How Hotels May Mitigate Bad Publicity

By Steven D. Weber Managing Partner, Stark Weber PLLC | September 02, 2018

In an age where so many players are competing to be noticed, it is easy to understand why some people say that there is no such thing as bad press.  But, is there an area where good press ends and bad press begins? Hospitality players would be well served to plan in advance for any instance of bad press.  In this article we consider a basic potential primer for responding to bad press.

Developing a plan for responding to bad press before bad press arises is one of the most important steps. The plan should include such elements as knowing who is in the response team, developing relationships with designated points of information that might counter bad press, and understanding legal ramifications of certain bad press.  Developing dedicated communication lines before bad press strikes may expedite a response to any bad press.

When a hospitality player develops their response plan, the hospitality player should consider reviewing existing policies and determining what, if any, policies it additionally requires.  As part of this process, the hospitality player should determine what policies apply to which of its contractors or employees.  For example, given the prevalence of electronic document systems, it may be crucial to have the person with knowledge of those systems take a lead role in developing a policy to preserve documents in accordance with the applicable law.  It is important that all contactors or employees with information that may need to be preserved pursuant to law be aware of those policies.

Hospitality players should consider putting together the appropriate response team.  The exact composition of a response team will depend upon the hospitality player. A hospitality player may want to include a Chief Technology Officer or other individual who has sufficient knowledge of the electronic systems used by the hospitality player.  This person may work to provide access to important systems, to ensure that systems are maintained, that the hospitality player can comply with any preservation requirements, and more.  A hospitality player should include a person with knowledge of the internal dynamics of the hospitality player or who knows which team member has the requisite knowledge needed to respond to the bad press. A hospitality player may also want to consider adding legal counsel to its response team. 

In some cases, bad press may be actionable.  Legal counsel may allow a hospitality player to assess its options for seeking relief in response to bad press.  Legal counsel may also assist in seeking immediate injunctive relief, if necessary.  Not acting promptly in response to an event could prevent any injunctive relief. 

In some cases, bad press may give rise to a lawsuit.  The exact claims that are available to a hospitality player related to the bad press will depend upon the specific facts that relate to the bad press.  Such claims may include, but are not limited to defamation, trade libel, or business disparagement.  Vetting of the bad press is essential to determine the possible merits of such an action.  In many cases, this will involve a strong understanding of the available facts.  When bad press features facts that are disputed, it is essential that an investigation be conducted into the allegations in the bad press and that the hospitality player know which facts are true and which appear to be false.  Knowing which facts are true and which appear to be false will allow a hospitality player to determine the feasibility of maintaining a cause of action related to that bad press. 

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Nicholas Tsabourakis
Ellen L. Shackelford
Brenda Fields
Michael Prifti
Bhanu Chopra
Scott Acton
Amy Locke
Kristi White
David Gilbert
Mary Gendron
Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.