May 26, 2020

Zoom calls: We’re back to normal backgrounds – have virtual backdrops already become passé?

Wistful scrolling through Chelsea Flower Show photos: 1

Pub quiz: 1

Monday – Today we went out with our official announcement of the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council Summit: Re-engineering Readiness – a free summit with over 60 speakers from across the globe – we’ve already had interest from broadcasters to interview some of the panellists and we are preparing our own session entitled ‘Communicating With the Community’ where we will be exploring the topic of trust in travel during these challenging times.  Our Managing Partner of the FINN Global Travel & Lifestyle Practice, Debbie Flynn will be moderating some excellent speakers including Beautiful Destinations CEO Jeremy Jauncey, Six Senses CCO Bryan Gabriel, Travel Weekly US Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann and FINN’s Global Sustainability and Social Impact Managing Partner Jane Madden.

I also felt a bit wistful today as The Chelsea Flower Show held its first ever virtual event – this is probably a bit too ‘PR-darling’ to say, but I absolutely love press day at CFS and have been lucky enough to go quite a few times for various clients – what’s not to love; flowers, weird sculptures, everyone totally overdressed for a Monday morning, Ringo Starr, Raymond Blanc and Cliff Richard wandering around?  With the added bonus of no crowds and champagne.  Absolutely Fabulous.

Tuesday – Had a really good call with our Iceland client today, they are gearing up for opening and testing arrivals from 15 June which we have had loads of pick up on naturally.  The logistics are currently being ironed out, but we are even starting to look at dates for press trips in late summer… which gives us all hope and the boost that we’ve needed.

I’ve heard many people talk about webinar fatigue, but the problem is that every single one has a couple of nuggets of useful information in them, so they are always worthwhile.  We’re currently planning our next one which will focus on influencer marketing, so watch this space for dates and line up.

Wednesday – Our Asia travel team, CatchON told us about this AMAZING Covid-Playbook by their Black Sheep Restaurants client – it is basically a hospitality handbook on how to operate post lockdown and they have made it available to everyone. It’s garnered international attraction and applause and I think is a must read for anyone pondering how to reopen safely.

Also today we took a walk on the wild size as our Belize Zoo did a virtual tour and it made me hanker for the days when we can get back out and see the world again that little bit more.

Thursday – We spoke with our Medical Travel Compared client today as we have the results of a consumer survey related to travel insurance.  Being honest, a few months ago it was a challenge to make travel insurance ‘sexy’ enough to get media interested. Now, with so many people realising the importance and pitfalls of travel insurance, these results are genuinely exciting as they demonstrate the precarious position both travellers and insurers are in and even more exciting is the fact that our client has a clear and transparent stance on the situation.  This is going to be a great sell in over the coming weeks.

That evening I took part in the TravMedia quiz as the Malta Tourism Authority was a sponsor and Tolene Van Der Merwe, Director UK & Ireland hosted a round of Malta specific questions.  I was doing quite well in the first round and got to third place, then I used the brilliant excuse that I didn’t want to cheat and get the Malta questions right when I’d already had sight of them, but the truth is, I got the questions about the number of churches on Gozo incorrect, so it was a bit embarrassing to carry on. Serves me right for trying to cheat…

That night, as ever, we clapped for the key workers.

Friday – Gearing up for a long weekend we blasted through the to do lists today and are really looking forward to seeing Jordan on Ainsley Harriott’s ‘Mediterranean Cookbook’ on Sunday, St Helena on This Morning on the bank holiday Monday as well as a host of video interviews for our CRUSA, Malta and Iceland clients with TravelMole also lined up.  Debbie did the final run through for the Resilience Summit, taking place on Tuesday, and we will light a few incense sticks to the tech gods over the weekend to hope that WiFi connections are on our side…

Here are a few things we’ve loved this week:

  • The Yorkshire Dales has done a handy guide on the social distancing rules with measurements in animals – 2m = 2 otters, who knew?
  • The Hay Festival is going ahead virtually – after my last trip to the Hay which was rammed with people, I think this is preferable
  • With garment workers feeling the brutal blow of #fastfashion and orders being cancelled in droves, this brilliant initiative by Lost Stock is finding a way to get funds to those who need it most – I’ve already ordered my surprise box
  • Travelzoo is publishing deals that are flexible and refundable – just what we all need
  • Copenhagen Harbour has created a ‘Parkipelago’ of artificial islands that are only accessible by swimming, boat or kayak – the perfect social distancing spot
  • And finally, anyone with a sweet tooth should be nice to National Trust Scotland as they have 15,000 Cadbury’s Easter Eggs going spare – they had to cancel their big Easter Egg Hunt and still have over half the stock available to good causes…

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