In what many may hail as a sign of the times, a crisis communications firm in cooperation with eTurboNews (eTN) has created a product addressing one of the scariest problems for tourism providers – damaging headlines and bad publicity. The product is called ‘CrisisTether’ and is intended specifically for tourism providers with fewer than 500 employees.
“The global tourism industry is a mess right now. Recent terror attacks have made consumers nervous. The US State Department has issued a nearly unprecedented, totally useless worldwide travel advisory,” says Checkmate Public Affairs President Jeff Chatterton. “The global tourism environment is ugly and confusing.”
“Large tourism providers have resources to handle moments when things go wrong in a scary environment. But small tourism operators are forced to suffer with negative headlines, rumors, or angry stakeholders,” says Chatterton. “We grew tired of seeing suffering. So we’re making that expertise available to smaller operators, too.”
CrisisTether takes advantage of group purchasing, using a model similar to the mutual insurance industry. Hundreds of tour operators will band together and each pay a tiny monthly fee. Members get 24/7/365 access to a crisis communicator who is familiar with not only the travel industry, but also their unique business.
In the tourism industry, things will go wrong. It’s not a case of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ And when something goes wrong, whether it’s a terror attack, a vehicle accident, a volcanic eruption or a propane explosion, members receive immediate advice on what to say, to whom, and how. In the event of a truly serious situation, members can even choose to have a professional communications consultant fly to their operation, without additional fees.
For a small tourism provider, having this level of resource available to them is industry changing. “The old way meant that when a crisis occurred, a small business owner needed to launch an expensive marketing campaign. Bookings would drop, and the owner merely hoped the business could survive. “Hope is not a solution,” says Chatterton. “CrisisTether members will get world-class expertise, right away, and won’t be charged a dime extra.”
“Our members know two things,” says Chatterton. “First – no matter what, we’ve got their back. Secondly, there are no hidden fees or invoice surprises.”
Checkmate has partnered with eTurboNews, the world’s largest tourism trade journal. CrisisTether members will receive access to a nearly unlimited supply of news release, social media and public relations tools in the event of a crisis.
The flat-rate monthly fee will include everything – the 24/7 access to a dedicated crisis communicator, access to the eTurboNews news release platforms and social media tools, and in-person, on-site assistance. For the vast majority of CrisisTether members, the monthly rate will be $349.
The $349 price was not without internal controversy. “I initially wanted something higher, admits Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, the Publisher of eTurboNews. “I was concerned we may be giving away the store.”
“We admit that we may have to raise rates in 6 months,” said Chatterton. “We feel the value equation is lopsided in the consumer’s favour. But we’re excited about this. It’s new, it’s a totally different and unique concept for the travel industry.”
Steinmetz says the product should be appealing to a broad range of travel companies. “It simply makes way too much sense. If you’re a hotel, if you’re in ground transportation, charter flights, tour guides, adventure travel, you name it – this is brilliant. CrisisTether provides instant, world-class crisis communications help, with consistent guaranteed costs. This way an operator can focus on growth, versus crossing their fingers and hoping bad things never happen.”
For more information about CrisisTether, including how to apply, visit www.tourismcrisisinsurance.com