hotel public relations

As incendiary headlines go, this one is tough to beat. Apparently, the owner of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas has filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 victims of the mass shooting that took the lives of 58 people and wounded many more at a concert back in 2017.

Reaction to the headline, as it made the rounds on social media, was swift and vitriolic. People reacted with rage, directed against the Mandalay, the ownership, and, in general, the class of people assumed to own such establishments. That anger and criticism continued even as representatives of the hotel sought to explain the point of the legal action.

According to MGM Resorts International, the lawsuit is “does not seek money” and is intended to avoid liability and dismiss claims against the hotel, which has been named in several lawsuits as partly responsible for allowing Stephen Paddock, who was staying at the hotel, to use one of its rooms as his sniper’s nest. He had, reportedly, brought 23 weapons into the hotel.

So, a fair reading of the legal action offers at least some understanding of why it was undertaken, as well as why the ownership felt it was necessary. However, consumers, in many cases, are not really interested in offering sympathy for wealthy hotel owners when many people they can identify with – i.e. “regular folks” – suffered so greatly for just trying to have a good time at a concert.

Attorneys for some of the victims dismissed the hotel’s perspective as “outrageous” as well as “unethical.” And that sentiment was certainly popular among the countless millions who reacted in horror to the news of a gunman opening fire on a peaceful concert from his hotel room.

So, as far as tough audiences go, this is a prime example. That’s not to say the Mandalay ownership can’t successfully argue their case, either in court or in the court of public opinion. They just need to be patient with people who don’t understand their reasons or their motivations, but do understand what it feels like to be afraid just to go out in public, afraid that their next good time will be their last… that some “crazed gunman” will target their movie, their concert, or their vacation.

Because consumers tend to more easily identify with the victims in the case, rather than the hotel ownership, that’s a bias the ownership will have to address if they hope to position their messaging in a way that gains sympathy in the general public. So far, they aren’t scoring many points in that regard.

Ronn Torossian, 5WPR  CEO.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.