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Airport Parking Firm Uses Dead Man to Market Its Services

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AirportParkingReservations.com issued an apology for a mass email that cited the story of a missing Chicago man who was found dead in an O’ Hare parking lot as reason to use their travel site.

On September 15, a fifty-five-year-old Chicago-area man was discovered dead on the ground in Parking Lot B at O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The man had been reported missing by loved ones more than a week earlier.

This is when  crossed the line – really, really crossed the line.

On Monday, AirportParkingReservations.com sent a mass marketing email to customers titled Can On-Airport Parking Kill? The email described the circumstances surrounding the man’s death at ORD and implied that the stress of forgetting to use the firm’s reservation service might have contributed to the tragedy. The email, which was reposted to Twitter by an outraged user, went on to urge travelers, “Don’t be late and end up in a crate. Save stress and possibly anything worse by utilizing technology and reserving all of your travel needs.”

The email blast also included a coupon for $5 off future parking reservations made through the company.

The Connecticut-based business spent much of the rest of this week issuing individual apologies to social media users who lambasted the travel site for its rude marketing stunt. @AndyMyers101, who originally exposed the email on Twitter, received this apology from the company via Twitter: “We sincerely apologize about this mistake and can only extend our apologies to you and all those offended.”

Other mea culpas included: “@jccruzchellew, This decision was made in the poorest of judgment. We feel devastated by it and are genuinely sorry for this.” and “@loloheart, It was an appalling idea and we have no excuses for the tasteless decision. We are deeply sorry for this.”

The company also posted a formal apology to its official website:

On behalf of AirportParkingReservations.com and ParkSleepFly.com, we cannot emphasize how apologetic we are about the marketing email that went out on September 22, 2014. It was an extremely poor choice and a mistake that leaves us all in remorse. There is no good explanation to how and why we made the decision to create such a tasteless marketing email. It was clearly a poor choice on our end and we never had the intention to hurt or disrespect anyone. From the bottom of our hearts, we sincerely apologize for all the anger and emotional distress we have caused to the family of the deceased, the public and our customers.

AirportParkingReservations.com does not own or run any parking facilities, but instead books off-airport parking reservations for customers in much the same way sites like Travelocity and Orbitz offer airline, hotel and car rental reservations to travelers. The company’s web presence is critical to its business. Perhaps, it is because of this that its marketing has a decidedly edgy tint to it. Recent posts to the reservation site’s blog includes a post titled, Why Kids Shouldn’t Be Allowed on Planes.

The firm describes itself as a “small company” and posts the photographs of each of its fourteen employees and officers to its webpage. At press time, the image of the company’s marketing manager still remained on the company masthead.

[Photo: iStock]

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