Given the substantial impact of crisis on the hospitality industry, crisis and crisis management have drawn attention from scholars. While each study makes a significant contribution to the existing knowledge of crisis management in hospitality, the fragmented perspective of each study makes it difficult to identify the key findings and unsolved problems. This paper presents a synthesis and critical assessment of state-of-the-art crisis management research in hospitality. It categorizes articles based on a three-stage framework covering pre-crisis planning, mid-crisis management, and post-crisis recovery. Two main perspectives in the literature are identified: one from hospitality service providers and one from stakeholders. Core research topics and concepts in each stage and perspective are reviewed. In addition, this paper proposes four major directions for future research: crisis management from stakeholders’ perspectives, integrative research, causal and behavioral research, and theoretical enhancement. It discusses the theoretical and practical implications of this study.
The recent Covid-19 outbreak and the resulting restrictions, including city lockdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing, and closure orders, have caused a sharp decline in tourism (UNWTO, 2020). This has posed an existential threat to the hospitality industry, which is heavily reliant on tourist flow (The Guardian, 2020). The occupancy rate of hotels in China suffered a decline of 75 % over 2 weeks in early 2020 due to the crisis (STR, 2020). Besides pandemic-induced crises, the hospitality industry is vulnerable to other crises such as political instability (Corbet et al., 2019), terrorism (Israeli and Reichel, 2003), economic recession (Qu et al., 2002), and natural disaster (Chen, 2011). Due to the increasing occurrence and significant impacts of various crises, numerous crisis management studies have been conducted to identify the causes of crisis occurrence (e.g., Racherla and Hu, 2009; Yu, Stafford, & Armoo, 2006) and the impacts of crises on firms (Chen, 2011; Pine and McKercher, 2004). Likewise, studies have examined how firms can manage crises to mitigate the negative impacts and avoid disruption to daily operations (Henderson, 2007; Leung and Lam, 2004; Pappas, 2015).
Focusing on a particular problem or perspective, each study provides a valuable contribution to the overall understanding of crisis and crisis management. However, as the literature on crisis research continues to grow and accumulate, it becomes increasingly difficult to grasp the central conclusion of the broad crisis management literature, and to identify areas where more research is necessary. Thus, reviewing the status and development of crisis research on a regular basis is critical for research in this area to advance with greater rigor and relevance (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016). Several researchers have attempted to do this. Mair et al. (2016) reviewed 64 articles concerning post-disaster and post-crisis recovery related to destinations and tourist flow. More recently, Jiang, Ritchie, and Benckendorff (2019) reviewed tourism crisis research by exploring its network structure using bibliometric analysis. Ritchie and Jiang (2019) reviewed 142 articles on tourism crisis and disaster management using a narrative synthesis approach. They discussed three critiques of the existing literature, including a lack of conceptual and theoretical foundations, a lack of framework testing, and unbalanced research themes.