Danielle Barbe is a PhD candidate at UF, who works in the Crisis Management Initiative within Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute.  


Nationality: Toronto, Canada. “Go Raptors!”  

Past work experience: Hospitality and tourism - restaurant hostess, bartender, research assistant, professor 

Favorite UF experience: Friends. She is glad for the EFTI community she became part of, friends who helped her feel included after initial loneliness when moving to the US.  

Favorite past project: A project about misinformation conducted in partnership with the communications department.  

Peers she admires: The international students at UF that come to the US from a non-English speaking country without extensive English knowledge and succeed in classes, research, papers and presentations in English.  

Favorite travel experience: Solo trip to Europe before coming to UF, where she could learn about herself and make friends. She also loved going to Russia and Brazil for the Soccer World’s Cup, which she is passionate about.  

Dream place to visit: Everywhere?! But backpacking through South America and visiting India are on the top of her bucket list.  

Hobbies: She likes running, and is a huge Arsenal fan, religiously watching soccer games. She also likes reading and doing research. “Is research a hobby?”  

Fun Fact: She doesn’t have a driver’s license and doesn’t plan on getting one. She prefers walking around and is glad for the great friends that are always driving her around. “It has been pretty great!” 


Destinations’ response to terrorism on Twitter

Danielle Barbe, Lori Pennington-Gray, Ashley Schroeder

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand the online communication strategies used by destination management organizations (DMOs) during a terrorist attack. In particular, this study analyzes Twitter use during seven terrorism incidents in six European cities (Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, London and Barcelona) between 2015 and 2017.

Design/methodology/approach: Twitter content was collected via NCapture, a web browser extension of NVivo, one week prior to the attacks, the day of, and two weeks following to determine the timeframe in which DMOs communicated about the crisis, the types of messages being communicated, and whether these messages are effective. This study uses Coombs’ Situational Crisis Communication Theory as a guide to analyzing the effectiveness of the crisis communication strategies.

Findings: The findings of this paper indicate that DMOs are not effectively using Twitter during a terrorist attack. Few tweets relating to the attacks provided tourists with information regarding their safety, with the remaining only communicating as victims. Many DMOs went offline in the days immediately following the attacks and each DMO’s crisis communication on Twitter only lasted up to one week following the attacks.

Originality/value: This study provides insight into the ways DMOs are using social media for crisis communication. These results inform DMOs on their responsibility in communicating information during a terrorist attack. Messages of support are useful in the recovery stage, but tourists need information on how to stay safe and Twitter is often the first source people go to for information (Simon et al., 2014).

Using situational crisis communication theory to understand Orlando hotels’ Twitter response to three crisis in the summer of 2016

Danielle Barbe & Lori Pennington-Gray

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the crisis communication strategies implemented by hotel and lodging organizations via social media. Specifically, this study analyzed Twitter content by hotels in Orlando, Florida during the summer of 2016 when several crises occurred that made global media coverage, including the alligator snatching on Disney property, the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub and growing concerns of Zika virus.

Design/methodology/approach: To understand crisis communication in the hotel industry, this study was guided by the technology-environment-organization framework and situational crisis communication theory (SCCT). Twitter content between June 1 and August 31, 2016 from Orlando hotels was collected and content analyzed to determine: was the message related to the crisis event, the SCCT strategy used and the influence of hotel organizational factors (ownership, size, classification) on the use of social media for crisis communication.

Findings: Results indicate that most hotels are not currently using Twitter as a form of crisis communication. Only the shooting at Pulse Nightclub was communicated and the SCCT bolster strategy was used throughout each of the crisis-related message, reminding stakeholders that they too are a victim.

Originality/value: This study provides insight into the ways hotels are using social media for crisis communication. Each crisis explored was different, and while the hotels were not responsible for creating the crises, they are responsible for the safety of guests. These results inform hoteliers that there is a responsibility to communicate during a crisis, particularly for informative purposes.

More about Danielle…

International Communication Association conference. May 2019. Washington, DC.

International Communication Association conference. May 2019. Washington, DC.

It was at her first job as a hostess in a restaurant at the age of fourteen that Danielle discovered her passion for hospitality and tourism. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University in Toronto and then came to the United States to pursue her master’s degree at EFTI. With a background in social media research, at EFTI Danielle merges social media and crisis management research to focus on Tourism and Crisis Communication. Supervised by the director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (and EFTI’s Director) Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray, Danielle’s greatest goal is to increase tourists’ safety when a crisis occurs in a tourism destination. To achieve this, her research informs tourism organizations of the importance of proactive, timely, and up-to-date communication during a crisis. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what is currently happening as tourism businesses commonly increase efforts when the crisis has passed with the objective of bringing these tourists back. Whether the situation is a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, Danielle emphasizes the benefits of using social media tools when communicating with visitors who are at the destination when the crisis occurs.  

These practices haven’t been properly explored by practitioners as she discusses in two of her articles (featured in this page) which focus on Twitter responses to crises; one by hotels and one during terrorism attacks. In Using situational crisis communication theory to understand hotels’ Twitter response to three crises in the summer of 2016, Danielle analyzed Tweets from hotels during the crisis of an alligator snatching on Disney property, the mass shooting that occurred in the Pulse nightclub, and the concerns of Zika virus that were happening at the time. The study points out the vast majority of hotels in the city of Orlando, although very close to the theme parks and reaching almost full capacity most of the year, did not communicate (or barely communicated) about the crisis. Danielle highlights the importance for hotels to act as a credible source of information while assuring safety of guests and discusses some best practices for the industry to implement. 

Southeast Tourism Society/ SETTRA Conference. March 2019

Southeast Tourism Society/ SETTRA Conference. March 2019

Grateful for the strong bond she nurtured with other students at EFTI, Danielle is glad for the opportunity of developing these friendships outside the institute, but also for the possibility of collaborating with them in projects. With Larissa Neuburger, another talented PhD Student and one of Danielle’s best friends, she is currently working on researching the power of Influence Marketers on Instagram. From researching this current trend, Danielle plans to understand the real impacts and consequences of this kind of marketing and be able to advise destinations and other businesses about how to better use these influencers in their communication strategies. While discussing the collaboration possibilities when studying and working here at UF and EFTI, Danielle highlights one of her favorite past projects, in which she worked with a UF student from the College of Journalism and Communications to study misinformation, the famous “Fake News”. In this project, Danielle could combine her passion for tourism when analyzing the impacts of the wrongful news “Galapagos Islands has ended tourism” and what causes people to believe inaccurate news stories. Danielle plans on using the knowledge from the misinformation study and apply it to tourism news in the future.

TTRA 2017 in Quebec City

TTRA 2017 in Quebec City

Danielle enjoys being able to travel while representing EFTI on conferences around the world, which she does quite often. Although the next steps of the soon to be Doctor Barbe are unsure, her desire is to do what she loves the most: teaching, in her favorite place of the world: London “Is where I feel I am meant to be”.