Trexpedition was founded in 1998 during the dot-com boom by Jane and June Junket, two adventurous but struggling entrepreneurs who were fed up with the lack of versatile, convenient online travel-booking options. Out of that necessity, Trexpedition was born! What started as a simple website that allowed users to book hotels in selected regions around the United States has expanded to one of the largest international online booking websites in the world. Today, it offers consolidated booking of all aspects of travel, including flights, hotels, rental cars, attractions/things to do, and cruises. Its motto is “What are you waiting for?” and its mission statement is “At Trexpedition, we are passionate about adventure. We want to make planning your next adventure as convenient and stress-free as possible.”
You are the director of customer service at Trexpedition and recently began to hear from your employees that there has been an influx of phone calls and emails from customers about their itineraries being visible on the internet. Unfortunately, Trexpedition was not prepared for this communications crisis, and you’ve done a little digging to uncover the problem. It appears that the information technology department was not appropriately staffed with cybersecurity specialists, and there was a data breach. This breach has made it possible for complete strangers to view the travel itineraries of many of your customers. Founders Jane and June Junket have turned to you for your help managing this unexpected crisis. As the director of customer service, your primary role will be to efficiently and effectively communicate to your customers about this data breach.
Jane and June Junket have asked you to create a risk report to help them identify why this crisis occurred. The risk report will help them avoid similar situations in the future and help you better understand the issue at hand. Then they would like you to create a message proposal that explains the situation to send to the public. Specifically, be sure to include the following:
- Risk Report: In your report, briefly summarize why the data breach at Trexpedition occurred. Explain what likely led to the current crisis, and list three to five possible risks that caused the data breach. Make a recommendation to Jane and June about which of the uncovered risks should be addressed first and why.
- Message Proposal: It is crucial that the message Trexpedition releases to the public is ethical, empathetic, and appropriate. In your message proposal, be sure to include the following:
- Introduction: Briefly explain why it is important to keep your customers and the public informed and updated on this data breach.
- Ethical and Legal Considerations: Discuss any ethical and legal considerations that are important for Trexpedition to consider when communicating to the public. Answer the following questions: What information should be disclosed? When should this information be disclosed? What medium should be used to disclose this information?
- Proposed Message: Create one message for your customers and one for the public regarding the data breach. Be sure to consider the concerns that your customers and the public might have about the breach, and explain how Trexpedition plans to address them. All communication should be clear and empathetic.
- In particular, in your message to customers, be sure to include the next steps for the customer. For example, will Trexpedition offer services to help combat the potentially negative impact this may have? What are those services, and how should the customer sign up for them?
- Method of Delivery: Select an appropriate method or methods of delivery for your communications. Be sure to consider how this information will be delivered to both customers and the public. Will the method be the same or different?
What to Submit
- Risk Report
In this report, you will assess the risks that resulted from the current communications crisis at Trexpedition. You will also prioritize the risks to help determine the best response(s) to the data breach. This report should be 250 to 500 words in length.
- Message Proposal
You will create two messages: one to send to your customers and one to send to the public. You will propose the method of communication or delivery and provide a rationale as to why these messages will be most effective, including ethical and legal considerations, appropriate technologies, and communication best practices. This proposal should be 750 to 1,000 words in length.
Kim, B., Johnson, K., & Sun-Young, P. (2017). Lessons from the five data breaches: Analyzing framed crisis response strategies and crisis severity. Cogent Business & Management, 4(1)http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311975.2017.1354525
Wrobel, L. A., & Wrobel, S. M. (2009). Disaster recovery planning for communications and critical infrastructure. Artech House. Read page 1 of Chapter 1: Why do we need recovery plans ?
Wrobel, L. A., & Wrobel, S. M. (2009). Disaster recovery planning for communications and critical infrastructure. Artech House. Read pages 13–19 in Chapter 2 (The Concept of 4Ci: Command and Control in a Disaster)
Read Section 4.3
Nätti, S., Rahkolin, S., & Saraniemi, S. (2014). Crisis communication in key account relationships. Corporate Communications, 19(3), 234-246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-08-2012-0056
Millar, D. P., & Heath, R. L. (Eds.). (2003). Responding to crisis : A rhetorical approach to crisis communication. Taylor & Francis Group. Read Chapter 1 (A Rhetorical Approach to Crisis Communication: Management, Communication Processes, and Strategic Responses)
Coombs, W. T. (Academic). (2015). Crisis communication [Video]. SAGE Knowledge. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473933057
Wrobel, L. A., & Wrobel, S. M. (2009). Disaster recovery planning for communications and critical infrastructure. Artech House. Read pages 2–5 of Chapter 1 (Why Do We Need Recovery Plans?)
Sellnow, T. L., Seeger, M. W., & Sellnow, T. L. (2013). Theorizing crisis communication. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Read Chapter 9 (Theories of Crisis Communications and Ethics)
Saleh, Y. D. (2016). Crisis management : The art of success & failure : 30 case studies in business & politics. Mill City Press. Read article : Do Ethics matter ?
Wrobel, L. A., & Wrobel, S. M. (2009). Disaster recovery planning for communications and critical infrastructure. Artech House. Read pages 20–29 of Chapter 2 (The Concept of 4Ci: Command and Control in a Disaster)
Veil, S. R., & Husted, R. A. (2012). Best practices as an assessment for crisis communication. Journal of Communication Management, 16(2), 131-145. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13632541211217560
Butterworth, M. L. (Academic). (2015). Image repair [Video]. SAGE Knowledge. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473932715
Sellnow, T. L., Seeger, M. W., & Sellnow, T. L. (2013). Theorizing crisis communication. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Read pages 165–184 of Chapter 7 (Theories of Influence and Crisis Communication)
Wrobel, L. A., & Wrobel, S. M. (2009). Disaster recovery planning for communications and critical infrastructure. Artech House. Read pages 30–36 in Chapter 2 (The Concept of 4Ci: Command and Control in a Disaster)
Sellnow, T. L., Seeger, M. W., & Sellnow, T. L. (2013). Theorizing crisis communication. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Read pages 250–256 in Chapter 10 (Using Theories of Crisis Communication)
Walaski, P. (. (2011). Risk and crisis communications : Methods and messages. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Read pages 82–89 in Chapter 6 (Delivering the Message While Avoiding Common Mistakes)
Walaski, P. (. (2011). Risk and crisis communications : Methods and messages. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Read pages 101–108 of Chapter 7 (Working With the Media)
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