How Has Your Relationship With Food Changed Over The Past Year?

How Has Your Relationship With Food Changed Over The Past Year?

How Has Your Relationship With Food Changed Over The Past Year?

 

Food, glorious food! What is your relationship with it? And has that relationship changed over the past year being locked in? We’ve all been there – alone with our cravings, needing comfort, deserving a reward, wearing stretchy waistlines! 

 

On Monday’s RISE, we made a meal of it – chatting with Barb Stuckey, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Mattson and Alex Hardy, Regional Director, Consumer and Market Intelligence at General Mills. We dished up rich discussion around food innovation from a business and consumer perspective, how those innovations have been impacted by the pandemic, which are here to stay and the trends we may see continuing. 

 

As you know by now, we like to dig a little deeper in RISE – AND SHINE. So this week, we’re asking how you’d describe your personal relationship with food after a year of pandemic-dining? “Is that a thing,” you ask? Yes it is! We just made it up. 

 

A Love Affair

 

 

Many of us, during a pandemic or not, do have an ongoing love affair with food. It’s usually there when you need it, it can be comforting, entertaining, and healing. What’s not to love? Well, too much of it isn’t a good thing, and most of us food lovers can attest to indulging more than usual over the past year – especially during the height of lockdown. If you’re a food lover who wasn’t one of those participating in solo charitable runs or following the exercise gurus doing online workouts, then chances are you’ll also have piled on some ‘lockdown pounds’ and the whole ‘foodie affair’ may have progressed beyond the honeymoon phase and descended into the ‘I need some space to rediscover who I am on my own’ phase.

 

A Love  – Hate Relationship

 

Who amongst us doesn’t relate to this dynamic? Especially when it comes to having to prepare meals ourselves, which we’ve all been doing more of over the past year! We love eating, but we don’t love cooking. We love eating, but we’re bored with eating at home. We love eating but we hate piling on the pounds. Notice how mostly, we do love eating! Alex Hardy said one of the trends he’d noticed was that a year ago people were initially enjoying cooking more, but then pulled back from it as they became bored with having to cook 3 times a day, 7 days a week. No need for a show of hands here… we’re united on this one! As Alex pointed out, businesses have taken note of this, and commerce has responded with innovations designed to ease this burden! We have only to look at the surge in popularity of pre–prepared healthy meal kits. We can’t be certain which idea we love more – not having to decide what to make, or not having to shop for specific ingredients. Both! We love both!

 

The Great entertainer

 

Food has always had a fun factor! Whether it’s the enjoyment of trying different recipes and styles of food preparation, or the entertainment association of going out to eat with friends – a meal has always had the potential to create a sense of occasion. In the context of this past year, we should probably separate this category into ME and THEM.

ME

Will we ever forget the sourdough and banana-bread baking phases of lockdown? Have nations ever been so united in baking experimentation? It’s safe to say millions of us around the world entertained ourselves at some point during this pandemic, by experimenting with food preparation. This increased interest in cooking seems likely to continue! Our RISE audience POLL 1 reflected that cooking from scratch is the behaviour most people (59%) will continue into the next normal.

THEM

Anita stated that “food has become activity, engagement, education and entertainment.” This is true for us as individuals but will also resonate with every parent out there who had to find ways of keeping kids entertained, engaged, and fed – all whilst working from home – but that’s a topic for another blog! For many of us, food has been a powerful aid in keeping our loved ones entertained, and constructively engaged in activity –  and with each other.

 

A HEALTHY DYNAMIC

 

 

Barb made the interesting point that we need to define what eating healthily means. For some of us it means eating ‘clean’, and eating ‘whole foods,’ or if we’re eating packaged foods, looking for recognisable ingredients. For others, eating ‘clean’ or ‘healthily’ means clean living, and eating sustainably for our environment. One of the food-related trends that she’s noticed over the past year, is that more people are making food choices based on environmental impact. This mirrors the more mindful and impact conscious tourist behaviours we’ve seen and discussed over the past year on RISE. Our RISE audience Poll 2 indicated the majority of our viewers (71%) are eating more healthily now than they were a year ago. Does this have to do with taking a proactive approach to fighting the virus, and giving ourselves the best chance of staying healthy? Alex mentioned this as another one of the food-related trends, leading to innovation over the past year. With people recognising immunity boosting value in food, he says he’s seeing “nature and science coming together in how we look at food.” 

 

 

I’m ALL ABOUT MOVING THROUGH THE STAGES

 

 

As with all these discussions, it’s possible you see a little of yourself in each of these food relationships. We may feel that our delightfully complex relationship with food contains many facets all at the same time, or some of us may feel we’ve progressively waded (or waddled) through all the different stages! 

 

Food relationship aside, who else just can’t wait to eat somewhere other than at home? It doesn’t matter that we’ve supported our local restaurants, and mitigated our ‘kitchen fatigue’ by eating restaurant take-outs at home. That was great for a while and eased the boredom and the monotony of home cooking. It doesn’t, however, replace the thrill, entertainment value and sense of occasion that we derive from getting out there and eating out. This will surely be good news for all the publicans, chefs and restaurateurs out there who can’t wait to welcome diners back to their establishments! Bon Appetit!

A special invitation to our RISE community across the world – Save The Date!! Next Monday, April 26th, is for our very special 1st Anniversary of RISE! Join us as we celebrate how far we’ve all come together over this past year. RISE was created with you, for you, because of you – so please join us as we celebrate you –  our outstanding RISE community. Some of the truly inspirational Executives in Residence we’ve featured in previous episodes of RISE will share their hopes and expectations for their businesses one year on. We are all so excited, but this RISE 1st Anniversary milestone would not be the same without YOU. See you there!

 

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE. 

 

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 TRAVEL VIBE?

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 TRAVEL VIBE?

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 TRAVEL VIBE?

 

“There’s a travel vibe?” you ask. “Of course, there is” we say. How do we know this? Because we spend every week on RISE asking our viewers and our guests what’s happening in our Travel Tourism and Hospitality (TT&H) Industry and asking how you’re all feeling about various topics. So – what we can tell you is that the majority of people want to get out there!

 

Monday’s episode was called Gen-Z: Breaking Free! Click the link below to hear what our guests Adam Armstrong, CEO of Contiki Holidays and Eduardo Santander, CEO & Executive Director of the European Travel Commission & Chairman of the European Tourism Manifesto had to say about this interesting sector of the market, but first –  for fun we’ll have a look at the traveller vibe you most identify with, whether you’re Gen-Z or a Baby Boomer!

 

In our second poll, we asked our viewers, apart from the universal reason of wanting to reconnect with loved ones, “Why are you aching to travel again?” The majority of you – 35% said it was “to feel alive and some sense of normality again!

 

‘TAKING BACK MY LIFE!’ TRAVELLER

 

We think many who gave this answer would identify with this travel vibe! Some call it ‘revenge travel’ – a term that emerged early on in the pandemic. RISE (particularly Anita) is not really a fan of the ‘revenge’ term. But we get the point. Whether it’s to take revenge on the pandemic and reclaim our lives, our plans, our holiday or personal development dreams, we are bursting with pent-up desire to get out there again and get on with our lives. We guess that many of our 18-35 year old viewers –  in this context referred to as “generation desperate” will also fall into this category. Grad trip, gap years, work experience, cultural exchanges, and honeymoons – these are all important life-stage experiences that have been missed or deferred, and what better way to prove that we’re undefeated and undeterred by this experience than to just get on with it? Hopefully the majority will do so safely and with due regard to the protocols so that we can all finally move out of lockdowns and restrictions! Demian’s video of Spring Break in Miami and the resulting state of emergency are a good example of how revenge travel can go wrong!

BUSINESS AS USUAL, EVEN IF UNUSUAL

 

This travel vibe may sound more matter of fact, and a little less exciting than exacting revenge, but many of us, from all the age demographics identify with it. We may not be desperate to travel at any cost, but we’d dearly love to be able to move about safely and  practically – to resume our business travel and to get back to taking family gatherings and special occasions for granted. We’d like to see our communities and businesses revived and have tourists back at our destinations.

 

CAUTIOUS

 

Paradoxically, those of us who may have fallen into this travel vibe, partly due to our life-stage demographic, and the resulting greater threat to health, are now the ones who’ll be front of the line when it comes to planning and booking our getaways! Adam referenced the fact that the generation most desperate to travel are at the back of the queue, and the older generation who’ve had earlier access to the vaccine are the ones who’ll be out there fastest! That’s not to say we can’t be cautious across all generations and demographics! Our caution may also be around protecting others, or fear of restrictions. Anita mentioned “the risk of travel is no longer the disease – the risk of travel is lockdowns, quarantines, regulations changing, and borders closing.” The challenge for us cautious travellers is that like everyone else, but to a greater degree, we’d love a little predictability. Eduardo referenced the challenge our industry faces in providing the predictability desired by tourists, stating that tourism is based on predictable facts, and we aren’t currently able to make many predictions!

RESOLUTELY MINDFUL

 

We’re not saying you can only identify with one vibe! We’ve spoken consistently over the past year of the momentum gained towards sustainable and mindful travel. We don’t like to speak too much about trends during a time when nothing about travel is predictable, but there are strong indications that across all demographics, mindful and conscious travel is an important factor in our travel decisions. So, there’s a strong likelihood, especially if you’re a “youth traveller,” that you may be plotting your revenge on this pandemic, planning your escape, all whilst choosing to leave the gentlest footprint possible! We can be great multitaskers too!

 

NO INTEREST

 

3% of our viewers in Poll 2 stated you “have no desire to travel right now.” Perhaps it’s the lack of predictability or the concern around the way others may behave, but for some, if we’re fortunate enough to have loved ones close by – the impetus just isn’t there right now. A holiday season, safely ensconced at home with loved ones, enjoying our local community and what it has to offer, or beginning to rebuild and reclaim other aspects of our lives and liberty stolen by this pandemic is just the right vibe for some of us!

Whatever your travel vibe, and whenever you feel ready to make your break for the freedom it offers, we can be secure in the knowledge, as Eduardo pointed out, that travel will always prevail. He also highlighted that ‘the purpose of travel is changing massively.’ Change may be daunting in its unpredictability but it’s also exciting – and in the case of our  TT&H industry, many of the changes we’re seeing indicate progress in securing the survival of our industry, our destinations, and our natural resources. Whilst acknowledging our losses, we do also like to keep an eye on the positives that have come out of this pandemic!

 

Next on RISE we’ll be “Making a Meal of It” and chatting about food innovation and trends with fabulous guests Barb Stuckey, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Mattson, and Alex Hardy, Regional Director, Consumer and Market Intelligence at General Mills. Join us. Same time and place!

 

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE. 

 

COVID-19 ONE YEAR ON. THE SOOTHSAYER TRIED TO WARN US

They are words of warning recognised the world over, a literary conversation well known. If only Caesar had listened – if only we had listened:

Soothsayer. Caesar!

Caesar. Ha! who calls?

Casca. Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

Caesar. Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music, Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March.

Caesar. What man is that?

Brutus. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Caesar. Set him before me; let me see his face.

Cassius. Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

Caesar. What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March.

Caesar. He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

(Julius Caesar, Act 1 Scene 2 – William Shakespeare)

The first warnings came on December 31, 2019 when the WHO first reported the existence of a novel strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19 to be exact. Then came the next warning on January 30, 2020 when the WHO raised the volume of its warning, declaring the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global health emergency.

By March 11th  classification was raised to ‘global pandemic’.

By the Ides of March, the world was shutting down – borders, skies, businesses, schools, centres of faith, our homes – we were told to close in, quickly, before this invisible curse now known as COVID-19 caught us out. Wave 1 had begun….

Now, one year on, echoes of those ominous warnings continue to be heard. March 11th, 2021 marked the end of a year that has been beyond anyone’s expectation and imaginations. Depending on where one was in the world, throughout March 2021, year one markings unfolded of lockdowns first imposed, the first time we got a sense that life as we once knew it was no more. March 23rd for we from the UK. By the final day in March 2021 the WHO’s freshly released report on the origins of COVID-19 is being rigorously reviewed and remarked upon.

In just one year this one virus has taken over 2.8 million lives, denied billions their basic liberties, and cost trillions in livelihoods. New strains are being discovered in tandem newly approved vaccine being rolled out. New waves are threatening. renewed strength is increasingly hard to find. In just one year one truth has emerged that everyone has had to face: there is no escaping the trauma of COVID-19, even if one escapes falling prey to the virus itself. Everyone has lost something, someone, somewhere. Everyone has suffered in some way. No one has been spared.

Unlike any crisis experienced in our generation, this pandemic has completely erased not just borders between nations, but so many lines we used to put in place in our individual lives:

  • Office vs home,
  • Day vs. night,
  • Weekends vs weekdays,
  • Business vs. pleasure,
  • Professional vs. personal,
  • On vs off.

Blur now exists where once there were lines, this blur an operating space that must be bravely navigated – destination unknown, duration unknown, all within a context of immense, intense trauma. Genuine trauma.

The trauma has been real. It has been prolonged. It has been profound. It has been personal. The blur has been accented by deep, undeniable, inescapable, and surprisingly, often very visible ache.

Tears have fallen uncontrollably.

Cracks have been revealed unexpectedly.

Fear has closed us in illogically.

Faith has been tested deeply.

Interestingly, this shared reality, this exposure, has afforded us the opportunity to turn trauma into a lifeline, forcing us all to come closer, to be more real, more human, more understanding and more compassionate with those around us. To encourage, without judgement or hesitation, others to reach out and grab hold.

Why? Simply this: the shared trauma we have all experienced has, while differing in individual situations, circumstances, characteristics and complexities, allowed us to care more – to care more honestly, more deeply and more transparently with those who truly provide us the focus, the purpose, the energy, and the hope we all need.

COVID-19 has been the most democratising challenge our world has ever faced.And uniting.

This pandemic has united us – all of us across the world, across the country, across the room – making vividly clear,:

  • WE ARE ALL HUMAN – forced to dig deep each and every day with a stamina we have never demanded of ourselves, and others, before;
  • WE ARE ALL HURTING – recognising that everyone is feeling pressure, feeling loss, feeling fear;
  • WE ARE ALL EXHAUSTED – respecting that everyone is carrying a heavy load, needing rest, needing to feel safe;
  • WE ARE ALL LONGING – knowing how we all ache to touch, to feel, to breathe, once more;
  • WE ARE ALL BONDED – united in our refreshed awareness that we all need care, kindness, compassion and courage from one another.

For all of the uncertainty still facing us all, especially the layers of mental health, economic and societal crisis that will emerge, rapidly and painfully from COVID-19, reasons for hope still exist, hope we all need to hold onto, a lifeline pulling us all forward, whispering to us a reminder us that through tragedy can emerge tenderness, through trauma can emerge healing, through darkness can emerge the dawn.

The soothsayer somehow knew. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2021

 

TRAVEL: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

TRAVEL: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

TRAVEL: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

 

It’s been a year! A whole long, messy year since international borders closed and travelers dashed back home – fearful of the COVID19 storm in the midst of which we’ve found ourselves. On March 11th the WHO reminded us that it was one year ago that a global pandemic was declared. Since then we have scurried to the relative safety and shelter of our homes. We settled in to ride it out, and awaited news of what exactly we were dealing with, and how long it would take to ‘blow over.’ We were grounded – literally locked in. 

 

So often we want what we can’t have – but this time was different. At first many of us didn’t have any desire to travel. Whether it was fear, or a sense of responsibility to adhere to safety protocols, to protect others, and our medical infrastructures – most of us were willing to give up travel for the greater good. When we felt a little more confident, we travelled locally, more often than not only to see loved ones. We travelled with a strong sense of purpose – to connect with those sorely missed rather than for fun. Our motivations changed – the meaning of our travel changed – which begs the question: has this past year cost us the freedom to think of travel as just being fun?

 

THE VALUE AND VALUES OF TRAVEL

 

A year in, we can look at where we are now, in relation to where we were then, and assess the value that travel holds for us – and also how the values of travel have changed!

 

PERSONAL ADVENTURE

 

Travel has always been about adventure, about exploration, and personal growth. From the earliest explorers who discovered continents, to family holidays booked in far-flung destinations where we discover new sights, flavours, people, cultures and ways of life; Travel has always had at its heart an innate spirit of adventure, awareness of other ways of being, and of the importance of understanding more than just our own perspectives!

 

FREEDOM

 

“Getting away from it all.” It’s more than an expression. When we travel, even slightly outside our usual environment, it brings a sense of liberation. A change of scene creates a sense of escape from our everyday reality. The change in perspective  frees us from feeling trapped in the sameness of our everyday lives. Dr Andrea Robinson PHD says, in her APA article 4 Reasons To Take a Vacation that “Vacations can also improve our mental health by reducing depression and anxiety.” At RISE, we’d go so far as to call it a form of therapy!  

 

RITES OF PASSAGE

 

Students take grad trips and gap years to celebrate the end of education and the beginning of adulthood, as well as to make a difference and discover themselves whilst doing some good and adding value to others. Newly-weds honeymoon, expectant parents go on babymoons, and empty nesters and retirees go on extended holidays and cruises to celebrate their re-discovered freedom from responsibility. All these holidays have traditionally been ways to mark and celebrate happy transitions and periods of personal growth and development. Has this changed? We hope not!

 

Connection!

 

We gave this an exclamation point because it’s such an important and all-encompassing reason! It probably shouldn’t be in a category of it’s own because it’s a thread that runs through all the reasons for traveling. We travel to connect with people and places for reasons of business and for leisure. What has changed in the past year – and this has been mentioned repeatedly through the 3 seasons of RISE – is the shift in the purpose of travel. People have cited, and it seems in the short term at least, will continue to cite connecting with loved ones as their primary motivation to travel. This doesn’t mean that people will only travel to see loved ones. But current and short-term future holiday plans are focused more on family and friendship bubbles traveling together for the purpose of meaningful reconnection as well as all the reasons we’ve already discussed.

 

Livelihoods

 

This is where discussing the value and values of travel becomes real! For individuals and organisations, for many of you, our RISE viewers included, for business sectors, local communities and entire destinations across the globe, travel determines our very livelihood. Having the world ‘grounded” and unable to travel has threatened the very survival of many. 

 

In last Monday’s episode of RISE, our brilliant guests Kelly Craighead of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Bernhard Stacher – VP Global Hotel Operations MSC Cruises discussed the interdependence between tourism and destinations. With reference to the cruise industry, our RISE panelists highlighted the importance of a balanced relationship between tourism partners. Demian Hodari referenced the dependence of many tropical island destinations on tourism in his Headlines, sharing that the majority of tropical island countries depend on tourism for more than 50% of their GDP. Whilst prior to the pandemic, many destination islands expressed concern over tourist overcrowding related to cruises, Bernhard feels that post pandemic, there is now an elevated appreciation from destinations for the tourist revenue brought by cruises. 

 

opportunity

 

Anita feels “one of the blessings of this time is that it’s changed the value and values of tourism.” This perspective is clearly shared by many. It came up in SEASON 3 EPISODE 1 when both Robin Tauck and Adrian Gardiner spoke of the importance of focusing on the impact of tourism on destinations, as well as the rising importance of and desire for an emphasis on conscious and sustainable tourism among travelers. People want to do better and be better! Organisations such as Tourism Cares have been harnessing the “transformative power of travel” for 20 years. Their belief is that “while each of us alone can make a small difference, businesses bound together in purpose and action can literally change the world.” 

This pandemic has been a blight on the world and on our Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (TT&H) industry in particular – but what a gift it has given us in creating a renewed appreciation for what we’re missing, and propelling the growing momentum of desire for change, for positive impact and a greater personal and social accountability to others.

As we cruise into the next normal, with restrictions easing, and borders re-opening, most of us will be mindful of our safety bubbles and the safety of those around us.  We have it on reliable authority from our guests this week that “cruise bubbles” are a great way to go! Kelly says cruising is “a terrific experience which has been enhanced in terms of safety and service because of the increased staff to customer ratio.” Also, safely planning your vacation, whether it’s a cruise, hotel or holiday is helping others by stimulating our industry, and the economy of the surrounding community! What a great way to feel you’re making a difference – we know – it’s not exactly altruistic, but you are helping, it’s true!

Today we have a very special additional RISE episode which will be part of the Young Hoteliers Summit! TOMORROWS’ TRAVEL: TAKE IT FROM THE TOP! features Hon. Minister Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife for Kenya and Dr Hannah Messerli, Senior Private Sector Specialist, Markets and Technology from The World Bank. They’ll be talking more about the impact of travel on destinations. This is an especially important topic for our young TT&H professionals of the future! 

If you’re in the 18 – 30 age bracket, you’ll enjoy further discussion around planning your holiday escape in our next, usual RISE slot the following Monday – 29th March in our GEN-Z: BREAKING FREE! episode. No prize for guessing what that one’s about! 

In the meantime, go and plan your next holiday! Go on… you know you want to! 

 

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE. 

 

 

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL – WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AFTER ALL?

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL – WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AFTER ALL?

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL – WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AFTER ALL?

 

Confession time! This title was boldly and unapologetically swiped from the lips of Anita Mendiratta. Our last episode of RISE was about the business of personal transformation. As Anita and Demian examined the idea of personal transformation – assisted in their enquiry by our brilliant (and literally transformative) guests Dr Clare Neser and Mia Kyricos – it became clear that the most important question we should ask ourselves is “why?” Apart from prompting Anita’s witty one–liner used as our title today, this question also presented itself as the obvious line of investigation for RISE – AND SHINE this week!

When we asked you, our viewers “what have you focused most on improving in the past year?” the majority, 31% of you answered “my health and fitness,” followed by 28% who said your skillset. Mia was unsurprised by this result, stating that “at times of change, people look for transformation.” What was a surprise was that no one, not one viewer, stated that they were focusing on their appearance!

 

What is Transformation?

 

It’s defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “A marked change in form, nature, or appearance.” And when asked by Demian how they defined it, Mia said that for her it’s about “transforming to the next best version of yourself.” Clare agreed, observing that after being “cocooned in restrictions” people are then “unleashing their potential and making the most of themselves.”

 

WHO?

 

BUSINESSES 

We’ve discussed over the past 3 seasons of RISE how each sector of our Travel, Tourism & Hospitality (TT&H) industry, like other industries, has needed to dramatically pivot. Re-imagining and re-inventing the way we do business to survive the changes brought by this pandemic has been central to re-engineering for the new world of travel that awaits us all. For many it’s been a question of survival, and for some – tech being an example, it’s been an opportunity for unprecedented growth. Not only are companies improving the way we do business in order to remain relevant and profitable – there’s also been a much-needed prioritisation of employee wellbeing.

SOCIETY

Being forced to pause and reassess our impact on the planet, on our communities and on each other, led to many of us feeling a call to duty – to action, and a sense that together, within our communities and organisations, we could and should effect change, do better, and be better. Also, interestingly, this pause has allowed us to look very closely at the decisions we make in our daily lives and how these impact our greater sense of wellbeing within our communities. Are we taking care of ourselves so we can help take care of others? 

INDIVIDUALS

This leads to an interesting angle. Mia made the valid point that “we’ve all had to hold the mirror up in some way.” To some extent self–evaluation has been driven by the extra time we had in 2020 when forced to pause. We’ve used this time to reassess who we are, and whether we’re happy with what we see – both physically and psychologically. We’ve had time to think about whether we’re happy, fulfilled, and healthy. For many, the risk and fear of falling ill brought home the need to improve our physical health and literally… our chances of survival.

 

TYpes of transformation

 

Our 2nd RISE viewer poll indicated that people are invested in improving their health and fitness, their skillsets, their relationships and their education.  As mentioned before, an interesting anomaly was that none of our respondents indicated an interest in improving their appearance! This feedback is not supported by the evidence of an increased uptake of surgery to improve facial and body appearance. Clare believes, in the case of her practice that this was stimulated by lockdown. The recent upsurge in these procedures is variously attributed to:

  • The opportunity for recovery time at home, behind closed doors
  • Our increased online interaction and the reality that many of us aren’t happy with what we see on our zoom screens
  • Disposable income that would previously have been spent on travel and entertainment 

 

Why, and why now?

 

This is the most important question! 

What makes us want to change anything about ourselves? This question has been partially answered in terms of:

  • The opportunity the pandemic provided to be better and do better
  • The necessity for survival of businesses and individuals

What we haven’t discussed is that taking action, transforming and improving ourselves provides us, psychologically with a sense of taking back control during a time when we feel we have little or no control over outcomes. 

Lack of control and an inability to predict what tomorrow will bring leads to a sense of powerlessness and fear. Controlling in some small way, any element of our lives, whether it’s improving our diet, fitness, skillset, or relationship gives us comfort in the ability to predict and manage whatever area of our lives we can!

 

What does it all mean?

 

Will the momentum of positive change continue beyond the pandemic? Will the self-healing, the improved wellbeing, the prioritisation of self-care and care for others remain part of our next normal? Or will we revert to old habits once we’re able to move about freely again?  What improvements have you made, and which are you determined to maintain? As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

On that note of positivity – next Monday on RISE it will be “SMOOTH SAILING?” featuring Kelly Craighead, the President and CEO of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and Bernhard Stacher, VP of Global Hotel Operations, MSC Cruises.

No better Execs in Residence to give us a sense of how smooth, or choppy, the waters are ahead. We look forward to welcoming you on board!

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE!

 

INSPIRING UNITY THROUGH HEARTBROKEN COMMUNTIY

The global hospitality community has always been one of exceptional leaders – people who have dedicated their lives to taking care of, protecting, serving, and celebrating others.

Why? Because hospitality has always been about welcoming people into one’s home, whether ‘home’ is a B&B, a major hotel, a resort, a private property, a boutique establishment or a shared space. Hospitality is ultimately about home. True hospitality leadership is, and always will be, about honouring this truth.

Just days ago the global travel community suffered an incredible loss. With great shock and sadness, news spread – news that caused us all to look twice, check sources, question its truth, and quietly pray it was not so. At a time of endless hardship, heartache and helplessness for millions across the globe, news of the passing of Arne Sorenson was haunting. Following a long period of struggle with pancreatic cancer it was his time to rest.

The news was something that no one was ready for because he was a man that no one in the international hospitality community was ready to let go. Immediately messages of grieving were passed around the world from community to community: across hospitality, across C-Suite peers, across friends. Shock and sadness eclipsed protocol and policy. Outreaches were in every direction as the hospitality community in every part of the world felt a sense of loss. Whether one had at one time shaken his hand, or simply heard of his life’s work, all were shaken.

Remarkable about Arne was not purely his example of excellence as the President and CEO of Marriott International – the company’s first leader not Marriott blood-family, but the way in which he created an international, thousands-strong family across Marriott. Surprisingly for many, the bonds of grief formed by his passing reached beyond the business to touch the wider global hospitality community, stretching to the highest levels, across colleagues and competitors alike. Spontaneous, unfiltered statements of sadness were penned by our industry’s elite, its elders, its everyman and everywoman. As divided as we have all been this past year – grounded as a result of borders, skies and doors being forced closed – and often working in parallel yet apart towards safe, secure, sustainable restart of our essential sector, news of the loss of a pillar of our community found us, in an instance, united.

In this moment of pause, prayer, for for many, pangs of loss, it feels a powerful message has been whispered, one that will hopefully be a part of the DNA of our shared Travel & Tourism future: future leadership is not purely about monitoring and managing the numbers, nor the traditional industry metrics. Leadership in the future is about protecting, promoting and passionately uniting those in the hospitality community – the visitors and the visited, the leaders and the loved ones – building meaningful, quantitatively and qualitatively measurable bonds through our life’s work in our essential industry, recognising that through these times of historical challenge, ‘essential’ has become an adjective to describe fundamental value and worth.

Whether hotel industry competitors, colleagues, former classmates or future confidantes, Arne inspired all in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality sector to recognise that, first and foremost, hospitality is about taking care of one. He bravely stood before the cameras in 2020’s early days of the pandemic to inspire courage, compassion, hope and unity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6af2lVfDDk.

Today, a year on, he has done it once more. https://twitter.com/marriottintl/status/1362920882990174209

Arne Sorenson has left a legacy of exemplary leadership not only as a hospitality professional and practitioner, but as a person. In leaving our community, he opened our shared community heart. He opened our ability to spontaneously reach out to one another and simply say, without agenda, without any intended outcome, “I’m sorry for your loss”. This has been, it feels, a parting gift, for at this time when our incredible industry continues to suffer inexplicable loss, the ability to look around and see who still cares, is invaluable.

Rest well, fine Sir. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2021

 

 

In Search of Meaningful Connections

In Search of Meaningful Connections

In Search of Meaningful Connections

 

What is the one thing that has been most disrupted by this pandemic? No question about it: our freedom to connect in person, physically with other people and places. Our physical, sensory experiences have been curtailed. We’ve retreated into the virtual, digital world of online relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Our physical connection with places has diminished to a small radius of only “essential” interactions.

 

 DisconnecteD

The result? A sensory disconnect that has created a strange dichotomy of both craving and fearing physical reconnection with our greater world and community.

“What does this have to do with Season 3 Episode 3 – Retail Therapy” you ask? Well – we explored the relationship between retail, travel and tourism, with invaluable insights offered by our guests Andrew Jennings and David Green. As you know, in RISE – AND SHINE we like to dig a little deeper and understand more about the human behaviours driving the decisions we make. We also like to check in with our viewers and get a sense of where you are in this – which is why we have our RISE viewer polls. Some interesting patterns are apparent.

 

Meaningful Connection

 

The common thread that seems to run through the choices we’re making is our pursuit of a meaningful connection. Our need for meaningful connection includes:

  • connecting and identifying with ourselves and who we are 
  • connecting to the people inside and outside of our ‘bubbles’ 
  • the way we connect with places – from our local communities to our choice of shopping and holiday destinations.

Connection with ourselves

Over the past year, we’ve seen the increased focus on self-improvement, re-invention, and making decisions in our personal and professional lives that re-examine who we are versus who we want to be. In some cases, this has been forced by changes in personal circumstances such as unemployment. In others, the pandemic has simply raised questions which have redefined our personal priorities, and our definition of ‘meaningful.’

On a consumer level, we see this reflected in the rise and rise of personal improvement and work out apps –  and the increased expenditure on luxury retail as people ‘treat’ themselves to compensate for missed holidays and entertainment opportunities. We need a treat if not a break! 

In our next RISE episode “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”, we’ll also be looking at the increase in cosmetic procedures and “wellness” tourism, but we digress…

 

Connecting inside our bubbles

 

As our lives are lived within home, support and work bubbles we’ve benefitted from more time with loved ones inside our bubbles and attempted to maintain meaningful connections with loved ones we’re physically distanced from. This has contributed to the strengthening of some bonds, and the dissolution of others. We’ve reassessed which relationships work and which don’t! Anita made reference to increased expenditure on luxury retail within our “affection bubbles.” Whilst disposable income isn’t being spent out-and-about on entertainment, dining and holidays, we’re treating ourselves to retail items for our homes, our loved ones and our pets! Andrew Jennings pointed out, “the retail winners over the past year have been technology, products for the home and pets’ accessories.” Fizzy bubbles are also a great example of luxury in-home retail expenditure – and no, we’re not just talking about Anita here!

 

Outside our bubbles

 

Our connection with those outside our homes has become almost exclusively digital. An interesting aspect of this is our exposure to colleagues’ homes and families – and all the vulnerability and humanity that goes with that. There’s no better example of this than the Richard Quest CNN interview with the CEO of Trivago which was interrupted by Axel Hefer’s young son. What makes this so appealing, apart from Quest’s delightful handling of the situation, is that it’s so relatable to all of us working at home with children and barking dogs. Hooray for the rise and rise in humanity!

 

Moving between bubbles

 

In our previous Season 3 episodes, 1 and 2, we discussed the trend of moving from one safety bubble to another. This is apparent in the current preference for resort destinations and short-term rentals such as airbnb accommodation. As travel restrictions are lifted, the preferred destinations will be the more remote ones, and the chosen travel companions will likely be extensions of our social bubbles, rather than random strangers. The motivation to travel has become a meaningful connection with others, rather than purely adventure seeking or sight-seeing.

 

Emerging from our bubbles

 

As we move beyond lockdown and begin to re-engage with our greater community, it’s likely we’ll continue to seek meaningful connections with the places we visit, whether we’re dining out, shopping or holidaying. Is this because as David Green points out “people yearn to get back to retail,” and when we return to bricks and mortar retail shopping, we really want to make it count, and maximise the experience? This seems likely. Our RISE viewer poll indicated that most of us yearn for both the sensory aspects of shopping – the tasting, smelling, touching aspects (29 %) and the social aspect of meeting with friends and dining out (32 %.) Andrew Jennings agrees that “socialising is becoming an important part of retail and the future of retail will involve socialising and interacting with people.” This is good news for our resident Grouch, Demian! Whilst he proclaims that he doesn’t miss shopping at all, he did also let slip that he quite enjoys socialising at the cosmetic counters of department stores!

After more than a year of limited physical interaction with other people and places, the shoppers and travelers of the near future will be looking to mindfully, safely, re-engage with people and places we’ve yearned for, and rediscover the sensory pleasures of retail and travel, and the social interactions that go with both.  What will be different from before? Quality over quantity, and the increased importance of meaningful connections between people, places and products. 

As always, we’d love to hear your views on this. What do you most look forward to when you’re able to shop in person again?

Don’t miss the next ‘live’ episode of RISE on Monday, March 01st, 12:00GMT  – “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.”  We’ll be talking about the rise in cosmetic procedures (including domestic Medical Tourism) and Wellness Tourism with our brilliant guests, Dr Clare Neser and Mia Kyricos. RISE promised you interesting angles on our Travel, Tourism & Hospitality industry and we love being able to deliver!

 

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE.

 

 

 

Finding The Faces Behind the Stats

Finding The Faces Behind the Stats

Finding The Faces Behind the Stats

Every week on RISE we try, as best we can to keep you informed of the news rather than the noise of this pandemic, especially as related to the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality sector (TT&H). It’s easy to get lost in the stats, or perhaps it’s more comfortable to focus on those, than on the human faces behind them.

THE FACE OF BUSINESS CLOSURES

Last week’s episode – Trading Spaces, Going Places, for many – really hit us in ‘the feels!’ Was it the raw, chilling, anguish of LA county restaurant owner Angela Marsden in the now viral video clip shared by Demian, in which she rails against the injustice of her restaurant closure, and implores local government and the public for support in saving her and other restaurant businesses? Possibly – it certainly affected all of us. We tease our Prof. Hodari about being grumpy, but all jest aside – this clip shared by him was an emotional insight that truly highlighted the human faces behind all the business closures! 

THE FACES IN OUR COMMUNITIES

There is a real sense that people are making an effort to create order from the chaos brought by this crisis, and to control what they can. This includes how we spend our time and with whom we spend it. There’s a shifting of priorities and purpose, as well as a greater sense of community sharing and responsibility. As you may recall, in our Season 3 kick-off episode on January 18th, we talked about legacy, and how the tourist of the future will likely be a more conscious traveller, with a greater sense of accountability for the impact they make. In our second episode this past week, we talked about how tourism has become a genuinely more community-shared experience.

THE FACES OF OUR TRAVELERS

How do these human insights impact TT&H? Our viewer polls are always revealing, but what was really interesting last episode was that we asked you the same question almost a year ago (Season 1, Episode 3.) We asked: “Which of the lodging sectors will recover quickest after travel restrictions are lifted.”

Back then, 42% of you thought it would be city hotels, and 18% thought it would be resort hotels. Almost a year on, we asked the same question again this episode, and your response has been inverted! The majority – 37% of you, now back Resort Hotels for the fastest recovery, closely followed by short term rentals and only 11% predicted a faster rebound for city hotels. Is this because city hotels are associated with business travel? Or because people prefer to stay away from crowded city centres? Something tells us it’s about trust.

This question ties in with our first poll result which declared that the majority of you felt that remote working and studying would be the one ‘lockdown behaviour’ that would have the greatest impact on your lives 2 years from now. 

Velma Corcoran, our great Exec. In Residence from Airbnb who has the very cool title of Regional Lead for Middle East & Africa, added “there’s been a shift from mass travel to the same destinations to see the sights – to more meaningful travel, to reconnect with loved ones.” This has resulted in dispersed travel to more remote destinations, rather than mass influx into the cities. A positive benefit of this – apart from encouragement that traveling safely is possible, has been the business stimulus to local communities around the host accommodation. This increase in traveling from one “safe bubble” to the next, possibly also accounts for our viewers predicting that resort hotels will be the happy beneficiaries of tourist interest once restrictions are lifted. 

FACING OUR PERSONAL VALUE… AND VALUES

The way that we as people and as communities are coping, and creating a sense of order in our lives, is by re-prioritizing what’s important. These are our loved ones, our communities – local and sometimes virtual. Also how we spend our time – with an increased emphasis on quality time with loved ones. From the distrust in leadership and the conflicting information, has arisen a greater sense of personal accountability and responsibility for the choices we make – thus safeguarding ourselves and those we care about. Predicting and forecasting at the moment is almost impossible, and information is often unreliable. This is why we crave familiarity, transparency and a clear sense of what to expect! Authenticity, accountability and transparency – if these are the personal and corporate values that come to the fore out of this crisis, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all!

What do YOU feel are the most important values to you, and what do you value most now? Have they changed from a year ago? COVID19 is dropping a huge mirror in front of us all – what are you seeing?? As always, we love hearing from you, and checking in with you – not just as students and professionals – as people!

Next Monday on RISE we’ll be talking “Retail Therapy” with Andrew Jennings and David Green – 2 highly respected, globally celebrated and driven leaders. They have a wealth of experience to share and more to tell about how these challenging times have made retail a very interesting part of our survival… and our sneaky self-indulgences. Don’t miss out!

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE. 

 

 

 

 

BRIEF BREATHS OF COVID-HEALING

In a year+ of being intensely locked up and locked in by a global pandemic,

a year+ in which we’ve been so tightly constricted in our connections to one another,

the radius of our world dramatically reduced,

restricted,

relying on regulations for recalibration,

repeatedly having to realign expectations,

it is almost impossible to notice how tightly the windows of our mind and heart are shut.

Out of necessity,

out of responsibility,

out of fear,

out of habit,

we have turned our worlds into what we see around us,

in our homes,

in our bubbles,

on our screens,

all under our control,

based on the best advice given by leaders leading our collective efforts to take control of COVID19, taking us all to a place of global health, global security and global stability.

With all travel stopped, our only movement being that around our limited local lifestyles, familiar sights, sounds, scents, sanitized touches and even tases once savoured lose their intensity. Without us knowing, without us even noticing.

And then it happens – a safely and securely locked window is opened just a crack. A window you were told to lock, and keep locked, until deemed safe to re-open. Until trustworthy to be opened. A dry, creaking sounds give way to silence. Only a heartbeat can be heard, a heart that beats stronger and stronger and louder as clear, fresh, pure, light, cool air brushes past.

 

You are free.

You travel.

Not next door, not nearby. Somewhere new. Briefly, very briefly. But you are away. Regulations respected. Protocols observed. Experience expectations adjusted.

Briefly away.

After a long, painful blur of months blending into countless months, suddenly moment counts.

Every sense is alive.

How incredible it is to realise, after being constricted of breathing for month after month after month, that the window is open, even just that little crack.

How almost disturbing it is when you in  fresh air. Then and only then is the staleness recognised.

As the sound of birds is carried in on the breeze, only then is the thickness of silence broken.

Only in looking out to the big, wide open, blue sky are the boundaries of the ceiling visible.

Only in touching clean, clear waters is the dryness felt.

As our world opens up once more – slowly, cautiously, for some even fearfully – in tandem it will pry open a part of our minds and hearts that has, over time, over trauma, that has been tightly shut out of necessity, out of self-protection, out of even, for some, boredom.

In so doing , it will open up the flow of tears.

 

In so many ways, travel, which is often seen as being recreational, is actually medicinal.

Why? Because it helps heal.

It helps heal our minds from suffering limitations in creativity and inspiration, vision and imagination.

It helps break patterns of intensity of busy-ness, waves of intense anxiety, overfocus on the micro.

It heals us emotionally – widening our perspective, rebooting our spirit of optimism, reigniting our confidence, re-strengthening our hope.

It heals us psychologically by, giving us a sense of humility of honor and a blessing.

And it heals us socially, reconnecting us to the wider, kinder world around us.

Suddenly, strangely yet so beautifully, all that matters is to be able to feel balance, feel freshness, feel freedom, feel gratitude.

Suddenly, for the first time after a long, hard, challenging, exhausting, trying time, layers of self-protection and self-preservation begin to melt.

Suddenly every cell feels the same sensation: freedom.

This time, our shared world, is a new creation yet to behold.

Who we are, how this COVID19 chapter of our lives has impacted who we are, is yet to be understood.

Herein lies the profound value of the gift of travel – the blessing of being able to touch the world once more:

The beauty of travel will be, as always, not simply about going out and discovering the world.

It is being able to stand still in the world and re-discovering oneself.

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2021

 

 

 

LEGACY LEADERS FACING CRISIS: WISDOM THROUGH THE AGES

LEGACY LEADERS FACING CRISIS: WISDOM THROUGH THE AGES

LEGACY LEADERS FACING CRISIS: WISDOM THROUGH THE AGES

There’s something about families, and their ability to generate an emotional response!

And you know on RISE – we don’t just focus on the happy, shiny bits and ignore the tougher issues. Which is why our focus on LEGACY: “BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!” was so perfect for kicking off Season 3.

Monday the 18th of January saw the return of RISE – unbelievably entering our 3rd SEASON in what we thought would  be a 100-day offering. What a family reunion it was – with all the elements of love, sharing, drama, commiseration, laughter and even the inevitable feisty debate that one usually enjoys at family gatherings!

It was a reunion of our metaphorical family – THE RISE TEAM, and you, our Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (TT&H) relatives across the world. Also, our EXECUTIVES IN RESIDENCE were two brilliant leaders of global family legacy businesses that span many generations – Robin Tauck of Tauck Inc. and Adrian Gardiner of The Mantis Collection

We’re not going to try summarizing all that was said – the episode is worth watching if you missed it. (We’ve have made it easy for you, it’s right below!)

But for the moment, here are some of the interesting points that came through. 

The Future Looks Bright!

You know how RISE loves checking in with viewers at the start of each episode? Our Season 3’s first episode did just that – checking in on how you were feeling the moment 2020 became 2021. In our first audience poll 69% of you reported feeling optimistic about facing 2021. Yes, there was also an acknowledgement of fear and exhaustion, which is to be expected after the year we’ve all had, but to still have a prevailing sense of optimism is something to be celebrated. This attitude was also reflected by our guests, who shared their experiences of managing family businesses through crises over the years. These crises have included war, depressions, droughts, terror attacks and pandemics! Yet despite the trials of past crises and this one, both Adrian and Robin reported feeling optimistic about the TT&H industry’s recovery in the coming months.

We’re Not Wearing Shades

COVID19 continues its relentless spread across the globe, prompting further, and more stringent lockdowns and travel restrictions. International tourism has reverted by 30 years to 1990 levels with 2020 down over 75%, and hotel occupancy is only 10 – 15 % higher now than it was in the first lockdowns.

Sadly, global aviation is expecting to reach 2019 levels of momentum only in 2024. For our industry, aviation is the primary artery. And aviation needs open borders and skies to be able to fly consistently, globally. 

 We also can’t minimise that in our personal and business lives, many of us are still battling the physical and financial effects of the pandemic, either personally or through the experiences of those we care about.

 So, 2021? We are all in for a rough ride. 

But that is where the hope comes from – the ‘all’.

Crisis Creates Unity

We’ve seen this in our industry and in our RISE community over the past months, as sectors, companies and individuals have come together to share information. We’ve been inspired by the collaboration and creativity we’ve seen in problem solving and seeking solutions. Both Robin and Adrian referenced how their businesses and their families had been strengthened and drawn closer through navigating this crisis together. The stakes are higher when your business is a family business, as your name is on the door and you have a legacy to uphold. 

 We loved when Robin shared openly and honestly how COVID-19 has been different to past crises. Now, whilst a third generation company with different levels of family engagement in the business: 

 We are united. We are united in support of this company. Frankly it has brought us closer together than I have ever seen it before, so it has been a blessing in a number of ways.”

 Yet there are still many parallels between businesses and families in the way that they pull together to manage crises. 

 As Adrian said:

 “The whole virus, all the negatives we have had and all that we have had to live through has certainly got us to think. We sit as a team regularly and we say to ourselves ‘How can we survive this?’ Because it is painful, believe me it is really painful. We will get through it. But it is a challenge.”

 One thing that both Robin and Adrian agreed on was that leaders need to communicate, especially during crises. When facing challenges we all seek information, insight, anything, to help make sense of what is happening. It’s natural – we’re only human.

This is why it is critical that leaders are visible, and audible. Crisis calls on leaders to step forward, showing up personally, creating unity through human connections, not relying on official statements. Leaders need to show they care. We all need to show we care… and are cared for.

Tourism Cares

We all know this, as evidenced by the fact that we’re all here! That is also why RISE has been here for you since the pandemic started to shut down our industry. Together, and individually, we’ve seen businesses and individuals coming together like never before, working together, sharing resources and giving back to their communities. We are re-arranging, re-imagining, and re-building. We’ve seen the TT&H industry offering meals and accommodation to essential workers and assisting with testing and vaccination roll – outs. As Demian showed in one of his Headlines this past week, happily we now also see examples such as Washington DC targeting February 1st to vaccinate restaurant workers. This is a great acknowledgement of restaurant staff as essential workers not only within our industry, but within the community at large. 

Interestingly, Robin and Adrian both emphasised the importance – now more than ever – of tourism giving back. This is true, they say, in terms of conservation, and regional community support. Tourism is dependent on wildlife and community resources for its survival, and they predict the tourists of tomorrow will be increasingly conscious and discerning travelers!

Leadership Legacies

Both of our guests stated the importance of giving  – and of showing customers that you care. Adrian stressed the importance of focusing not only on survival, but on using this opportunity to constructively look at how you can make a positive impact as a business. Call it ‘pivoting’, call it ‘innovation’, call it whatever you want. Speedy creativity and the ability to find new ways of getting the job done are vital! 

We loved the Tauck Inc. message of ‘keeping the porch light on’, and reminding customers that they care, that they’re still there that they’ll be there for them when this is all over! This loyalty to customers, and prioritisation of their wellbeing, seems to be a secret of building future success. Forward bookings certainly express that truism.

There are also personal legacies to consider. As leaders, both Robin and Adrian shared how their care for the industry is now connected to not for profit work – working to help the future of our industry. In Robin’s case it is her now being at the helm of Tourism Cares. Adrian takes great pride in his creation of CCF Africa. These are important parts of their legacies not just professionally, but personally. We all have the ability to make a lasting difference. We all have the opportunity to turn this COVID19 chapter of our lives into one of our most important, and proudest, chapters.

 

What would you like your COVID19 legacy to be? And why? 

We love hearing your views, so please keep them coming, not just through our episode polls, but also through comments on this forum. Let us know your perspectives, and also what you’d like to see more of, and hear more about on RISE. 

Our next episode, GOING PLACES – TRADING SPACES  will be on February 1st  –  same time and place. See you there!

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE.