E-communication in crisis communication: Best practice for tourism destination management organizations

di Antonella Capriello e Simone Splendiani

in “Reputation and Image Recovery for the Tourism Industry” a cura di Gabby Walters e Judith Mair


The role of crisis communication is becoming increasingly important in disaster management, especially considering the impact that disasters can have on the image and reputation of tourist destinations. Although the literature has begun to focus on this topic in recent years, the greater number of natural disasters and the impact of new media communication tools, make this theme particularly interesting for further scholarly investigation. Developing an effective crisis communication strategy requires consideration of the role that local authorities, including destination management organizations (DMOs) play, the channels they use, and the content that should be included. Numerous authors have analyzed this issue from a chronological perspective in terms of the difference phases of a crisis starting from preparation and ending
with recovery. However, a series of strategic requirements emerge alongside these phases for successful crisis management, including:

  • Cooperation with the media in providing information to the public; in particular, imparting a consistent message to all stakeholders to build credibility and preserve the image of organizations and destinations.
  • Preparedness and the capacity to plan an effective communication response to a crisis in advance, paying attention to the specific characteristics of each case.
  • The development of a public relations plan that creates a support network for the dissemination of communication across multiple channels facilitated by the web and Information Communications Technologies (ICTs).

This chapter presents a number of strategic approaches to crisis management communication for DMOs and tourism organizations. It discusses these approaches in alignment with the prevention and preparedness, response and recovery phases of a crisis. Within each stage, various communication approaches, including the use of e-public relations (E-PR) are presented. Examples of crisis-related communication practices from a variety of destinations around the world are incorporated to illustrate the application and effectiveness of these approaches.