Communicating from the Taj

December 13, 2008

Communicating from the Taj

As I posted a few weeks ago, I followed how hotels and government organizations dealt with the Mumbai terrorist crisis in late November. When I saw a full page ad from the Taj in this week’s WSJ, I returned to the Taj Hotel website to see if I could get a screen shot of the compelling advertisement. The ad was a picture of the beautiful wedding cake turret at the top of the Taj with a quote “I have held my ground as human history has unfolded in its timeless procession of laughter and tears, courage and cowardice, good and evil. I will prevail.”  I am now very glad that I revisited the web site as it was well worth the return. The Taj Mumbai hotel site (owned by Tata) is a best practice of how Web sites should communicate after tragic events befall them. Unfortunately there is now a growing genre of these types of online sites.  The Taj site has many different headers underneath a picture of the beautiful Taj before the attacks – Home, Previous Updates, Media Reports, Messages, Condolences, Reservations, Our People, The Hotel, Guest Baggage Retrieval, Ideas & Help, Contact Us.

  • Under “Our People,” you find the pictures of those Taj men and women who lost their lives. They display the picture, their age and a profile about each one. Reminds me of the 9-11 profiles that filled the pages of the NYTimes for weeks and were nearly impossible to ignore.
  • Under “Ideas & Help,” you can let the Taj know if you have any suggestions for restoring the hotel.
  • The “Media Reports” catalogues all the news on how the Taj is rebuilding and commemorating the lives of those who died.
  • The “Condolences” section is exactly what you would expect. Expressions of sympathy from people from around the world who once stayed at the hotel, dreamed of staying at the hotel or who just want to extend their sympathy. They are amazing to read and the heartfelt loss and warmth jumps off the page.
  • If you were a guest during these tragic moments, there is information under “Guest Baggage Retrieval” on getting your personal belongings back as swiftly as possible. The tone is just right.

You can feel the care taken in the words chosen, the simple, elegant and muted colors and the determination to reopen the Tower on December 21. From reading the messages to the Taj, you can tell that the Taj’s reputation was glorious. One after another comment talked about the fine times travelers had there. Their reputation restoration will most definitely succeed.

I now have screen shots of the site in case I get asked for a best practice of communications during these most challenging of times.  I only wish I will never be asked for them.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

2 Comments
  • Patrick
    Posted at 11:38h, 04 January Reply

    I find your posts always interesting and thought provoking. Taj Mahal’s handling of the post-crisis on its website is certainly a best practice case. I was just wondering if you have come across other similar best practices.

  • Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross
    Posted at 20:19h, 04 January Reply

    Thanks Patrick. I will let you know if I come across any more interesting examples. I usually follow websites during crises and will share one the next time one appears. The way things are going these days, should be fairly soon. Best, lgr

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