"Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations
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In A Dutch Town, A Glowing Bike Path Inspired By Van Gogh

In A Dutch Town, A Glowing Bike Path Inspired By Van Gogh | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
A modern artist installed a high-tech brick path that glows in the starry night, an homage to one of Van Gogh's most famous paintings.
Holly Kotner's insight:

Everyone loves a good Van Gogh painting, and to many, Starry Night, is their favorite. (I personally LOVE Sunflowers.) Starry Night does have something magical about it, the way the sky is swirled, the colors.. Really, it’s breathtaking. So breathtaking that artist Dan Roosegaarde wanted to pay a tribute to the legend by creating a Starry Night themed bike path in Van Gogh’s

hometown of Eindhoven.

 

I’m sure the pictures don’t even do it justice, and they already look amazing. I can only imagine it lit up at night. It glows in the dark by LED solar-powered lights.

 

The path covers about a half a mile and was finished November 13, 2014. The actual unveiling of the bike path will not be until 2015. This may not seem like a significant date, but it is the 125th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death (1853-1890). It’s amazing that some people are that compassionate about the arts and honoring them. We need more Samaritans like them in this world!

 

This article reminded me a lot of the “Greatest Job in the World,” campaign. I don’t think Roosegaarde ever really thought that his idea of a Starry Night bike path would be such a hit. Tourists of all walks of life will be journeying to Eindhoven to take part in the Van Gogh Cycle Route. The route consists of 208 miles of five individual round trips.

 

I think this idea of having a bike path, which is fuel efficient, lit up by solar-powered light, energy efficient, and is a great initiative on the Netherlands part. Not only will they be gaining tourists, but they will also be doing it in an eco-friendly way. I think it’s amazing that they are honoring a legend in such a timeless,

economically efficient way.

 

Sometimes, I look at the world and think we are doing it wrong. Seeing places like Ferguson literally falling to pieces. But then, I see articles like this. It makes me really happy to see that I live in a world of hope and imagination. And that this is something that my children will be able to look forward to. There’s a lot of bad in the world, but then again, there’s a lot of good, too. That’s what makes me happy.

 

Oh, the places you can go!

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World's tallest roller coaster set to scrape Orlando's skies

World's tallest roller coaster set to scrape Orlando's skies | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
Plans are underway to build the world's tallest -- and possibly most terrifying -- roller coaster at an Orlando, Florida, theme park due to open in 2017.
Holly Kotner's insight:

How many of you enjoy roller coasters? They aren’t for the fain-of-heart, and “Polercoaster,” is no exception. I, personally, love the thrill of roller coasters, but seeing the image of the soon-to-be “Polercoaster,” even I get a little queasy.

 

Orlando, Florida Six Flags released a statement in June 2014 saying that they would be building an all new rollercoaster. Something that was different from the rest. The “Polercoaster,” is set to be at the amazing height of 570 ft. That’s over twice the height of Cedar Points’ 1989 “Magnum XL-200.”

 

Height isn’t the only thing to take into consideration when researching roller coasters. The “Polercoaster,” is a unique structure. At 570 ft. tall, the width of the ride is only 150 ft. in diameter. That’s really not that big, considering the height. The “Polercoaster,” had to be innovative in this sense, to travel and figure out thrilling “drops” that all roller coasters are famous for. They did mention one drop in the works of 123 degrees, which makes it possible the steepest coaster drop in the world.

 

With as many thrill-seeking roller coaster enthusiasts the world has, this has definitely been the talk of the travel industry. Since Orlando Six Flags released a virtual tour of the roller coaster, it has received over 40 thousand views. Six Flags plans to start construction in 2015 and have the “Polercoaster,” up and running for the theme park season (summer) 2017.

 

Because this is such an exciting and thrilling new attraction, I related the opening of the “Polercoaster,” to the “Greatest Job in the World,” campaign. Much like that campaign, Six Flags announced that they were planning to add the world’s largest roller coaster to their Orlando location summer 2017. They really didn’t say much detail, until thrill-seekers got word of this new coaster, and wanted to know more. Since then, Six Flags has released the virtual tour of the coaster and has over 40 thousand views, not to mention all of the comments counting down the days until they can ride this new skyscraper.

 

Many await for the newest, tallest coaster to begin construction. “Cancel the vacation to Disney! We’re going to Six Flags! Check this out!” stated one excited YouTube user. That’s just one of many positive comments on the video. Having the world’s largest, tallest, whatever always bring in new tourists, but my questions is, after the “Polercoaster,” is built, how tall will the next tallest roller coaster be? 

 

Oh, the places you'll go!

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Halloween horror cruise became 'nightmare,' passengers say; ship evacuated

Halloween horror cruise became 'nightmare,' passengers say; ship evacuated | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
It was a scare no one aboard the Halloween horror cruise expected.
Holly Kotner's insight:

Halloween is full of tricks and treats! Everyone knows that. The Bahamas Celebration Cruise Line was doing everything but giving treats on their “Halloween Horror” themed cruise. In fact, I’m sure each passenger was celebrating the cruise was over! It wasn’t that it was supposed to be a haunted cruise, just a Halloween themed trip. I mean, it was Halloween, who doesn’t love to dress up and party, especially in the Bahamas? But, boy oh boy, did this cruise live up to its name. Passengers thought the jolt and noise was all a prank, a trick, however, it didn’t appear to be that way. Guests were trapped on this horror ride in complete darkness—for hours.

 

You would think after the Carnival cruise mishap, other cruise ships would take into consideration any possible crisis that could happen out in the middle of nowhere. But I guess there are some things no one can predict, like the ships’ vessel hitting something thus losing complete power of the ship. Fortunately, for Celebration Cruise Line’s case, it only lasted a few hours and no one was injured during the process. CCL had guests wear life preservative jackets until they could evacuate the ship and boarded them up into resorts while waiting to return back to Florida (where they originally boarded.)

 

I related this article back to the Facebook article we read in class. Celebration Cruise Lines made a statement saying that no one was hurt and that this whole ordeal remained very organized throughout the night. Guests beg to differ, saying there was nothing about this crisis organized at all. However, they didn’t offer any type of refund or even apology. It just seemed very abrupt, much like the Facebook apology-- which was very little.

 

I also related it to our Carnival Cruise article. Even though they are similar crisis, much like Carnival Cruise lines, Celebration Cruise lines kept in touch with the media throughout the crisis. They didn’t try to hide this fiasco, instead, they let the public aware of what was going on. Granted, I don’t think they handled the situation the best they could, but it didn’t get too out of hand, either. (At least they don’t have to deal with the “oh ship! I shipped my pants!” commercials.)

 

Now that Carnival Cruise isn’t the only cruise line to have a mishap under their belt, I wonder how many new travelers will venture on to another cruise ship in their lifetime. Anything can happen, and traveling on the open sea has its advantages and disadvantages. 

 

**Celebration Cruise Line did cancel other cruises set for the weekend to work on the vessels.

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Hotwire (And Other Online) Customer Relations -- Where Art Thou?

Hotwire (And Other Online) Customer Relations -- Where Art Thou? | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
In the Internet age, many companies have dramatically downsized their customer service operations. Sometimes, it requires an investigation even to locate a real human responsible for interacting with the public. The ability to automate traditional customer relations has certainly reduced costs for companies, but has left many customers frustrated by unresponsive [...]
Holly Kotner's insight:

Are we living in a world full of pseudonym customer service agents? Chances are, probably so.

 

Have you ever called a company to reach their customer service? I’m sure we all have. But I’m guessing we never really thought “Joe” from “Joe Shmoe’s” wasn’t really named Joe. That’s just what this article was trying to figure out. Where are the REAL customer relations people?! Are they real people or just made up drones that send us automated messages until we keep clicking zero for SUPERVISOR (because face it, we’ve all gotten fed up and asked to speak with a supervisor.)

 

This article focuses on whether or not “Amy L. Monfils” from the customer care relations department at Hotwire is a real person or not.  After receiving a standard email signed by Amy, Adam Tanner (who wrote the article), wanted to dig deeper, so he contact Hotwires spokeswoman, Monica Caires and she said she would look into it. After a month of trying to get back in touch with her, she stated that she couldn’t comment on Hotwires customer care. And also not to quote her by name, but instead as a plural (i.e. “the experts at hotwire.”). So, he decided to look into it even more. He searched her name and found one match. One match in the ENTIRE world. She couldn’t be reached.

 

When this got around to Hotwires CEO, Henrik Kjellberg, he stated that he knows most of the people he works with, but not every caller agent. But that he was told that Amy was a real person.

Even though most companies are founded on made up names, like the famous Betty Crocker or Little Debbie, it does make a difference when we are dealing with customer service issues. Those people should be real. We, as customers, put our trust in these agents.

We live in a very personalized culture, where everything has our name on it. We don’t make up our names on the phone, so the agents dealing with us shouldn’t, either.

 

I related this article to our Image Restoration Theory reading. Because at first I think Hotwire tried to evading responsibility by using the scapegoating route. At first, the spokeswoman acted like she would get to the bottom of the issue, and then came back around saying she couldn’t comment on the issue and not to use her name. Then, I think they moved into the reducing offensiveness phase by using minimization with the CEO. He said he knew most of the people who worked under him but that it was possible he didn’t know every single caller agent, but that he was told she was a real person. So he made the problem seem like it was no big deal. I also think that when the CEO got in contact with Adam, he was doing the corrective action phase, by confronting the issue and letting him know he was aware of what was going on and not just ignoring this issue.

 

Adam never got a definite answer. So next time you’re on the phone with a travel agent, who knows if you’re really talking to “Amy” or not. But oh, the places you’ll go!

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Analysis: Malaysia Airlines' mishandled response to the MH370 crisis

Analysis: Malaysia Airlines' mishandled response to the MH370 crisis | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
Analysis: Malaysia Airlines' mishandled response to the MH370 crisis. From PR Week
Holly Kotner's insight:

I’m sure by now, everyone has heard of flight MH370 and that they know that this plane is still missing to this day. Almost 6 months have passed, and still no leads to where this plane might be? It’s kind of fascinating that in this day and age, something as big as an airplane with almost 300 passengers on board can completely vanish. But something even more fascinating would be how the Malaysian airlines handled this horrible situation. Quick hint—they didn’t handle it well.
 

The search for this aircraft now includes over 26 countries, yet we are still waiting for answers.

First of all, Malaysian Airlines initial response wasn’t until 5 hours after the aircraft went missing. Not to mention, it wasn’t given by the CEO of the Malaysian Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, but instead the response was given by the lead spokesman. In any crisis situation an organization is going through, it’s extremely important that the CEO, the boss, the head of the organization passes on vital information, not anyone else. I think in this situation, they were evading responsibility by saying it was an accident. (Image Restoration Theory) They lost contact with Flight MH370 on hour into the plane ride, but they were saying it obviously wasn’t intentional and that they really had no control over it.
 

However, a week after MH370 went missing, they did begin to handle their communication a little better. The airline announced to the families, via SMS blast, that they were sending out new phone lines for them to contact the airport about the crisis of MH370. They used this as their choice of corrective action in the image restoration theory. But honestly, that still isn’t enough.
 

Here we are, 6 months later with hardly any new information on the missing flight MH370. From a PR stand point, that’s horrifying. Here we are in 2014 with a constant, down to the minute newsfeed available at our fingertips, and we still have an aircraft of 300 people completely missing, for 6 months! I don’t even know how that is possible. Malaysians Airlines PR team really need to focus on the families of the passengers and relaying any new information on the aircraft to them. Not only that, but they should be sending out constant updated information to educate the public on the whereabouts of this plane. It’s not about just finding the plane, it’s about finding an answer to where these individuals are.

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Blind Ambition

Blind Ambition | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
Erik Weihenmayer has climbed Mount Everest, raced across the Moroccan desert, and is about to kayak the Grand Canyon's deadliest rapids – all without being able to see.
Holly Kotner's insight:

Have you ever imagined life without hearing? What about smelling? Can you imagine life without seeing? I know I couldn’t. That’s why I found Erik Weilhenmayer to be a true hero.

 

Weilhenmayer was born on September 23, 1968. As a child, he didn’t want his blindness to hold him back. He lost his vision at the young age of 13, but that didn’t seem to stop him. He is an American athlete, adventurer, author and the only blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. As amazing as that sounds, that isn’t his only accomplishment. He has also made notable climbs in Yosemite, competed in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, the Primal Quest adventure race and in September 2014, he and a fellow blind kayaker took on the Grand Canyons’ 277 mile ride from Lee’s Ferry to Pierce Ferry.

 

One may think that if a blind man can ride a bike or climb a mountain, then he could definitely take on a 21 day kayak “float.” But this by far was one of Weilhenmayer’s most treacherous adventures thus far.  As if it weren’t insane enough for one blind adventurer to take on the Grand Canyon, Weilhenmayer was accompanied by fellow blind adventurer and military vet, Lonnie Bedwell.

 

“Team Big E,” which includes Weilhenmayer, Bedwell and half a dozen other skilled kayakers took on the voyage in September. One of the most astonishing things to realize, is that to the average person seeing these kayakers make it down stream, they must think everything is completely normal. That there could ever be, not only one but two, blind men on board! As a fellow kayaker myself, I find it nothing short of amazing.

 

Currently, Weilhenmayer has a website where you can read his full biography, read his blog and learn about his programs. He also has a Facebook page with around 10,000 likes. He shares updates with his followers pretty frequently.

 

With the use of social media, Weilhenmayer has become an “outdoor” celebrity. He’s able to shares his stories and accomplishments for all of his followers. The way I related Weilhenmayer back to our readers was through the article about Under Armor. Like Under Armor, Weilhenmayer wasn’t getting the coverage he needed. He was doing amazing adventures, and he was blind while doing so. It wasn’t until he climbed Mount Everest that he became the cover of Time Magazine. Since then, he has become a legend all adventurers admire.

 

Oh, the places you can go!

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Ebola fears crippling Africa's safari industry

Ebola fears crippling Africa's safari industry | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
Survey of 500 safari operators finds more than half report a 20- to 70-percent decline in bookings since Ebola outbreak.
Holly Kotner's insight:

By now, we’ve all heard of Ebola and its massive hit on West Africa. So we can all imagine what the Travel and Tourism industry is like there—quick hint, it’s decreased. A lot. Actually, a 70% drop. But what tourists don’t realize is that Africa is a very vast country. Actually, West Africa and East Africa are over 5,000 kilometers apart. For those of you who don’t know how far that is, it is about the same distance as East Africa to Europe. Pretty far. But still, mention Africa and everyone automatically begins a big discussion of Ebola.

 

So what the travel and tourism industry are trying to do is to still convince tourists to come to East Africa for different travel purposes. One of those major expenditures: safari expeditions. Those are down 70% this year alone. Safari leaders are trying to convince tourists that East Africa is safe from Ebola, but it’s not as easy as they originally thought. 2014 was supposed to be there most profitable year, and now that the panic and threat of Ebola has set in for billions of people, bookings to any part of Africa are way down.

 

The way I related this article back to our readings is to the 58 Cognitive Biases and the Agenda Setting theory. I think that the travel and tourism industry could pull a few of these techniques to convince tourists to venture into East Africa. Currently, tourists are on the bandwagon or confirmation bias because of the news. That’s because, right now, Ebola is all over the news (because that’s what they want us to hear a.k.a.: Agenda Setting Theory.) Viewers see that and then automatically think the entire country is infested. The news is using the agenda setting theory by letting us see the possible threats we, as travelers, could potentially face. Already realizing that Ebola is in the United States has scared millions of people, myself included.

 

But in all reality, the average American is more likely to catch the Flu than Ebola, yet some people still refrain from getting a Flu shot. Why’s that? Because what the news projects into the viewer’s eyes. If the East Africa travel industry could just send some statistics and more information of being safe, maybe they wouldn’t take such a hard hit in their wallets. Being able to be in some type of charge of what the news puts out there is exactly what they need to be doing. 

 

Oh, the places you can go!

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Puerto Rico Tourism Ads Look to TripAdvisor to Build Trust

Puerto Rico Tourism Ads Look to TripAdvisor to Build Trust | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
Visit Puerto Rico's new tourism ads urge visitors to "Come to Puerto Rico and live your own 5-star vacation story" based on TripAdvisor 5-star ratings.
Holly Kotner's insight:

Puerto Rico: The Happiest Place on Earth…

 

Instead of doing a crisis scoop.it, I decided to focus on a more positive story—Puerto Rico’s “Five Star Island” campaign that started in September 2013. This campaign is set to last 3 years and will feature TripAdvisor logos and quotes.

 

Seepuertorico.com completely revamped their website for this campaign to really make sure that this campaign would be right out there for everyone to see. Personally, I think they did a pretty amazing job at doing so. They also created videos with local celebrities to share travel reviews that show that Puerto Rico really is “Heaven on Earth.” (video 3 on this artivle) Viewers are able to see what they can do to “live their own five star vacation story.”

 

So far, this campaign has been measurable. The spokesperson for See Puerto Rico says that website traffic is up, but did not share any specific numbers.

 

The way I related it back to what we’ve read is with the “Best Job in the World” campaign case study. They started out pretty small with print ads, then to TV, then billboards and last but certainly not least—pushing it online by completely redoing their website, similar to what the Best Job in the World campaign did.

 

Another way these two case studies are similar, is that they both have attracted tourists to their island. However, they used different tactics to attract these tourists, though, their strategies were similar: they both wanted to showcase the beauty of these islands and to become the “dream vacation spot” so to speak. After viewing the “Best Job in the World” campaign, and these videos for the “Five Star Island” campaign, I think they both seem amazing, and want to travel to both!

 

Even though Puerto Rico is currently in the middle of this campaign (it will run through 2015), I think they have been very successful thus far. I never imagined Puerto Rico as a vacation spot until this past winter. One of my friends had a destination wedding there and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. Puerto Rico has so much to offer—from zip-lining, to horseback riding, to hiking in amazing forests or even just lounging on the beautiful beaches they have to offer—it all looks absolutely amazing.

 

Oh, the places you'll go! (Hopefully you all can go to Puerto Rico!)

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Despite missteps, Carnival's PR was proactive during Triumph crisis

Despite missteps, Carnival's PR was proactive during Triumph crisis | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
The company offered constant updates on Facebook about the 'vacation from hell,' but one tone-deaf tweet irked a number of people. 
Holly Kotner's insight:

Did you ever imagine a beautiful, peaceful 5 day cruise through Mexico? Chances are, a lot of people have at some point. But after all of the Carnival Cruise mishaps, things may have changed, but maybe not.

 

Carnival is now know for unpleasant history of ships breaking down, unfortunately. However, I find it amazing that they are still in business. Especially after not one, but two major break downs! How can Carnival even come back from that?

 

Well ladies and gentlemen, it is possible. First we have the mortification stage where they apologized to the public and thanked several different organizations, such as the Costal Guard, Customs and Board Protection and the City and Port of Mobil, AL for their help and cooperativeness during this crisis. I think that since Carnival addressed the problem and kept a timeline on their Facebook of what was going on, they received a lot of credibility since they weren’t trying to hide the fact their ship broke down or push the blame on others. Instead, they handled it the best they could, and in all actuality, I believe they did a pretty amazing job. I mean people are still going on cruises, right?

 

I think they then moved on to a more comical side and went along with all the jokes being made. They even tweeted: “Of course the bathrobes for the Carnival Triumph are complimentary.” Which received mixed reviews. Personally, I think they were trying to make light of the situation, I mean they were already facing Kmarts, “Ship my pants,” commercial, which still to this day makes me crack up.

 

Even though it was a long, smelly 5 days, everyone was okay and Carnival Triumph made it back to Mobil, Alabama’s shores safely. And now they’ve entered, and I believe are still in, the compensation phase. They have given away cruises for the passengers that boarded the infamous Carnival Triumph and not only that, but they have also lowered their prices for everyone. Some cruises only cost $38 per night—that’s a lot cheaper than the St. Louis hotels! I think their PR team is really trying to bring back the luxury of Carnival Cruises by making it a pretty affordable getaway. Personally, I haven’t heard of any Carnival Cruise mishaps since the Carnival Triumph went down the, well we’ll say drain this time.

 

 

It might not always be pretty, but Oh, the places you’ll go!

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6 PR and marketing lessons from the travel industry

6 PR and marketing lessons from the travel industry | "Oh the Places You'll Go!" Public Relations | Scoop.it
Accommodating your clientele is just the beginning. So, please put your tray table in the upright and locked position, and let's get going.
Holly Kotner's insight:

Have you ever had a delayed flight? I know I’ve had several and it never fails to be anything short of frustrating and a huge headache. But that really isn’t the airlines fault, is it? This article goes over six PR and marketing lessons from the travel industry. Whether it’s a delayed flight, unfavorable travel weather or blaming airlines for “ruining” your trip, this article provides some helpful lessons every PR professional can benefit from (In travel and in real life).
 

No one ever knows when an incident is going to happen, or else it probably wouldn’t happen in the first place, right? With PR, there is always going to be something that doesn’t go quite as planned, so it’s important to be prepared for those certain instances. PR lesson number one: Have a plan b. It’s not a bad thing to be safe rather than sorry. The same thing goes with public relations.
 

Let’s go back to the headache of delayed flights and unfavorable travel weather. Did you let it ruin your entire trip? Chances are, probably not. Maybe it ruined those few moments in your life where you had to put together another plan to make it work, but it all worked out in the end, right? PR lesson number two: don’t let it get the best of you. Change your plan to what will work. You’ve got to be on you’re A game when it comes to dealing with the public in the middle of a bump in the road, and that’s with any issue!
 

And last but not least, are you judgmental to traveling to beautiful places because of prior headlines? “Miami is dangerous, I won’t go there,” “Mexico is so unsafe,” we’ve all seen them before, but have you really looked any further into it than that? PR Lesson number three: Dig down into the heart of the issue. Think before you speak! You can’t take your words back, and your mouth can get you into a lot of trouble. There are dangerous and unsafe parts wherever you go, but there are also a lot of beautiful, fun things to do in Miami and Mexico that you can’t do anywhere else. As long as you educate yourself on the issue, don’t just throw the entire idea away. Look into it, you may be surprised with the outcome.

 

Traveling can be a headache sometimes, but oh the places you’ll go!

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