If your company helps thousands of people reach their destinations every day, you are doing important work. The travel infrastructure of the U.S. is essential for businesses, government, and everyday individuals. Unfortunately, serving large numbers of people will inevitably lead to some negative incidents. Having the right travel PR in place can save the day.
Avoiding Damage from Negative News
Travel is a competitive business, and consumers have many choices when it comes to airlines, trains, cruises, and even cab companies. A negative news story that takes over social media – or “goes viral” – can significantly impact your bottom line.
The incidents involving United Airlines in 2017 provide great examples. For instance, they needed to make a few seats available for their flight crew members so that travel could keep running smoothly at the next airport. Due to the flight being full, United asked for a few passengers to volunteer their seats. When no one did, they chose people at random.
One passenger refused to leave. The police were called and forcibly and violently removed him from the plane. In today’s environment of smartphones and social media, many other passengers used their cell phones to record the incident. The story went viral and made United look terrible.
Unfortunately, United Airlines escalated the backlash with their less than stellar travel PR post-incident response. They felt they were right, and failed to offer a sincere response to the public’s outrage. Many people refused to fly United after that, choosing other airlines instead.
Don’t let this happen to you. Work with a professional to craft an emergency response PR plan in advance so you have a chance to avoid damage from adverse incidents and backlash.
Take Advantage of Positive Events
Sometimes, the people you serve will show their gratitude publicly. Or you may be able to help someone in a charitable way. Maybe a child needs transportation to see family or to get medical help, and you provide it. Perhaps you give a special trip to a couple for their 50th anniversary.
With a properly crafted public relations plan, you can take full advantage of the publicity these events bring. Sharing them on social media, encouraging others to share as well, and providing well-trained representatives for media interviews are just a few ways you can build positive feelings with PR.
You don’t have to be at the mercy of another person’s version of a story, whether positive or negative. With professional travel PR assistance, you can help tell the story yourself and benefit your company at the same time.