Brief, email is dated 26 December, 6 hours (French time), 12: 50 p.m. (Singapore time), Kani island in the Maldives: "A tidal wave is passed through the village." A few water-bungalows are adrift. "The email has been sent by the Director of human relations of the Asia of the Mediterranean Club, which provides the synthesizer during the Christmas holiday. Itself has to be informed by the head of the village of Kani and ran as requires it the procedure of crisis of the Club to alert the risk - manager, Xavier Graff. Almost at the same time, always at 6 a.m., the head of the village of Phuket, South Thailand, Christian Noret, contacts in turn Xavier Graff, before joining the Regional Directorate of Singapore. A few minutes later, it will be, finally, the turn mobile of Thierry Orsini, Director of communication of Club Med, ringing on his night table. Club managers have on them, in addition to a "crisis Guide", a vademecum indicating who to contact in case of problems: "the security services, to insurance, health, legal services and communication." "The very nature of our business involves an acute crisis culture", explains Thierry Orsini.
It takes one hour for managers to understand the extent and impact of the disaster. "There is no casualties but plenty of water and the village is completely destroyed, said at 7 p.m. a sent email this time of Faru, the second village of the Club in the Maldives." Remains of reserves of water and a bit of food could be saved. "Half an hour previously, Henri Giscard d'Estaing, the President of Club Med, holiday in the Netherlands, was awakened by his management and catches the first plane to Paris.
The crisis management system is engaged. It is called crisis "any event out of the standard, likely to jeopardise the safety of persons and facilities, the integrity of the brand and its image". All these elements are therefore concentrated: safety of 1,250 customers, 500 employees and 250 GB on the area affected by the tidal wave, severely damaged villages and image of the Club become associated with traumatic visions. All representatives of the transport services, relations members, communication, human resources, insurance, legal, commercial,... are asked to join the siege.
A first crisis unit brings together 15 people late morning. Image 7, the consulting company of Anne Méaux, who works on the communication from the group, is prevented, but won't participate remotely in the management of the crisis. It is first internally that the Club intends to manage crisis communication in the business as externally, to the general public and the financial community. The Asia region represents 12 of the turnover of Club Med (1.6 billion for 2004, the villages of Phuket, Kani and Faru weighing a little less than a third). The mobilization is even stronger than in the first hours, the media attention focused on the Club, which seems to be the most heavily affected tour operator, and the Maldives.
After the shock, therefore the action. "Crisis Guide" of the Club is clear. Exceptional and dramatic events, four elements must be taken into account: the lives of the people, the heritage of the Club, the image of the Club and its financial situation. Even today, the Club emphasizes the fact that the preservation of its image fell well below the concern for the protection of its customers and employees. The death, in 2000, to Athena, boy of seven years is drowning in the pool of the Greek village remained engraved in the memories. And the circumstances were radically different, trauma is perennial.
Therefore human lives from the tidal wave that the cell in crisis held from 26 to 29 December will act and communicate. Soon, the management of the Club will seize the chance he received, in contrast to the Accor Group: a single disappearance is regrettably a GO away by a wave at Phuket. The crisis cell decides to repatriate the world. Several aircraft are chartered for evacuations. All those who were in Phuket are first taken to Bangkok or Singapore. While the GM and the GB of Kani and Faru will travel first to Malé. Meanwhile, an emergency number has been implemented for families. And at 9: 53 p.m. on 26 December, a dispatch from the Club announces that no new victim is to deplore. The information will be relayed from the afternoon on LCI. The same evening, an internal email, Henri Giscard d'Estaing is for Club teams. While the group said the next day to the Reuters news agency that it is entirely covered for damage and operating losses not yet calculated (or needed). December 27, all GM of Phuket were evacuated. And on 29 December, it is the turn of the present GM in the Maldives in their family. The same day, the crisis cell is closed. In response to the speed of this response, award imposes that a 1 decrease in the title: the action will go back to 35.50 EUR for January 7.
It wasn't however until early March to discover the new campaign the Club Med signed Publicis, offset for "obvious" reasons, in contrast to the campaign Jet Tours, more institutional. However, it will not be disturbed in his message or the "high end" positioning now claimed. "But it will make a return of experience with all the players to see what worked and what could be improved", concludes Thierry Orsoni.