Exploring crisis communications during a pandemic from a cruise marketing managers perspective: an application of construal level theory

Liz Sharples*, Judith Fletcher-Brown, Jason Sit, Marta Nieto-Garcia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Crisis communications are vital to business in times of uncertainty because clear messaging inspires confidence, keeps stakeholders updated and will help companies continue to trade successfully. Recently, the COVID-19 crisis has challenged traditional communication practice in the cruise sector, highlighting the limitations of traditional crisis communications approaches. Applying Construal Level Theory, this study aims to consider psychological distance and construal levels in cruise practitioners messaging. The study relies on a qualitative research design. We interviewed 15 experts to understand how the industry communicates with travellers during a time of crisis. The data analysis adopts the Gioia method which uses a sensemaking and sense giving approach. This study’s contribution is threefold. First, we extend existing knowledge about crisis marketing communication practice by focusing on cruise practitioners’ instead of travellers’ perspectives. Second, we identify an additional temporal stage, which has not been previously considered by Construal Level Theory, to communicate with travellers. We label it, ‘critical crisis communication mid-point’. Third, we offer a preliminary practitioner-led conceptualization of managing crisis marketing communications for the cruise and other service industries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Early online date11 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 11 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • construal level theory
  • crisis
  • cruise industry
  • marketing communications
  • mid-point
  • practitioner

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