Monday Musings 15 June: Is hand sanitiser the new sunscreen?

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The world is starting to wake from its pandemic slumber and slowly, cautiously and carefully, beginning to dream of the future. A future that hopefully includes palm trees and piña coladas, snow-studded landscapes, or at the very least, a good red by a cosy fire (not in your living room). We all know the holy grail that is sunscreen. But it’s likely that the bottle of near-expired sunscreen is going to have a new companion in the toiletry bag. Yep, strong alcohol-based hand sanitiser (at least 70% alcohol or higher) is our new holiday sunscreen. If you’re stuck for a piece of content marketing, do a quick Google for the “best hand sanitiser” and see how everyone from Forbes to Women’s Health and Conde Nast Traveller has done their own research into our most precious commodity.

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Are you travel-ready? But how, when and who?

While COVID-19 has spurned a whole new list of essentials and travel lingo: Travel corridors, tourism bubbles and air bridges – we’re also going to see how air travel is going to change forever and how hotels are implementing their survival tips to weather the storm of COVID-19.

Borders are cautiously starting to open. The EU’s external borders should reopen from 1 July, according to the European Commission. Here’s how international travel could resume during the coronavirus pandemic. And Google Maps is hoping to ease some travel concerns by implementing an app update to alert users about COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Travellers will be able to check how crowded a train station is, if public transport is running according to schedule or the best times to travel.

Closer to home, the South African Government has released the new public school calendar for the remainder of 2020, while private schools still have vastly different schedules. Travel experts predict that high season (traditionally the time for South African families to all holiday at the same time) will be a relic of our post-pandemic world. Companies are starting to get worried that South Africans are not taking leave in lockdown, which could cause operational problems when everyone wants to take leave all at once or lead to staff burnout.

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and partners, including SATSA and ASATA, have been lobbying for an earlier phased reopening of South Africa – from September 2020 – in a bid to attract international visitors just in time for South Africa’s peak tourist season and allow South Africans to travel internationally.

So, who should we be hoping to welcome to our shores first? And which travellers are likely to book international trips before anyone else? In other words, which travellers should we be focusing all our energy on right now?

This report by Sentimantle found that the three types of travellers to take to the international skies first will be:

  • The young professional (20-40 years old)
  • The local family (25-40 years old)
  • The backpacker (18-28 years old)

And as a result of many hands making light(er) work, #SouthAfricaIsTravelReady has gone viral on social media. Movers and shakers in the travel, tourism and PR industries have joined hands to let the world know that South Africa is travel ready. Get on board today by visiting the website and Facebook page here. You can also show your support by updating your Facebook profile pic with an overlay of the ‘South Africa is Travel Ready’ ribbon.

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In the world of marketing and communications

Speaking of communicating a powerful message, it seems the world is waking up to the fact that always-on marketing is a much better idea than merely stand-alone, see them today and forget them tomorrow marketing campaigns. 

In the South African media landscape, Facebook is holding on against the TikTok invasion.

Facebook remains the social platform of choice for marketing, but teen favourite TikTok’s star is rising – fast. While fewer than 20% of brands have used the platform in the past, almost a third intend to use TikTok from here on out.

And now that essential business travel is allowed domestically, will video conferences and meetings replace face-to-face business? Zoom, perhaps the “word of the year” for 2020 grew from 10 million daily participants in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020. With everyone and their grandma now knowing “how to Zoom” is there still a future for in-person business travel? Or are virtual meetings a sustainable substitute for corporate travel? Even the Zoom techies agree that while virtual conferencing is useful for keeping costs down; there is still value in face-to-face meetings – and that human, in-person, connection is more important than ever.

Not only are people looking for more human connection (beyond the screen), but leadership in the new now needs to be significantly more understanding. The coronavirus shook the heart of every company to its core and with unpredictable waves of coronavirus expected, what’s needed now is not working for a “new normal” but rather a “new now.” What is your “new now?” More than ever, essential skills such as empathy and flexibility are the most critical leadership qualities of today. Here are essential people priorities to add to the top of your list. Harvard Business Review adds that the best managers balance analytical and emotional intelligence.

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Beyond the (at-home) office

If you’re wondering why simple tasks, such as making a shopping list, seem so overwhelming of late or why you’re struggling to concentrate, it’s because these cognitive processes now require more brainpower. Recent research shows how anxiety affects your focus and that pandemic-related anxiety results in decreased working memory performance.

One practical way to help anxiety levels is by focusing on mental wellness. As we’re embracing the freedom of all-day exercising, a form of exercise/relaxation that has long been in desperate need of a rebrand is slowly getting its makeover. It seems that walking is making a major comeback. This free (!) exercise is not only useful to get the blood flowing but is one of the best forms of mental wellness. Lace-up the shoes and hit the pavement (before 6 pm) for a pleasant stroll around the block. 

And in Sweden, local brand Oddbird (an alcohol-free wine brand) have thought out of the box and moved their tables out of the restaurant, creating the most socially distanced restaurant in the world. Their temporary restaurant, Nowhere, has set up six exquisitely designed tables in remote locations within Stockholm’s expansive Häringe nature reserve.

Meanwhile, in the UK, marmite-lovers are up in arms about the fact that their beloved 400g jars of Marmite are out of stock on supermarket shelves. The company responded that it had to temporarily halt producing larger sizes of the love-it-or-hate-it spread, thanks to a shortage of brewer’s yeast. We have all you at-home bread bakers to thank for that… thank goodness the Brits haven’t learnt about pineapple beer brewing.

With marmite a hot commodity, Facebook taking on the battle against TikTok and walking the hippest new form of exercise, it seems that it’s not only hand sanitiser that has gone through a rebranding.

Stay safe and strong!

The Big Ambitions team