Managing the reputation of cruise lines in times of crisis A review of current practices
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The cruise industry is one of the fastest growing sectors within the tourism and hospitality industry. Reputation serves as one of cruise lines’ key assets, as it can affect customers’ attitude, perceptions, and travel decisions. The onset of a crisis on cruise lines not only can negatively impact passengers and crew members, but also can damage the cruise lines’ reputations, which can lead to bad publicity, distorted brand image, and revenue loss. To cope with these challenges, scholars have highlighted the importance of crisis management practices as well as effective crisis responses. Accordingly, the purpose of this book chapter is to examine cruise lines current crisis management/crisis response strategies. Guided by the Situational Crisis Communication Theory, a total of 14 responses from major cruise lines between 2013 to 2017 were collected and analyzed. The results of this study revealed mixed findings --most cruise lines have adopted the most appropriate reputational management strategies, while failing to provide enough public safety information. Based on the findings, further discussions on how to effectively respond to major incidents on cruise ships and to protect organizational reputation during crisis times were included.