Lufthansa and the Germanwings Crash in the French Alps

Lufthansa seems to have managed the communications around the crash in the French Alps very well, offering clear and concise information while at the same time, showing due compassion to those affected.

So far it has been a textbook example of mobilising what I suspect is a well-rehearsed plan.

I can’t help thinking however, there will be stern tests to come. So far the airline and its Germanwings subsidiary has said it had no way of knowing Lubitz, the co-pilot of the aircraft, was so mentally unstable or fragile that he might crash his plane into a mountainside. And so far this seems to have been accepted.

However I expect this notion to be probed and tested very thoroughly over the coming weeks and if the airline is shown to have ignored warning signs, it may yet succumb to serious damage to its reputation. At the very least it might have to ditch the Germanwings brand in due course as part of the rebuilding process.

Mark Warner, Praia da Luz and Madeleine McCann

I wrote about Mark Warner and their travel PR strategy not long after Madeleine McCann went missing. It was a tough time for them and I think they handled it well.

But I wonder now, in hindsight, if they wish they had pulled out of Praia da Luz soon after those sad events.

It is a great place. I took a tennis course there for the Sunday Times and enjoyed it very much. But the spectre of the Madeleine McCann case hangs over the resort and refuses to go away – particularly now that British police are combing the undergrowth and increasing their on-site investigations.

It is hard not to feel some sympathy for holidaymakers in Praia da Luz.

Mark Warner would rather refer to the resort as Ocean Club Beach Resort but clearly most people can make the connection and – from the Mark Warner prices, which tend to be a bit lower than at their other resorts – it must be one of their hardest sells.

I don’t suppose that will change as long as it stays in the news pages rather than the holiday section.

How to Create a Travel PR Strategy for your Traffic-Hungry Affiliate Travel Client

Developing a travel PR campaign for affiliate clients presents a particular challenge. After all they do not own their own hotels, boats, planes, they do not sell their own package holidays and most of the time they do not even mind who you travel with.

That leaves us a bit short of stories on the PR side.

Travel affiliate clients just want traffic, which they can then convert to clickers to send on their way to happy merchants in exchange for a slice of the pie.

There’s very little there for a traditional travel PR to get their teeth into. Or is there?

Andy Barr MD at 10Yetis has considerable experience representing affiliates – most relevantly to us the travel site

I asked him to share his views of travel PR for affiliate marketing.… Read More »

Reputation Plus: Tweeting an Eye on Your Business

Rosemary Gallagher has written a good piece about Reputation Plus the real time customer service in today’s Scotland on Sunday.

Businesses will be able to monitor their reputation on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and react in “real time” using a service launched this month by Scottish company Reputation Plus.

Set up by Neil MacLean, a former journalist, and Claire Dean, a TV and radio reporter and presenter, Reputation Plus claims to offer the first “online, real time customer service for UK business”.

Although Scotland on Sunday particularly mentions our real time customer service in terms of providing reputation services for financial institutions, there is also a strong travel PR element to ReputationPlus as you would expect.… Read More »

Found: The Travel PR’s Guide to SEO

There has been discussion on Twitter over the last few days on the role of SEO in contemporary Travel PR. I am massively biased in this; my reflex action on opening a new travel site is to view source code. And I have a keyboard shortcut which turns H and 1 into <h1></h1> in a nano second.

I believe an understanding of how to be more easily found online is vital to travel PR.

At the very least, if you are a travel PR and you want to get your client’s story across to the widest possible market, you need a basic knowledge of SEO.

I don’t necessarily mean the shady and complex world of buying authority links without Google registering the acrid smell of cheque book – although, wait a minute that sounds like a better reason than most these days for a press trip.

I mean the business of making sure everything you publish on behalf of your client is useful, easily found and as widely distributed as possible.… Read More »

Present tense: A look back at the future of travel PR

By way of yanking this blog back out of hibernation, I thought I would recap a guest post I wrote for Travolution last year.

It pretty much sums up what I thought then and still think now of traditional travel PR.

For the sake of our clients we need to totally rethink travel PR in this country. And by the way, signing up for a Twitter account just doesn’t cut it.

The Problem at the Heart of Travel PR (from Travolution)

The marketing blogosphere is navel-gazing again, this time about the current state of PR.

No surprise there then. Every few months somebody declares PR dead and a bevy of PR’s write about how the world would go to hell in a hand basket without them.

Eventually the whole thing settles down until yet another A list blogger gets hit by a hundred irrelevant pitches.

It makes me wonder though about the state of the travel PR business, particularly in the UK where I personally lobbed press releases into waste bins for the best part of 20 years.

Is the UK travel PR business dead?

Not totally. It just smells like it.… Read More »

Thummit: when everyone really is a critic

While researching restaurant reviews for the Sunday Times – and by researching I mean spilling gravy down my shirt – a manager would often stop by and ask how everything was. “Fine” I would say. “Read about it on Sunday,” I would think. “Thanks,” I would say.

If it had been awful – if maggots had been playing in the venison stew – I would be itching to pull the trigger, to tell the world while I was still pulling on my coat. But sadly there was no way to actually publish a restaurant review directly from the table.

Well, now there is.… Read More »