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Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 18 February, 2021

Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 18 February, 2021
18 February 2021 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 17 February 2021

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 17 February 2021, a total of 80,331,919 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,071,185 people have tested positive.
  • 15,940,972 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 558,577 have been fully vaccinated.
  • 118,933 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • As of 5 January, the whole UK has re-entered national lockdown, with guidance to be given on 22 February as to when restrictions will be eased.
  • Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found

UK travel restrictions:

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  • UK residents can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country they are visiting.
  • UK residents cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
  • In order to enter the UK, a negative Covid-19 test must be completed 72 hours before travel and presented to staff on planes, trains and ferries in order to board. A further two tests must be completed at the travellers’ expense during their quarantine before they can return to day-to-day life.
  • People entering the UK from high-risk countries, or “red” countries, will have to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense for 10 days.

Latest updates:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that the country will reopen in “stages”, with hospitality likely to be one of the last sectors to reopen fully. Speaking during a visit to Wales, the Prime Minister said the country would leave lockdown “in stages, cautiously”, as he stressed the need for progress to be “one way”. Asked about the prospects for bars and restaurants, said: “You have to remember from last year that we opened up hospitality fully as one of the last things that we did because there is obviously an extra risk of transmission from hospitality.” (Telegraph)
  • Brits may be allowed to take self-catering holidays as soon as the Easter holidays in early April, thanks to the falling rates of Covid-19. The Times reported that ministers are examining plans “that would allow people to go away for self-catering breaks as soon as the Easter holidays after Boris Johnson said he expected coronavirus rates to fall sharply in a matter of weeks”. The Times has been told that “under one ambitious timeline being considered by the government, families who live in the same household could be allowed to go on breaks together from April”. (Times)
  • A trip to the beach may be one of the safest post-lockdown activities Britons will be able to take part in, a Sage scientist has suggested, after evidence shows the risk of outdoor transmission of Covid-19 is low. “There’s been very, very little evidence that any transmission outdoors is happening in the UK,” Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told the Science and Technology Committee. “While trips abroad may have to wait due to the risk of importing dangerous new variants, beach visits could be given the green light”, Prof Woolhouse, whose research feeds into the Government’s Sage sub-group Spi-M, said. (Telegraph)
  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has advised Scots not to book Easter holidays, and warned overseas summer holidays are “unlikely”. However, she said summer staycations might be possible, stressing these would – however – depend on Covid data nearer the time. (TTG)
  • The Scottish First Minister’s statement has sparked a wider debate in the travel industry as to whether the government should be doing more to protect travel firms by remaining optimistic about future travel. This Twitter thread, started by travel expert Paul Charles, shows the real variety of opinions held by the wider public. (Twitter)
  • In a show of support for the struggling travel industry, more than 300 companies have now joined the Save Our Summer campaign by SOS Travel, with membership almost tripling in a day. The campaign urges the government to set a date for reopening travel to restore consumer confidence that it is safe to book. Save Our Summer is also calling for quarantine measures to be lifted by 1 May and replaced with a testing programme. (TTG)
  • Despite a lack of clarity as to whether or not holidays will be able to go ahead this year, UK consumers “have not lost their appetite to travel” according to research firm Mintel, with a study suggesting one in three still intend to take an overseas holiday this year. Mintel research in late January found two-thirds (66%) of UK adults intend to take a holiday in the UK or abroad despite the current lockdown and restrictions on travel. One in five (21%) said they plan an overseas holiday in Europe and 10% a trip beyond. One in 11 (9%) were undecided. Just one in three (34%) had no plans for a holiday. (Travel Weekly)
  • Accords between Greece, Cyprus and Israel allowing citizens with Covid-19 vaccination certificates to travel unimpeded between the three countries have been hailed as a possible first step towards normalising tourism during the next phase of the pandemic. (Guardian)

Social media:

  • LinkedIn has published a new guide for marketing and sales teams looking to reinforce their account-based marketing processes on the platform. The guide’s more focused on B2B sales rather than B2C — as is the whole platform, really — so if you’re marketing across LinkedIn in that space give it a read for some tips.
  • LinkedIn is also developing a new program to support the platform’s content creators. The site’s Editor in Chief posted a new job ad for a Head of Community at LinkedIn, aimed at facilitating further growth for the creators who’ve helped grow the conversations on platform by 50% year-on-year.
  • YouTube continues to put more emphasis on Shorts, their TikTok clone, and as such have just announced the new Shorts Report. Every two weeks, YouTube will publish a new Shorts Report to provide you with reviews of other creator’s Shorts, strategy tips, a spotlight for reference, and a Q&A to help you make the most of the format.
  • As TikTok continues to explore its development, it’s now adding a new recipe integration. We’ve also seen beautiful 15-second recipes that aren’t nearly as straightforward as they seem so now the app’s partnered with Whisk to enable creators of food videos to post a link to the relevant recipe. It’s the latest in a series of integrations such as Wikipedia links for more information, Yelp and TripAdvisor recommendations (pre-pandemic, of course), and even direct links to external ecommerce stores.
  • TikTok’s also launching a new Seller University, currently in testing in Indonesia, to help creators tap into the growing number of ecommerce options available on the platform. The Chinese version of TikTok, called Douyin and owned by the same parent company ByteDance, currently generates the majority of its revenue from in-stream shopping. This means there’s a proven road to success for the platform this way and expect them to roll out every option available to get the platform up to speed — and to profit.
  • During this year’s Super Bowl, Snapchat rolled out AR Lenses to help users celebrate. They’ve revealed that just over half of all US Snapchat users toyed with these Lenses. Most of the Lenses involved partnerships with the brands who’d already paid for Super Bowl ad spots. Cheetos in particular allowed users to claim a free bag of Cheetos just by scanning their Super Bowl ad with the Snapchat camera.
  • AR generally remains a hot topic, with Facebook and Apple both building AR-enabled glasses — which Snapchat has been experimenting with in the form of Spectacles for a while — so expect augmented reality experiences to become more and more mainstream.
  • Overnight, Facebook banned news on the platform in Australia. It’s been a blunt force trauma approach, apparently just clicking a button and restricting any Pages that refer constantly their own website with a domain — including Government pages like the Bureau of Meteorology and even the Facebook Page itself. Even if you’re not in Australia, you’ll no longer be able to share news articles from Australian sources.
  • It’s the latest move in an ongoing row with the Australian Federal Government over a proposed Media Bargaining Code, which passed the lower house last night. Google recently made deals with major national publishers 9 and 7 to pay them for news content, as the Code sets out to enforce, but the definition of ‘news’ is deliberately vague on the Government’s behalf to drive as much revenue through the law as possible. Google threatened to turn their Search service off in Australia before swiftly signing similar deals with publishers in France and Brazil so perhaps its aware of the writing on the wall.
  • Facebook doesn’t seem to be — or at least, it’s not as willing to let governments dictate how its platform works. Zuckerberg is famously the autocratic leader of the service so what he says goes and he’s on record before as saying he ‘doesn’t want to hand hold the publishing industry as it dies.’
  • The best comparison is Australia’s me-first campaign for plain packaging on cigarettes. Tobacco companies fought it tooth and nail but eventually the legislation caught on elsewhere and led to a global wave of plain packaging. Now we seem to be staring down the barrel of news-less social media.
  • Is that a good thing? Depends who you ask.

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