Monday Musings 21 February: Here’s to pilots, plane spotters and the power of human connection 

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Well, now. What about Big Jet TV? The excitement kicked off on Friday as Jerry Dyer’s (then still relatively unknown) YouTube channel delivered a livestream like no other: planes making their final descent into Heathrow amid Storm Eunice. Soon there were between 100,000 and 200,000 people watching at any given time. And boy, did we love it.  

But why? Was it the pure drama of the situation, the undeniable skill of the pilots, or the infectious enthusiasm of Dyer himself, who couldn’t quite believe that he had gone viral (or that the aviation industry was also glued to his feed). The commentary had a lot to do with it, increasing in pitch and excitement as pilots stuck their landing or chose to ‘go-around’:  

“Go on son, tippy toes.” 

“Ooh, ooh. Fair play, nice one man, nice one!” 

“Battling with the yoke, he’s going around!” 

“Beers are on me if you bring her in.” 

“You’ve gotta give it to these guys – they’ve got big kahunas. Well, the ladies obviously not.” 

Maybe it was the simple joy of a man sharing his hobby with the world. Or, as journalist Jonn Elledge believes, maybe it all comes down to human connection.  

“But mostly I think it’s just that a lot of us want to feel connected in some way. Like certain other experiences we’ve all had recently, Storm Eunice is a thing we’re all going through which has the potential to be slightly scary, but which will actually be experienced mostly in the form of sitting in our homes feeling vaguely bored. Such moments make us long for something communal, to make it feel real, like we’re not going through this alone.” 

I reckon it was a welcome distraction from a world that’s gone from 0 to 100 in a matter of weeks. January’s relatively gentle start long forgotten as Russia and the US rattle sabres over Ukraine; the knock-on effects of Storm Eunice cause massive travel disruption and delays across the world; and everyone’s stress levels and workload kick up a notch. 

It’s now more important than ever to manage your energy levels – more so than your time. As the Harvard Business Review explains, time is a finite resource but, if you play it right, energy is a different story. Forget the law of diminishing returns, focus on your energy and see your capacity and output soar. You can do this by: 

  • Setting up rituals and behaviours (like earlier bedtimes, morning exercise and leaving your desk for lunch) 
  • Focusing on your physical energy (eating right, expressing appreciation, focussing on one thing at a time, and spending more time on activities that give you a sense of purpose) 
  • Taking regular breaks 
  • Avoiding distractions, interruptions and switch-tasking  

The last one is a biggie. A University of California study has found that after each interruption (I blame our ‘always-on’ world of WhatsApp, Slack and Teams) it takes over 23 minutes to refocus. What’s more, if the interruption takes you onto something else, this multitasking can sap your brainpower – the equivalent of dropping 10 IQ points! It’s an interesting read.  

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Another piece which really caught my attention this week was written by Luxury Travel Advisor’s Content & Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero in which she asks travel suppliers to Cut the Fluff; You Had Me at Plunge Pool. 

It’s a wake-up call for suppliers, marketers and PROs who insist on using superlatives to market a property. Think of all the tired clichés like ‘jaw-dropping’, ‘crystal-clear water’, ‘best-kept secret’, ‘breathtaking’ or ‘reimagined’.  

Instead, says Terrero, “Press releases should be written in AP style, just the facts, with good background provided on what’s being discussed and should include a good photo of what’s being presented.” Except she’s receiving pieces layered with over-the-top adjectives and ornate phrases. 

It simply doesn’t work. In reality, all travel advisors want is information. As Terrero says, “Let the facts speak for themselves. If you’re marketing a villa with a plunge pool, you’ve got me at plunge pool. You’re not going to stand out by saying more, or too much. Do include the unique aspects but write them clearly and factually, don’t try to mesmerize us; your words are not going to make us melt in sheer delight but some hard, cold facts about something truly awesome might.” 

It’ll probably save you a whole lot of time and energy too.  

So yes, this week’s goal (if you choose to accept it) is about managing your energy, guarding your time, keeping it simple and eliminating the fluff.  


Mindful Musings

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Marketing Musings 

Netflix’s runaway hit The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window is the very definition of bingeable TV. The deliciously dark parody has everything: suspense, humour, a surprise cameo, unexpected villain, dodgy mailbox, and buckets of red wine.  

Not to mention a zooty hashtag (#TWITHATSFTGITW) and fabulous billboard.  

For the last few years Netflix has dominated the outdoor media space – using traditional billboards to devastating effect. Not only have they grabbed prime real estate (like the Sunset Strip in Hollywood), but their billboards are shared over and over again on social media: 

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Why is it so successful? Probably because it’s old-school, ‘big idea’ advertising at its best. When you’ve only got a few seconds to capture someone’s attention (not to mention limited space), the message is everything. It’s incredibly difficult to do – and yet Netflix makes it look so easy.  

Simplicity is key. And as Amelia Barr said, “It’s always the simple that produces the marvellous.”  

No fluff here.  


What the world was musing over this past week 

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Belgium just got the coolest passport in the world 

Belgium has just upped the fun factor with their new passport. Launched at the end of January, the new passport comes with Belgium’s most famous fictional characters printed inside, including the Smurfs, Lucky Luke and Tintin! 


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Help train anti-poaching dogs while on safari In Kenya 

The canine members of Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s anti-poaching team are so effective that the park hasn’t seen a poaching incident in years. They’re also pretty darn cute. And now you can help train them – which makes for an unforgettable safari experience.   


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This is the exact amount of coffee you should drink… 

Scientists have long agreed that coffee is good for you, but now one Harvard scientist believes she has worked out exactly how much coffee you should drink every day for maximum health and brain benefits. And you might not like the answer.  


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Nelson Mandela’s family home becomes a high-end boutique hotel  

Nelson Mandela’s former home in Houghton has been transformed into a new luxury hotel, with prices ranging from $260 to nearly $1,000 per night for the Presidential Suite. Rates a little steep? Anyone is welcome to pop in for a cuppa! 


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Are safaris on the rise? 

All indications are that there is increased demand for safaris in South Africa – giving renewed hope for growth and recovery in this sector. But what are the current trends, opportunities and challenges facing the industry? Have your say by participating in Tourism Update’s short survey here