When Disaster Strikes

In the last post, I described how I used Twitter and Facebook to ensure I got a seat on a sold-out plane following the East coast blizzard last week. After I published my article my sales colleague, Scott Johnson, pointed out that a few of his international clients were currently using Revinate to manage the fallout from disasters near their resorts.

Explora, a luxury resort in Chile, used Revinate to monitor social media buzz during the gas riots in Patagonia last month. Using Revinate’s Social Media Searches, they monitored the Web for people discussing the unrest due to rising gas prices and travel issues in the region. They used keywords such as ‘protests natural gas Chile,’ ‘stranded Chile,’ and ‘stuck in Patagonia’ to monitor the state of the region and the mood of tourists. They used Twitter to share stories from guests who were stranded at the hotel but had incredible experiences as a result. They also used the real-time news vehicle to share information about the strike. Then, when the strike ended on January 18th, they used Twitter to communicate the reopening of the hotel, tweeting, “Strike in Patagonia ended. Explora Patagonia to receive travelers starting tomorrow Jan 19. Thank you for your concerns, patience & support.”

Last week Hamilton Island, (@hamiltonisland) located near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, turned to Revinate and social media to monitor for news and buzz around Cyclone Yasi and Cyclone Anthony, which threatened to cause the evacuation of the island. They used Twitter to report on the damage, which was minimal, and share updates with the community and worried family members of guests that “all guests, residents & staff are fine.”

And of course, we read a few days ago how Chicago hotels such as The Peninsula Chicago and Hyatt Regency Chicago have been using Twitter and Facebook to announce special blizzard rates targeted at commuters and provide information about the storm. If you missed that story you can read it here.

Is your hotel prepared to use social media to monitor buzz and help guests and the community should disaster strike? You likely have an emergency response plan in place should there be a fire or other disaster. But if your plan doesn’t include social media communication, perhaps it’s time to update the plan with your social media objectives and strategy. There is no better real-time news service for communicating with guests and spreading news virally.

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