Cornell Study Chronicles Communication Channels after BP Oil Spill

Sep 16, 2015

Contact: Carol Zhe, 607.254.4504,

Cornell Study Chronicles Communication Channels after BP Oil Spill

Ithaca, NY, September 16, 2015 - In the wake of the settlement for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new report from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell University chronicles the communication factors that led to canceled travel plans and poor regard for BP as a corporation. The report, "How the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Damaged the Environment, the Travel Industry, and Corporate Reputations," by Alex Susskind, Mark Bonn, and Benjamin Lawrence, is available at no charge from the CHR. Susskind is an associate professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA); Bonn is a professor at Florida State University; and Lawrence is an assistant professor at SHA.

Focusing on BP's corporate credibility and plans for tourism to northwest Florida, the study examines the communication channels used by 540 respondents in the year following the oil spill. "Needless to say, we found that few travelers planned to go to northwest Florida after the spill, but there was more to the story," said Susskind. "In particular, we found that survey participants who had strong environmental leanings were far less likely to plan a trip to Florida. Those environmentally aware people also had a much lower opinion of BP than those who were not concerned about the environment."

Susskind added that the survey respondents as a group had a relatively low regard for BP and its remediation efforts, but there were differences that related to each participant's main information channel. "Respondents who relied on television networks or cable had a somewhat more favorable view of the company than those who used the internet, perhaps due to BP's advertising efforts," Susskind noted. "On the other hand, people who read newspapers or used word of mouth thought much less of BP. Thus, we can see that the media channel does make a difference when companies are seeking to promote their corporate responsibility efforts."

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial, and operating practices. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

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