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Christian Cull, Communications Director, TUI UK and Ireland


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Private sector PR challenges in 2010

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Christian Cull, Communications Director, TUI UK and Ireland

  1. 1. Learning from 2010 and understanding threats in 2011 Christian Cull, Communications Director, TUI UK & Ireland Private sector PR challenges in 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>TUI UK & Ireland – Key Facts </li></ul><ul><li>5.4m customers </li></ul><ul><li>62 aircraft </li></ul><ul><li>100 destinations </li></ul><ul><li>More than 870 shops </li></ul><ul><li>16,000 colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiated product </li></ul><ul><li>First Choice & Thomson </li></ul>
  3. 3. PR Team Head of PR PR Manager Airline, SD, Industry Affairs PR Manager Tour Operating PR Assistant PR Officer Senior PR Officer Senior PR Officer PR Officer Senior PR Officer Senior PR Officer
  4. 4. Welcome to the world of travel! <ul><li>Watchdog (twice) </li></ul><ul><li>Snow on the runway </li></ul><ul><li>Madeira floods </li></ul><ul><li>Volcanic ash (twice) </li></ul><ul><li>Group actions </li></ul><ul><li>Share price plunge </li></ul><ul><li>Snow on the runway (again) </li></ul><ul><li>Strikes in Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Shark attacks on Sharm </li></ul><ul><li>Tunisia </li></ul><ul><li>Egypt </li></ul>
  5. 5. Who’s this? Andy Sharman from Leicester Topped Google rankings for “ Thomson Tunisia review So we asked him to come in… 10,000+   September 2009 “ “ Rant Blog”
  6. 6. Why communicate in a crisis? <ul><li>Protect your reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Keep control of the agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain trust in your company </li></ul>
  7. 7. The power of the media <ul><li>BBC online is the second most visited site in </li></ul><ul><li>Europe with 14 million people visiting every day </li></ul><ul><li>70% of UK adults get news from the BBC everyday </li></ul><ul><li>If BBC decides at 8am to broadcast something, </li></ul><ul><li>by 8:35am 19 million people will have seen it either </li></ul><ul><li>on TV, radio or online </li></ul>
  8. 8. “ Ash-gate” <ul><li>Wednesday 14 April </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1000 hrs – the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland erupted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NATS monitored the situation all afternoon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thomson was made aware late afternoon/early evening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2100 hrs - the Crisis Team is activated - Alert State Yellow declared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1200 hrs - potential closure of GLA, MAN and NCL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thursday programme at risk (specifically Cruise) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thursday 15 April </li></ul><ul><ul><li>0300 hrs – Alert State Orange declared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK airspace closing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Despite this, Thomson managed to operate around 18 flights outbound </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Friday 16 April </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK airspace nearly completely closed – but Thomson managed to get </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 aircraft back home – the only airline to do so! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>0730 hrs – Alert State Red activated </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 28 Aircraft stranded Spain Egypt Portugal Arrecife – 6 Sharm el Sheik – 5 Boa Viste – 1 Tenerife – 1 Hurghada – 1 Faro – 1 Alicante – 1 Greece India Germany Paphos – 1 Goa – 1 Hamburg – 1 Heraklion – 1 USA Barbados Greensboro – 1 Bridgetown – 1
  10. 10. Customers stranded <ul><li>Thursday 14th 8,400 </li></ul><ul><li>Friday 15th 11,800 </li></ul><ul><li>Saturday 16th 7,200 (Ski flights operated by road) </li></ul><ul><li>Sunday 17th 10,100 </li></ul><ul><li>Monday 18th 8,400 </li></ul><ul><li>Tuesday 19th 11,100 </li></ul><ul><li>Wednesday 20th 8,200 </li></ul><ul><li>Total circa 65,200 </li></ul>
  11. 11. So, what did we do? <ul><li>The Crisis Centre managed overall co-ordination and repatriation </li></ul><ul><li>All areas of the business were involved in decision making: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Airline – Customer – Distribution – Comms – Commercial – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cruise – HR – Legal - Group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BALPA and UNITE support maximum flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>The Ops team was involved in regular calls with NATS to try and open airspace </li></ul><ul><li>The Flight Ops team convened a meeting with CAA and all UK airlines </li></ul><ul><li>The Engineering team co-ordinated with CAA/UK airlines and manufacturers </li></ul>
  12. 12. CRISIS MANAGEMENT CENTRE Control, Command, Coordination, Communication CRISIS DIRECTOR CRISIS CONTROLLER COMMS CMC ADMIN CONTINGENCY PLANNING Airline & UKI Boards 24H OPERATIONS CENTRE Flight Operations Crewing Customer Operations Significant Operational Disruption Plan INCIDENT RESPONSE MGR Inflight Product Airports Aviation Planning Cabin Crew Mgmt Pilot Mgmt Technical Ops Cruise Change Control After Travel Customer Support Engineering Legal Regulatory Liaison Holiday Line Commercial Internal Comms Facilities Finance HR IT Website Team External Comms Overseas Retail Pre Travel Customer Support = Crisis Support Unit Flight Safety Go Team
  13. 13. Ash crisis – our objectives <ul><li>Use the media as an efficient method of communicating with our customers, and their friends and family back home </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure all the hard work undertaken across the </li></ul><ul><li>business was recognised by customers and potential customers, to generate positive awareness and feelings about TUI Travel </li></ul><ul><li>Drive awareness of the benefits of the package </li></ul><ul><li>holiday and why it is still relevant in today's </li></ul><ul><li>fragmented marketplace </li></ul>
  14. 14. How did we deliver these objectives? <ul><li>Relevant updates displayed on our web sites and </li></ul><ul><li>issued to media </li></ul><ul><li>Swift, efficient and effective responses to media requests </li></ul><ul><li>Proactive selling-in of key stories as they arose </li></ul><ul><li>Arranging easy access to several competent spokespeople </li></ul><ul><li>and briefing them where relevant </li></ul><ul><li>Advising the business on the impact of their decisions </li></ul><ul><li>on the reputation of the business </li></ul><ul><li>Seizing opportunities to correct any misleading media </li></ul><ul><li>reports and to fill information gaps as they arose </li></ul><ul><li>Managing responses to the few cases where we got it </li></ul><ul><li>wrong! </li></ul><ul><li>… . 24 hours a day! </li></ul>Thomson Airways huge rescue package is complete - 70,000 customers brought home
  15. 15. Our messages… <ul><li>We are a caring company </li></ul><ul><li>We excel in customer service </li></ul><ul><li>We provide accommodation for customers overseas during the disruption, free of charge </li></ul><ul><li>We are the UK’s leading tour operator </li></ul><ul><li>We are providing repatriation via alternative means </li></ul><ul><li>of transport to get customers home asap (ferries, </li></ul><ul><li>cruises and coaches) </li></ul><ul><li>Customers are in safe hands with tour operators </li></ul><ul><li>who take complete responsibility when something </li></ul><ul><li>goes wrong (unlike low-cost airlines) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Touchpoint Map Physical Environment During Crisis Post Crisis Blogs YouTube Twitter Web Dashboard Listening SMS Blogs Facebook Resort notice boards Resort Representatives Flip Cameras content Video storytelling Internal PR External PR Retail Stores Email TUI Crisis Management Centre Resort Reception Head Office teams Video Twitter Digital Environment
  17. 17. Online Comms was vital <ul><li>“ I just wanted to say…. Thomson's website, informing customer of the situation, has been excellent.  Any time I have wanted an up-date I have received very clear guidance as to the situation at that time.  As a result of such clear reporting, it has made the situation more tolerable. Many thanks to those responsible.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kathy Edwards (Customer) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Twitter in a crisis <ul><li>Hudson River plane crash, Jan 09 </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter users broke the news of the </li></ul><ul><li>emergency landing around 15 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>before the mainstream media </li></ul><ul><li>First Tweet four minutes after crash </li></ul><ul><li>Picture (right) taken and uploaded </li></ul><ul><li>with mobile phone ten minutes after </li></ul><ul><li>takeoff </li></ul><ul><li>Tweets documented the incident </li></ul><ul><li>and reassured friends and families </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>During crises, we direct people to our </li></ul><ul><li>website for updates, and we use </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter and Facebook to direct people </li></ul><ul><li>there </li></ul><ul><li>Valuable source of information into </li></ul><ul><li>business </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to put problems right </li></ul><ul><li>Way of communicating with customers </li></ul><ul><li>overseas </li></ul>Social Media
  20. 20. Things that make me go yuk <ul><li>Dynamic Markets research: </li></ul><ul><li>3/4 (+) of in house communications professionals say they expect agency staff to be more knowledgeable than they are on new media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shame on you, in house comms professionals! </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Key PR Skills <ul><li>Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Selling – In </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Networking – social or otherwise </li></ul>
  22. 22. Things that make me go yuk <ul><li>Dynamic Markets research: </li></ul><ul><li>3/4 (+) of in house communications professionals say they expect agency staff to be more knowledgeable than they are on new media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shame on you, in house comms professionals! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ targeting (influential bloggers and commentators) through social media can be a powerful way of gaining credibility” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have a conversation with them: they are people, not targets </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Who is this? Marshal McLuhan “ The medium is the message” Yes, if it’s a light bulb But no… It’s the message, message, message 
  24. 24. Total alert page views – 902,457 Volcanic Ash Crisis Wednesday 14 th – Wednesday 21 st April 2010 Peak day/time – Wednesday 21 st April at 10am, approx. 11,000 views in the hour .   Date Page Views Unique Visitors Weds 14 th April 88 65 Thurs 15 th April 20,081 9,823 Fri 16 th April 83,297 36,677 Sat 17 th April 91,048 46,012 Sun 18 th April 102,080 57,299 Mon 19 th April 162,918 75,565 Tues 20 th April 198,356 83,067 Weds 21 st April 244,589 77,995
  25. 25. The customer isn’t always right... <ul><ul><li>“ Personally I think Thomson’s should be applauded for </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>their response to a very difficult situation there are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>thousands out there that would have liked the same level of care.” </li></ul></ul>“ A FURIOUS Weymouth mother has demanded an apology from her holiday company after her daughter fell ill on a 48-hour coach journey from southern Spain to France. Angela Smart and her daughter Courtney, eight, had to return to Britain on coaches and a ferry after flights were grounded during the volcanic ash crisis. Mrs Smart said holiday company Thomson failed to provide her and her daughter with water during their two-day coach journey. Little Courtney became dehydrated and fell ill during the trip……..” <ul><ul><li>“ Yawn! Another sob story that does nothing more than </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>demonstrate what a spineless bunch of moaners this country is so rapidly becoming... Did the rep not clean your teeth, wipe your bum, tell you bed time stories.....diddums!” </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. How did we do? <ul><li>More than 1,000 pieces of editorial coverage (print, online and broadcast) </li></ul><ul><li>The value of this coverage alone in excess of </li></ul><ul><li>£9million in terms of advertising equivalent </li></ul><ul><li>Almost 3 hours worth of broadcast coverage </li></ul><ul><li>More than 40 interviews with our spokespeople </li></ul><ul><li>22% of all press/broadcast pieces were strongly favourable, compared with 14% for Thomas Cook. </li></ul><ul><li>49% of coverage conveyed a key message. </li></ul><ul><li>Winner of the PRCA Crisis Management Award 2010 </li></ul>
  27. 27. Travel Alert was on the website from Wednesday 1 st December. From this time until Sunday 5 th December, the page received 136,078 views.  1 st December 2010 Gatwick Snow Crisis   Date Page Views Unique Visitors Weds 1 st December 31,096 7,974 Thurs 2 nd December 45,688 11,594 Fri 3 rd December 23,171 9,140 Sat 4 th December 23,652 9,766 Sun 5 th December 12,471 6,421
  28. 28. 1 December 2010 Gatwick Snow Crisis
  29. 29. Tunisia Alert Total page views for the alert during Friday 14 th – Monday 17 th January 67,767   Date Page Views Unique Visitors Friday 14 th January 21,381 17,368  Saturday 15 th January 17,299 13,063  Sunday 16 th January 14,650 12,476  Monday 17 th January 13,173  10,395 
  30. 30. Why communicate in a crisis?
  31. 31. Egypt <ul><li>Destination by destination </li></ul><ul><li>Cairo </li></ul><ul><li>Luxor and Aswan </li></ul><ul><li>Calm in Sharm </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign and Commonwealth </li></ul><ul><li>Office </li></ul><ul><li>Sound on the ground </li></ul>
  32. 32. Priorities <ul><li>Identify the opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Get moving immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Get on the front foot </li></ul><ul><li>Update, regularly and often </li></ul><ul><li>Track key influencers </li></ul>
  33. 33. Thank you - Any Questions?