margarita Rivera, Valerie Marquez and Lisa Christie from Holiday Inn Club Vacations


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