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Ash Crisis – Were there any winners?

The ash cloud fiasco has caused immense mayhem for the travel industry but if there is at all a positive outcome, it's that it really has highlighted those travel companies that set themselves apart in responding quickly and responsibly to a crisis. bgb's managing director Debbie Hindle gives a "second opinion" on TUI UK's powerful campaign to support the Volcanic ash crisis on pg 19 of this week's PR Week <> .

Read her ‘Second Opinion' here...
"I was in Dubai when the ash cloud coverage hit the headlines again. In the corner of my hotel room, BBC World News beamed an interview with the TUI comms chief, Christian Cull. He was calm, reassuring, credible and laughed off impossible-to-answer financial questions with aplomb. It was just one example of a powerful campaign that must have reached every person in Britain and one that would have been impossible for TUI to deliver just two years ago.

In 2008 ago you could count the number of people in the Thomson press office on one hand. After the merger with First Choice there was a quiet cultural revolution within the business - focusing obsessively on customer service and making sure the bigger comms team had its role to play.

The results are clear. TUI is more confident, more nimble and braver than in the past. It allowed media into the office see its operational hub in action. TUI's spokespeople were more socially engaged than before - using Twitter to talk to flight-only customers and respond as issues arose, updating the website every couple of hours. Its spokespeople talked about not only what TUI was doing but the value of package holidays. Adverts and marketing all supported the same campaign.

What else would I do? Perhaps create more news resources such as a video piece from the MD or resort staff on YouTube or aTUI news broadcast report from resorts - fed out to sites and blogs.

This campaign is impressive and much needed by the travel industry. It's not over yet."

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