Crisis PR – How Natural Disasters Impact Travel PR
Natural disasters are never a good thing, but is it possible to bring good out of such an event when it happens? Take hurricanes or tsunamis; they can leave a lot of damage in their wake, and when it comes to travel public relations for that area or resorts, it takes effort to turn that tide for a favorable result.
In situations like a hurricane, there is often some warning allowing many people to leave the area. That means fewer human lives at risk, but it won’t protect property or buildings in the path of the storm. The good news may be that a resort gets through the disaster relatively unscathed. When that is the case, tourism may remain low, just because who wants to visit a place where massive destruction is visible in every direction? But there will still be visitors.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Whenever such an event happens and there is a lot of cleanup needed, volunteers come flooding in from all around the world. They will need a safe place to sleep, places to set up headquarters or phone banks, and even some temporary examining rooms for healthcare professionals. During that time, there may not be much money made for the property, but there is a lot of goodwill to be had. A good PR advisor can help companies and their people find a way through the shock they may be experiencing and do some good for the world as well as their brand.
If you’ve got plenty of food stored, then start warming soup and making sandwiches or casseroles to feed the masses. Don’t go for fancy dining; go for warming, comforting, nourishing, and filling. While serving up those meals, take some pictures of the volunteers helping to feed people or the ones who are there working and are being fed by your kitchen.
Making the Most of a Bad Situation
If you have a large room such as a gymnasium or conference room, open it up for people who have lost their homes to sleep. Work together with a local library and bring in a packet of children’s books for kids to read or be read. Decide on something you can teach people who otherwise would just be sitting around all day not knowing what to do with themselves – the ones who may be hurt or still too shocked to be functional. It doesn’t’ have to be something complicated, just something that allows people to focus on something other than what they’ve lost or how will they ever replace it.
Talk to people and gather their stories, if you can help, do so, and keep track of those people. Follow up with them a few months down the road. Their stories might have become very inspiring then, and sharing them through your social media account, though they many not say anything about your business, still can bring people to your website for them to find out what is happening.
Whatever your business has to offer, whether it’s rooms to sleep, a pool for everyone to cool down or rinse off, or phones so people can contact loved ones and let them know all is fine, do that. You won’t make money off the efforts in that moment, but you’ll build a reputation for being helpful and caring. That means you’ll be creating relationships near and far, and that’s what social media and branding is all about in today’s world.