/ Travel & Leisure

Is good publicity always good for a company?

In the wake of the UK riots, there’s been a huge outpouring of altruism. Now a tour operator has announced it’ll waive rebooking fees for the police who had to return to the UK. Good publicity or a cynical move?

The riots on our streets this past week have left us all in need of a few more good turns. We’ve seen some amazing support from individuals in communities affected and now it’s heartening to see companies providing similar support.

A press release from the major tour operator TUI UK says police officers who had been forced to cancel their holidays, because they were needed on Britain’s streets, could re-book at Thomson or First Choice without any extra charges.

A similar good turn was recently offered by M&S Money when the travel company Holidays4U went bust. The foreign exchange service said it would provide a full refund to people who had bought currency for their cancelled trip.

Holidays are precious to us

These are just two companies that help people plan and take holidays. Between them, these acts show that they recognise the importance holidays have in our minds.

But sadly for them, research from the Future Foundation shows that less than half of Brits believe companies are fair to consumers. Plus, there’s also a general distrust of big institutions.

In these current uncertain times, we’re all looking out for companies that show us they understand the public mood and act in a socially responsible way. We need to find more companies that are listening, empathising and providing us with reasons to trust them.

I’m personally all for gestures like this and well done to these companies for giving people a helping hand. But I’m sure that others think these gestures are a bit cynical. After all, we know that companies do these things for good PR – does that make the act itself less valuable? I don’t think so – do you?


I want to see all companies (or the majority of) treating customers equally and fair, offering value for money.
There are companies out there that offer a good standard of basic customer service and put things right instantly they are alerted to them, most of the ones that have given me good service tend to be local businesses, where the customer’s word of mouth is very important to their business.
It is no surprise to me that people are cynical towards large companies, local ones also offer better prices.

Customer’s are objecting more to pricing by demographics or area today, many haven’t realised that this is almost common place now for all businesses. A pack of butter bought in one area is not always the same price when bought from the same company in another area.
An issue highlighted recently on twitter with eBooks and albums, charging two different prices.

Back to holidays, do I think this move is cynical? Not really, providing it’s is applied also to people who due to their businesses being looted/destroyed or home being attacked, etc, cancelled their holidays.
A well known holiday company have just announced that they are having a “late sale” – problem is that most customers who have been watching the prices, waiting for a late deal, will see that the new “sale price” is in fact £30 per person more expensive than it was two months ago.

Factor in different age groups, different prices in different areas, differences in prices when bought online, via the phone and on the high street, is it any wonder many people have a cynical view of them?
Only one price should be available for a product advertised by a company.

Providing goodwill to customers seems a better expenditure of companies’ money than spending it on expensive advertising campaigns. It is good for their reputation.

Goodwill from car manufacturers, via dealers, is one of the best examples of companies supporting customers who are faced with expensive repairs to vehicles outside the warranty period. Of course the customer may still be paying a large chunk of the cost of repairs needed because of poor design or manufacture, but it does help the customer and helps maintain customer loyalty.