Vancouver Tourism, reacting to the riots following the Canucks' loss in the Stanley Cup, is providing destination marketing organizations everywhere with a lesson in crisis communications.
While many DMOs might have answered such an image-hit reflexively with defensive pronouncements or just ignored the situation, Vancouver Tourism decided to let the people -- the community -- do the talking.
The tourism board entered a blog post and created ThisIsOurVancouver.com and invited people to post thoughts, photos and videos about "the real Vancouver."
Vancouver Tourism says:
Have something to say? Download and print a board, write your message and post it in your office, at your school, at your workplace or anywhere else you want to show your support.
And, the people have responded, dousing the riotous flames with some Vancouver love here in the form of historic photos, videos, poems and thoughts.
This is an effective social media counterpunch to a crisis situation in tourism.
And, unless there is a crush of last-minute cancellations, it appears that Vancouver travel will fare well enough after the riot fallout, at least as captured in Priceline.com data about its 50 most popular destinations in North America for the July 4 holiday weekend.
Based on actual Priceline bookings, Vancouver Downtown was 35th on the 2011 list, compared with 47th in Priceline's 2010 ranking.
And, Vancouver Airport area took the 47th spot among the most popular destinations for the U.S. Independence Day weekend, and this section of Vancouver didn't make the top 50 in the annual survey a year later.
The most popular destination in the 2011 survey for the July 4 weekend is the Chicago neighborhood between Michigan Avenue and the River North area.