Following the Sousse massacre Tui’s actions minimised damage to its brand but they’re not out of the woods yet, says Steve Dunne, executive chairman of Brighter Group
The real problem with these types of crises for brands like Tui is that they strike several times over a period of years and, just as the brand thinks it is back on an even keel in terms of reputation, it is thrust onto the top of the news cycle once again. And this is what has precisely happened with Sousse and Tui.
There was the incident itself, where Tui were quickly in the cross hairs of the media’s lens and they performed, I thought, brilliantly with Peter Long and Nick Longman showing firm leadership, remorse and sympathy. Tui did all the right things during that period and its reputation wasn’t hit too hard.
Then, 18 months later the crisis is back in the spotlight and back in the consciousness of the travel consumer. At this stage, the emotions around the incident have been replaced by the need to apportion blame and Tui’s reputation has taken a significant hit – particularly regarding safety advice and where that is featured on their website.
With the prospect of some relatives suing Tui in the future the brand’s reputation could take several more hits yet.
Tui’s brand reputation has been built up over decades and that effort and care by the tour operator will be needed now more than ever – the way the brand deals with the prospect of relatives suing it and how it responds to the findings of the inquest and what it does about the criticisms levelled at it will be crucial for its reputation in future years.
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