CommCore’s SVP, Dale Weiss was recently quoted in The Wall Street Journal article “Crisis of the Week: Marriott Sails Into a Hurricane of Criticism.”
Organizations communicating in the middle of a crisis or emergency need to follow the “three F’s”: be fast, be flexible, be factual. Marriott achieved two out of three. It’s hard to imagine the frenetic level of activity at the various Marriott command centers that were dealing with the emergency. Its priority was the safety of its guests and employees–and not outbound communications. The company was flexible in its response, blaming port officials from preventing the stranded tourists from boarding the rescue ferry.
“However, this information was disseminated by the company days after the incident, which allowed social media to take control of the message. Scared and angry passengers stranded on the dock were blaming the company in real time for leaving them on the island to face danger from the threat of another hurricane. A more efficient real-time monitoring of social media posts would have allowed Marriott to be fast in its response. Marriott could have responded quickly by responding to the tourists and using its social media channels to take its case to the public by urging dock officials to relent.”