Exploring the factors that affect senior hotel managers’ intentions towards future crisis planning: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Author Identifiers

Feliani Tjong


Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Business by Research


School of Business and Law

First Advisor

Edmund Goh

Second Advisor

Violetta Wilk

Third Advisor

Marie Ryan


The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the tourism and hospitality industry. Hotel managers feel uncertain facing this situation where the hospitality industry struggles to survive. Evidently, changes in crisis management and crisis planning practices are needed as the global pandemic continues to affect the industry. Most past studies put more emphasis on the crisis response and recovery rather than pre-crisis stage. Further, despite the negative impacts that crises,such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have on the industry, hotel managers have continued to show limited attention towards crisis planning. Therefore, this study aims to explore the pre-crisis stage through the lens of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), specifically, by gaining a deeper understanding about attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behaviour, in relation to the additional variables of perceived risk and past behaviour, in exploring the Senior Hotel Managers’ intentions towards future crisis planning. The TPB model was evolved through the addition of the two variables of perceived risk and past behaviour, in response to extant calls for researchers to further develop the TPB model.

This exploratory study involved a qualitative methodology which was founded on 21 semi-structured online interviews with Senior Hotel Managers of quarantine hotels in Western Australia. Online interviews were the only option available at the time this study was conducted which was during the COVID-19 pandemic year of 2021, where strict government guidelines, protocols and restrictions needed to be followed. A combination of non-probability convenience, purposive, and snowball sampling methods were used to recruit participants. The study gathered information from knowledgeable and experienced participants who had experienced the phenomenon that is being studied and helped to answer this study’s research questions. Senior Hotel Managers were chosen based on the following criteria: (1) Senior Hotel Managers who have worked or were presently working in quarantine hotels in Western Australia; (2) hotels that have been used or were presently being used as a quarantine facility; and (3) participants have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the data was unstructured and qualitative in nature, a computer-driven qualitative data analysis program which used machine learning to perform thematic analysis for the purposes of exploring the data, was used. Leximancer was the program which was used to identify common themes and key concepts that emerged from the data. Results showed that positive attitudes, reference groups, perceived difficulties, perceived risks, and past behaviour were considered as the factors which influenced Senior Hotel Managers’ intentions towards future crisis planning.In summary, results from this study identified five attitudes (crisis, closure, people, procedures, and timeline), four important reference groups (crisis committee, colleagues, government, and external individuals), four perceived difficulties (human resources, colleagues, time, and ambiguity), four perceived risks (human risk, management risk, and environmental risk), and three past behaviour (crisis experience, awareness, and future crisis) that played a role in the Senior Hotel Managers’ crisis planning intentions. These findings present vital theoretical and industry implications, and proffer important guidelines for future research and practices for improving future crisis planning in the hotel industry. These findings also provide lessons to other industries outside the hotel industry, and other countries beyond Australia, which can be immensely valuable during a crisis, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic.

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