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Social Media and its role in Crisis Management

Panelists and Moderator during HSMAI’s Social Media and its role in Crisis Management Luncheon (The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, Greater NY Chapter)

When most people think about the advantages of using social media for their business, they immediately think of the marketing benefits.

But, when a crisis or emergency erupts, such as the natural disasters we’ve recently faced, do you know how to use the power of social media as an effective tool to deal with anything from a simple website glitch to a terror attack?

Laura Davidson, President of Laura Davidson Public Relations

On Thursday, October 19, Laura Davidson, President of Laura Davidson Public Relations, was asked by HSMAI to join a panel of experts for an informative discussion on how to utilize social media to your best advantage.  Moderated by USA Today travel writer, Nancy Trejos, Laura was joined by Kathy Duffy, NYC Market Director of Public Relations Marriott International, and Lindsay Gsell, Senior Director of Strategy at iStrategy Labs.

Panelists and moderator from L to R: Kathy Duffy, Laura Davidson, Nancy Trejos and Lindsay Gsell

“It’s about being proactively reactive.” – Laura Davidson

With more than 25 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, Laura called upon client examples to demonstrate how to navigate social media during a crisis. She praised client Las Alcobas Napa Valley’s approach and thoughtful response to the recent wild fires in wine country. While the hotel remained undamaged, much of their community were without homes, and several neighboring hotels, vineyards and businesses were not as fortunate. Their messaging of safety was paramount, and it wasn’t until nearly two weeks after the first fires broke out that they shifted their messaging strategy to welcoming the community and guests back into the hotel and restaurant, and championing the spirit of Napa Valley as the region rebuilds and recovers. Together.

Laura also cited CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud for his not only extensive coverage during the Puerto Rico aftermath of Hurricane Maria, but his ability to leverage social media to help connect families during the devastation. You can read more about that here on Miami Herald.

In closing, Laura challenged the audience to review and update their crisis PR plans every six months. She urged listeners to be “proactively reactive” when it comes to anticipating a crisis, and agreed when Kathy Duffy spoke about the importance of having a trusted network of journalists during times of crisis, such as moderator, Nancy Trejos.



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