April 6, 2020

  • Zoom calls: zillions – we love video calls
  • Number of parents who have given up on homeschooling: 2
  • Virtual team drinks: 2
  • New puppy: 1



Monday - This weekend was the first where we got to see how the travel sections would cover tourism in light of lockdown – on the whole there were some really positive stories and some great coverage for our clients across the sections including virtual tours of Jordan in The Guardian and lots in print.

That night, we had a management call as our usual morning slot was taken by going through the papers.  I wonder if we will ever get tired of seeing up Darrin’s nose as he finds ever more unattractive angles to do video calls.

On Tuesday we bid a temporary farewell to our furloughed team members who are already signing up to volunteer for a variety of wonderful things during this time of crisis, from helping vulnerable people to social media support for charity start ups and I could not be more proud of them. TTG’s CEO Dan Pearce posted about how they had to make the same decision to protect their team and I’m sure many people across the industry echo his thoughts.

We’re missing our team members terribly, but we will work even harder to get them back in the fold as soon as possible and they are already undertaking the raft of training we sent them, so will come back even Brighter.

Wednesday, today marked my official return from maternity leave after easing myself into it with a couple of days a week in March – best laid plans eh?  But it’s good to be in the thick of it with the team and getting stuck into clients again.  We’ve now been discussing the recovery plans submitted with clients on Zoom, Teams, Google hangouts and Skype – we’re au fait with more online video conferencing methods than I was ever previously aware of.

There was a genuinely excellent bit of news today as we have a new team member in the Brighter family.  Darrin has a new (as yet unnamed) puppy – he is adorable and definitely the highlight of every zoom call.

Thursday – Round ups are a go go with all the media outlets and we’ve been busy pitching ideas and responding to requests, it’s a bit like PR back in the day and we are already seeing a lot of results from The Telegraph to Wanderlust from all the work the team has put into them. 

We also received packages from our Dubai Tourism client with Lego sets of the Dubai skyline.  My four-year-old’s dexterity isn’t quite up to scratch to create these works of genius, but Debbie’s teenage sons managed to master them (see video for the impressive results)! 

On Thursday evening a group of PRs – agencies, in house and freelance - and a couple of journos jumped on a video call organised by Howard Salinger and talked a little bit of shop but mainly lived, drank and breathed the #onetravelindustry ethic and put aside friendly rivalry to show true solidarity.  It genuinely warmed my heart.

Straight after that, once again we all cheered on our NHS heroes from our doorsteps and balconies – the whooping is getting louder and more emphatic.

Friday – Final tweaks are being made to recovery plans and social media campaigns are well underway. As press trips and fam trips take a backseat, being able to flex our digital creativity has been a great way for us to demonstrate how dynamic our comms can be.  We’ve some brilliant social stories in the pipeline, so there’s plenty to be excited about even in these dark times.

In addition to our daily coverage updates on Coronavirus developments in the UK and our social media trends, we produced our survey results from our media audit and our social media guidance document to help client navigate these tricky times. Our Finn family across the globe has also been sharing their documents so we’ve had insight from our colleagues in Asia, who are now coming out the other side of lockdown, so looking into that crystal ball has been invaluable.

That night, we had our weekly team drinks – I virtually hosted them at my home in Hove (actually) with everyone dressing in their best boho hippie-chic/twinset and pearls to fit in with the Hove theme. It ended with an impromptu sing along around the piano as we toasted our brilliant Partner Sarah’s birthday. Pretty glad that video call wasn’t recorded.

As ever, there’s been a lot to loathe this week, but we need to remain positive so here are a few things we have loved:

  • Simon Calder’s instachats are still a favourite – he’s offering people in need some great advice.
  • This fascinating piece on Phocuswire on what travel could look like after the pandemic – insurance will no longer be an afterthought, immigration queues will be longer than ever, filtered air will be a selling point and trains will be favoured over air travel.
  • Mark Palmer’s ed’s letter on what Escape will feature and quoting Seamus Heaney ‘If we can winter this one out, we can summer anywhere’ #whenwestarttravellingagain
  • Melinda Stevens’ launch of Conde Nast Traveller’s Little Black Book #cnteditorslittleblackbook
  • Too Good To Go’s virtual restaurants are an excellent use of tech
  • These videos by our clients Dubai Tourism and Intrepid Travel reinforce the stay at home message whilst still reminding us why we want to get back out into the world as soon as this is all over #tillwemeetagain #betogether #beintrepid
  • The British Holiday and Home Parks Association’s #ProtectTourismJobs campaign
  • I’m obviously biased, but PR Week UK’s editor John Harrington’s letter on why now is not the time to cut PR budgets was completely on point
  • And finally, the April Fool’s Day prank parents played on their children telling them that schools had been reopened was both cruel and brilliant

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