Handling a crisis for companies

Hurricane Sandy devastates the Caribbean and the US Northeast. The Costa Concordia runs aground, costing 30 lives. Unrest in the Middle East finds travelers canceling their plans to visit. Will your organization be ready for the next crisis?

Every business and organization needs a crisis communications plan, and that’s particularly true of the tourism and hospitality industry, warns crisis communications expert Peggy R. Bendel, author of the new handbook It’s a Crisis! NOW What? It’s the first step-by-step crisis communications handbook for the tourism and hospitality industry.

In the book’s 128 pages, Bendel outlines four elements for choosing your crisis communications team and structuring a crisis communications plan, and seven keys to successful crisis communications, while incorporating examples and case studies from destinations, airlines, cruise lines and hotels around the globe. Back-of-the-book scenarios invite readers to develop their own crisis communications responses, while the final scenario invites each reader to create their own worst-case situation.

“My goal in writing It’s a Crisis! NOW What? was to simplify the process of developing and implementing a crisis communications plan, so that everyone who needs one can be confident they’re ready for the next crisis to strike,” says Bendel. An HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Award winner in public relations, Bendel has worked with more than 50 destinations, resorts and tour operators around the globe, after starting her career with the iconic I Love New York campaign. A frequent speaker on branding, marketing, public relations and crisis communications, she sits on the boards of the Destination and Travel Foundation, the Association of Travel Marketing Executives and Ecology Project International. She is a past chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s Travel & Tourism Section and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.

Early praise for the book has come from many sectors of the tourism industry, including PR professionals, destinations and experts such as crisis communications guru James Lukaszewski, APR, Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America, who notes: “There are at least three things to like about Peggy’s book. First, it’s just over 100 pages, perfect for a plane (or New York City rush-hour cab) ride reading on your way to resolve a crisis. Second, the breadth of her experience and examples, from food poisoning, to a drowning on your property, the plane crash involving your clients, political unrest, earthquakes-tornadoes-hurricanes, zoo/theme park animal incident, several crisis qualifying incidents occurring at the same time. And, third, everything Peggy talks about, you can do.

The book’s mantra is straightforward when facing a crisis that is anything but: “If it’s simple, sensible, constructive, and positive, it will work, minimize the production of victims and critics, speed recovery, and reduce collateral damage.”

“It’s a crisis! NOW what?” is available on Amazon.com, with a cover price of $24.95.