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Recovering from crisis PR campaign

The Brief:

The agency was engaged to rebuild visitation to Christchurch from Australia, after the city was hit with a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011, which killed 185 people and caused widespread damage to the city.

The Approach:

Barking Owl Communications worked with key trade partners and operators, hotels and airlines to tell the story in the right way at the right time using a phased approach to this crisis communications strategy. We arranged a series of media briefings and interviews with Christchurch Tourism CEO and the Mayor around key developments taking place in Christchurch, distributed bi-monthly blog and news releases and established a robust media famil program which incorporated traditional, digital and social media for the story to be told through traveller’s eyes. We also capitalised on commercial opportunities such as Valentine’s Day where we developed a story on “tradies and their ladies” playing off the influx of workers employed to rebuild the city.

The Results:

  • Significant positive media coverage was generated in key outlets including; The Australian’s Travel and Indulgence, Vacations and Travel, The Sun Herald, Sunday News and Golf Magazine among others.

  • We met the original objective of increasing visitation, with many Australians visiting Christchurch as a result of the positive media coverage generated.

  • A survey also revealed 75% of respondents said they would be comfortable visiting Christchurch, which was up from 60% 12 months earlier.


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