Another sad day for the cruise industry

10 days sailing on the open ocean, margarita in hand, and bikini clad—could you think of a better way to escape a cold North East winter?

royal carribean

(photo: www.nbcnews.com)

Unfortunately for nearly 300 Royal Caribbean customers, things didn’t go quite as planned. Just a few days into the Explorer of the Seas voyage from New Jersey to St. Maarten, norovirus spread quickly and is said to have affected nearly 10% of the passengers on board. Nausea and vomiting are just a few of the symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal illness that are wreaking havoc on vacation goers.

The cruise industry has been through a lot over the past few years: sinking ships, plumbing issues, power outages,  illness outbreaks. These incidents keep occurring and are going to have a serious impact on the future of this industry if something isn’t done about it. Beside from dramatic price cuts, I am not aware of any other ways that cruise lines are trying to attract new customers and retain old ones. $400 for 7 nights in the Caribbean may seem like a great deal, but you couldn’t pay me $400 to risk a week vomiting in a cramped cabin. I would rather stay home and be healthy for free.

I think Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines could seriously benefit from some great use of social media. Right now the average age of a cruise customer is over 50. With the record low prices currently being offered cruises are within reach of many people in their 20’s. Target these customers where they live, the internet. With all the bad press that these cruise lines are getting it is up to them to create their own good press. Use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to feature pictures and testimonials of cruise passengers in real time. These companies need to show potential customers that these incidents are rare and isolated, that cruises are actually fun and a safe environment.

 

Check out these sites for more info on the most recent cruise disaster:

300 sickened on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Explorer Of The Seas’: GI Outbreak Sickens 300 Passengers And Crew

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Dennis Rodman, do you hate your publicist?

Dennis Rodman

Is it just me or have we been hearing that name a little too often over the past few months? So how has this 52 year old, cross-dressing, former NBA star made his way back into the spotlight? By befriending one of the most hated men in the world, North Korean president, Kim Jong Un.

Talk about a publicist’s nightmare.

Image

(photo: http://www.theguardian.com)

When first hearing of Rodman’s trips to North Korea for ‘basketball diplomacy’ I was skeptical but thought that it may be a good idea. Reasoning with the communist leader did not always go as planned, but maybe we could connect with him through one of his personal interests.

So they became friends, kind of weird but not too surprising seeing that we are talking about Dennis Rodman here. You know, that guy that wore this get up to his own book signing.

Image

(photo: http://www.nbcsports.com)

But it’s what happened earlier this month that really caused some damage to his public perception. Comments were made by Rodman defending the nation’s detention of an American citizen. In November, 2012 Kenneth Bae, a tour-guide leader) was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for allegations that he was attempting to overthrow the government through religion. Many Americans hoped that Rodman’s presence in the nation may lead to a release of the prisoner.

So now what? Shortly after the incident Rodman’s publicist issued a statement to The Associated Press on Rodman’s behalf apologizing to Kenneth Bae’s family and stating that he takes full responsibility for what he said. He also stated that he had been drinking that day and that his judgement was impaired.

Saturday the story hit that Rodman had checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center.

I believe that Rodman’s publicist took the right steps issuing a statement and I would assume advising him to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. So what advice can I offer him now? Unless Rodman is able to pull some strings and actually get Bae out of prison, I think it would be best for him to lie low for a while and then slowly try to rebuild his image.

Learn more:

Dennis Rodman says he loves North Korea’s Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman Regrets Comments on North Korea Prisoner

Target Data Breach… crisis averted?

target

In case you haven’t heard by now, Target had a data breach during the peak of the Christmas Shopping season that may have affected up to 110 million customers.

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, check out these stories from some major news outlets:
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/target-says-stolen-info-data-breach-hit-70-million-people-2D11894083
http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/22/news/companies/target-credit-card-hack/

Customer names, card numbers, expiration dates, pin numbers, and security codes of all these customers are now at the disposal of some unknown criminal. As expected in a situation like this, the public is more concerned about the steps that Target failed to take in order to prevent this kind of situation than about actual criminal that stole all the data. We live in a world where identity theft is prevalent and we try to do our best to protect ourselves by staying away from sketchy online venders and instead stick with reputable retailers. But unfortunately things don’t always go as planned and I think that Target has handled the situation well given the unfortunate circumstances.

No matter how terrible the situation, Target knew that if they failed to get the situation under control in a timely manner then things were bound to spin out of control. The same day that the story broke Target was issuing statements to the press and instructing customers to contact them in order to help answer any questions they had. The very next day they were offering a free year of credit monitoring to anyone affected by the breach.

I’m sure the executives at Target are praising their PR team for all the hours poured into creating an extensive crisis plan. It is so important to plan for the “what ifs”—knowing how to react in these unfortunate situations is something that has the ability to break even a well established company.