Business Case Studies, Advertising and Promotional Strategies Case Study, Taj Mahal, Attacks in Mumbai

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Case Title:

Terrorist Attack on the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, Mumbai: Crisis Communication Strategies

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: Anjali Mukherjee, Saradhi Kumar Gonela and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Industry: Services


Case Code: MCS0018

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment:  Available

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This is primarily targeted at communication crisis course, triggering a debate on how a company should react to crisis and use communication to limit the damage to its reputation due to crisis. This case also highlights the need of employees’ cooperation to combat crisis and exemplifies how Taj Hotel’s employees stared into the eyes of death when terror struck them off-guard. While focusing how the management’s concern towards its employees motivated them to stand by the company when they were most required, the case also presents an itinerary on the way the Taj management has used communication effectively to regenerate confidence in its regular patrons.

What could challenge the existence of a luxury hotel more than a terrorist blood bath? And can the hotel dream of playing host to the most followed patrons, such as the UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, even before the bullet sounds stops reverberating in the corridors of the hotel? Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, a monumental hotel in Mumbai and victim to the 26/11 terror attacks had done exactly that. In 2 months time after the attacks, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State visited as a guest at Taj, showing once again that the human spirit will not succumb even at the expense of hundreds of lives. The hotel reopened for its regular who’s who of India, barely in a month of the attacks – thanks largely to the spirit of the employees of the hotel, who had shown courage to face the barrage of bullets but rejected to blink while facing death in their service. How could the company command so much camaraderie from its employees?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To analyse the reasons behind the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, especially the Taj Hotel, gained such prominence not just on the national, but also the international stage
  • To understand the importance of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning as well as the impact this could have on an organisation during a crisis
  • To examine the actions taken by the Taj management and the Tata Sons chairman, Ratan Tata and analyse how they managed the communication of the crisis, especially the media during this period
  • In the light of previous learning objective, analyse whether they could have prepared for a crisis of this magnitude and form.

Keywords : Brand Communication, Crisis Communication, Crisis Communication Strategies, Crisis Prevention and Crisis Preemption, Disaster Recovery Planning System, Leadership in Crisis, Managing a Crisis, Mumbai Attacks, Integrated Brand Communication Strategies, Controllable Vs Uncontrollable Disasters, Coordination in Managing a Crisis, 26/11 Attacks in Mumbai, Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, Mumbai Police, Business Discontinuities and Man-made Disasters


  • The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Tata Legacy
  • Taj Mahal Palace & Towers Hotel – An Icon of India

  • 26/11: The Nightmare Begins
  • At the Taj
  • Picking up the Pieces
  • What next?

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