Event Organisers Update November 2017 ISSUE 158 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).

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Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


Now our train driver's unions have won a 30% wage increase for their poverty-stricken members after a year of holding travellers to ransom and damaging lives to fill their pockets it will be interesting to see what happens next. Emboldened by the sentiments of J. Corbyn who, completely understandably, says his paymasters should have more power will they now hold more successful strikes for another 30%, or 50%, or 100%?

Of course, our country being members of the EU and beholden to EU law has helped our unions build their power and it is no secret that they are very keen to see this continue.

Which is probably another good reason for anyone who feels that the unions have too much power to back the Brexit. For once we are able to make our own laws again some serious democratic consideration can be given to whether we can all afford to allow the above rot to continue.

Then let joy be unconfined...


A couple from Liverpool are the first to be jailed for making false claims of food poisoning on their holidays.

Paul Roberts, 43, and his partner Deborah Briton,53, sobbed in the dock as they were jailed for fifteen months and nine months respectively for claiming that two consecutive two week holidays to Majorca in 2015 and 2016, staying at the same hotel, had been ruined by severe gastric illness and suffering from "diarrhoea, stomach cramps, lethargy, fever and nausea". This was despite posting on social media that they had enjoyed "sun, laughter and fun".

The action was brought by Thomas Cook, who the couple were claiming nearly £20,000 from Holiday sickness claims have increased by 500% - 700% and bogus claims are thought to cost the travel industry £240 million. The frauds are fuelled by touts working for a fee from the solicitors bringing the cases.

A bad time, we see, for Skuli Mogensen, founder and CEO of Icelandic carrier Wow Air.

Morgensen's firm, stupidly, blitzed the press with a silly lie about a £99 fare from London Stansted to New York, nonsense that was nevertheless picked up and publicised unquestioningly by such quality organs as the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, the Sun and Hello magazine. Fortunately one sensible journalist, Simon Calder, checked out the scam on behalf of readers of the Independent and its i paper and reported that the £99 fare did not exist, and that the best Mr Morgensen could offer was a one way fare of £170 or a round trip for £251, both entailing first flying to Keflavik airport in Iceland rather than non-stop.

Morgensen's efforts at misleading, opined Calder, proved the fake news principle that "a fib can travel halfway around the globe while the truth is putting on its boots" So mind who you believe.


Visitors to Venice have been advised not to trust some of its restaurateurs after a group of three British tourists were charged £154 each for a lunch that included expensive dishes that they did not order.

Reportedly these extras, charged at the Trattoria Cassonova off St Mark's Square, included a plate of 20 oysters for £96 and a mixed fried fish dish, including lobster, for £261.50. Sadly university lecturer Luke Tang, who was treating his elderly parents did not send the unordered items back, even after he had got no response from the waiters to a request for the price.

Mr Tang paid the bill and wrote afterwards to Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro explaining that he felt "blackmailed" by the restaurant, and to warn others to stay away. Brugnaro's response, to call the tourists "cheapskates" on Venetian television and berating them for not leaving a tip, can only lead to the conclusion that eating in Venice is not a good idea. This is a pity as in the writer's experience there are some culinary bargains to be had there, though you probably need to avoid the tourist traps around the St Mark's Square area, and taking any advice from the mayor.

Our best advice? The unordered dishes scam is alive and well in many other places, with a large number of restaurants in the Ile Sacre eating area of Brussels coming top of the Euro rip-off list. However in London, at a newly opened Chinese eaterie in Gerrard Street, the writer was brought an unordered and expensive duck dish, on the basis that the waiter "just thought you would like it" We sent it straight back untouched. Go and do likewise, and let us know if, and where, it happens to you.


A bottle of what was purported to be a very rare single malt whisky has been found to be a fake.

The bottle of The Macallan, supposedly dating from 1878, had been kept unopened at the whisky bar of the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St Moritza, Switzerland for 25 years. Earlier this year Chinese millionaire Zhang Wei paid £7,600 for the bottle to be opened and for a measure to taste, which he did with the hotel's manager, Sandro Bernasconi.. According to Mr Zhang, 36, he enjoyed both the good taste and the sense of drinking some 139 year old history.

Sadly when experts investigated the bottle they found it was a fake, being a blend of malt and grain whiskies bottled in the 1970's. Had the bottle been genuine it would have been worth around £227,000, or around £8,000 a measure.

Since the whisky was proved to be a worthless fake Bernasconi flew to China to give Mr Zhang his money back.


Hotel group Britannia have been voted the nation's worst for the fifth year running in the annual consumer survey carried out by Which? magazine.

The survey was split into large chains of 31 hotels or more worldwide and small/medium chains of 30 or less worldwide and was collated from the views of 4,000 consumers. It gave Britannia two stars out of five in all categories, including bed comfort, cleanliness, customer service and value for money. The group has 61 hotels, with an average charge of £78 per night, and scored 33% in the survey.

Top scorers in the large chains section were Premier Inn (1350 hotels) with 79% while Ibis Budget (53) came second with 71% and McDonald Hotels (132), Radisson Blu (140) and Crowne Plaza (109) coming joint third at 70% The rest of the scores were:-

  • Ibis Styles (37) 69%
  • Holiday Inn Express (84) 68%
  • Novotel (89) 68%
  • Hilton Hampton by Hilton (63) 67%
  • Hilton Hotels (1148) 66%
  • Hilton Doubletree by Hilton (100) 65%
  • Holiday Inn (265) 65%
  • Marriott (104) 65%
  • Best Western (273) 63%
  • Jury's Inn (60) 61%
  • Ibis (134) 58%
  • Travelodge (499) 58%
  • Park Inn by Radisson (34) 58%
  • Mercure (130) 57%
  • Old English Inns (43) 55%
  • Days Inn/Hotel (47) 49%

In the small/medium chain category the top scorer was Malmaison (56) with 75% and Apex (52) was second with 71%. Lowest, but still way ahead of Britannia was easyhotels (49) 61% Other scores were:-

  • Warner Leisure (60) 69%
  • Q Hotels (52) 68%
  • Abode (49) 67%
  • Village Hotel Club (53) 65%
  • Hotel Du Vin (52) 64%



o The four-star Feathers Hotel, Ludlow, Shropshire has now been voluntarily closed by its management following a second case of Legionnaires disease there that killed a 69 year-old woman in August.

Elaine Brown stayed at the Jacobean hotel with her husband for one night in July this year, where she showered in contaminated water and developed the disease ten days later, dying in hospital of sepsis and a stroke. Another woman had also contracted the deadly disease at the hotel three months earlier but had recovered. However the authorities, Public Health England failed to publicise the incident or advise the council to shut the hotel down.

Mrs Brown's family are taking legal action over her death, which they say was "avoidable"


o Sad to note that a black tie dinner and dance being held by the West Cornwall Golf Club at the historic Tregenna Castle Hotel, St Ives, Cornwall was marred by some unseemly fighting on the dance floor. Apparently a number of people were injured, including one of the police officers called to the scene, and a 22 year-old female student was arrested and charged with assault and criminal damage.


o The Hotel LLiada, in Perivolos on the Greek island of Santorini has been successfully sued for £33,750 by an elderly tourist from Torbay after she fell down stone steps that had no handrail on one side. Carole Peters,60, fractured her arm and injured her head and sued for £50,000. The hotel, through travel agent Tui, claimed that Peters was very drunk and wearing "silly shoes".

However at Central London County Court judge James Howlett accepted that the lack of a safety rail was mostly to blame and that Peters had not been drunk and had been wearing sensible flat heeled sandals, but had not been looking where she was going, hence the reduction in the award made.


o Three venues in Central England have recently gone into administration.(Business Desk) They are the Astbury Estate in Shropshire, a golf course, stately home and corporate hospitality venue owned by a former guitarist of rock band Judas Priest; the 23-room Bridge Hotel and wedding venue in Prestbury, Cheshire; Unity House, Wakefield, a multi-use event space.


o The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, has banned former footballer and comedy actor O.J.Simpson after he was allegedly involved in a drunken scuffle there. Simpson was paroled from jail last month after serving nine years for robbery.


Good to note that one of our event industry publications, Conference News, is taking a belated stab at the cadging band of so-called organisers who have little or no business to offer but turn up for any free food or drink going from suppliers, sometimes three or more events in a night, and tour event industry exhibitions grabbing freebies.

As regular readers will know Event Organisers Update has long exposed the liggers, naming and shaming some of the worst, including one lady who operated an email alert to advise her growing list of freeloaders of where the free pickings were and who threatened us, but only threatened, with legal action. Now Conference News has revealed the existence of another list of grabbers doing the rounds, that suppliers not wishing to be conned can use to clean their mailing lists.

A copy of this would be gratefully received by Old Grit, for publication of course.


There is another side to the above and that is the dubious practice of some destinations requiring publications to become supportive "media partners" before giving them any "hosting" in the form of free air tickets, accommodation etc to write about them.

Our Asian friends are especially keen on this editorial prostitution, from what we've been offered and rejected. Pity some of our "independent" event industry publications can’t do likewise.


So what should you do if you spot an unattended packages or bags on the railways? Well the advice of the British Transport Police and sensible authorities everywhere, is to leave it well alone and report it to the railway company, or call the police.

Interestingly this is not the case, it seems, at operator Greater Anglia where a woman traveller who spotted and reported an unattended sports bag on her morning commute from Bishop's Stortford was told by the company to pick it up and hand it into staff, instructions she sensibly refused.

Question is if the train operator doesn't take safety seriously how can they expect their customers to?


o Those who like huge portions of home style Italian pasta at low prices can head to Lena's Bar and Kitchen at 39, Queenstown Road, Clapham.SW8 3RE. Our first meal there for two started with a generous and very tasty Parmigiana di Melanzane, a vegetarian dish of aubergine baked with mozzaeella and parmesan cheeses, tomato sauce and served with fresh basil leaves.

This was followed by a penne con polpette, a gigantic mound of penne pasta smothered in tomato sauce with three giant meatballs made as we do at home with just good quality minced beef and little else, and an equally giant portion of tagliatelle alla bolognese. We couldn't finish either and were offered the chance to take the rest home. Best of all was the fact they accept the Tastecard dining discount card for most of the dishes there on a 2 for 1 basis, cheapest one free, so our aubergine starters were £4 each and our pasta mains were £5.50. They brought the free cold tap water without being asked.


o Old Gannet is lucky to have a rather good Indian restaurant just at the end of his road, Biggles Lounge at 4-6 Shortmead Street, in his home city of Biggleswade, Beds.

Here the award-winning chef cooks up a storm offering nearly 200 dishes, side dishes and sundries, and covers any special requests for non-menu items. Choices for starters include their Biggles Unique of marinated stir fried chicken and lamb with mushroom, capsicum and cheese (£6), Tandoori lamb chops (£6), Tandoori mixed kebab (£5) scallops (£6) Steamed mussels (£5) Lasgow fresh water fish fillet (£5) and grilled breast of duck (£6). Mains include vegetables, chicken, lamb, prawn and king prawn in fourteen different sauces, (£5 - £11), eleven different meats/fish cooked in the Tandoori oven (£7 - £11), and such delights as lamb shank, duck breast, crab meat cooked in various ways and a range of Birianis, all washed down with the famous cold draught Cobra lager.

See you there?

020 7622 2788


A box set of six early silent black and white films in Blu-ray directed by Germany's first great director Ernst Lubitsch has been released by Eureka Entertainment as part of its Masters of Cinema series under the title "Lubitsch in Berlin : fairy-tales, melodramas and sex comedies".

The films are:-

  • I don't want to be a man (1918) comedy starring Ossi Oswalda
  • The doll (1919) fantasy comedy starring Ossi Oswalda
  • The oyster princess (1919) comedy starring Ossi Oswalda
  • Sumurun (1920) drama with Pola Negri and Ernst Lubitsch in his last acting role
  • Anna Boleyn (1920) historical drama with Emil Jannings as Henry VIII and Henny Porten in the title role
  • The mountain cat aka The wild cat (1921) romantic comedy with Pola Negri.

Ossi Oswalda was nicknamed "The German Mary Pickford" and specialised in playing the feisty wild child - tragically she died impoverished and bankrupt in Prague at the young age of 48. In Anna Boleyn Emil Jannings gave a celebrated performance as the sensual and psychopathic King Henry, while Henny Porten, Germany's first major film star, excelled as the tragic Anne Boleyn.

The box set also includes a feature length documentary on the director "Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin : from Schonhauser Allee to Hollywood" made by Robert Fischer in 2006, and a book of notes for all six films.


We are starting an ongoing survey of problems reported to us that organisers have with their use of speakers. Some common examples are listed on our website Please check the ones that you have experienced and add any others not on the list. No identities of anyone contributing to the survey will be revealed and speakers will not be named.

Click here to take our survey.


Laws to ban strikes that cripple our transport systems are recommended for post-Brexit consideration, to much rejoicing... Partners of law firms that bring fraudulent food poisoning claims against holiday firms are jailed along with their crooked clients, to more rejoicing... Wow Air give away free return flights to New York, to apologise and compensate for lying to their public... Thousands of unordered meals are sent back in Venetian restaurants. The mayor of Venice declares a State of Emergency... A list of incentive travel destinations suitable to send sales staff who fail to make targets is headed by Zimbabwe, Myanmar and North Korea... A night at a Britannia hotel becomes the most common booby prize in sales competitions... and much, much more...


Text only ANNOUNCEMENTS can be run once for new products, new venues, venue refurbishments, new packages, organiser's trips, and industry showcases, receptions, seminars, conferences and exhibitions likely to be of high interest to event organisers.

Sizes, when printed out on an A4 page, and prices of ANNOUNCEMENT boxes available are:

One fifth page, 45mm x 170mm £200
One quarter page, 60mm x 170mm £250
One third page, 85mm x 170mm £325
One half page, 120mm x 170mm £400

To book email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk




This is published in every issue of Event Organisers Update and the cost to suppliers, based on a headline, forty words of text and contact details, is £95 for one year (twelve issues) or £65 for 6 months (six issues) Costs are being kept low to encourage small suppliers to participate.

If, as an organiser you know of any good suppliers you feel other organisers should know about please forward this issue on to them, or refer them to the SEO website at seoevent.co.uk




Located in London and Birmingham, Computec AV cater for all your rental requirements. Equipment available includes LCD/Plasma screens, PA systems, Projection Equipment and Lighting. Also in-house we have our Set Creation company specialising in staging, bespoke set design and build. Tel 020 8807 2002, Fax 020 8807 3818, email: sales@computecgroup.com Web: computecgroup.com


Quality event catering services for private & corporate functions using the finest ingredients in delicious & creative menus that can be tailored for any occasion, taste & budget. We work with quality venues in & around Warwickshire, inc. Compton Verney. Telephone: 01926 409579 Enquire in-store at Aubrey Allen, 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa ,CV34 5DB Email: events@aubreyallen.co.uk Visit our website: aubreyallenevents.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) running in Central London three times a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk


Specializing in cabaret shows and close up Magic for galas, charity events, weddings, & corporate events Le Magician Dean Metcalfe is a master manipulator perfector of his own spectacular close-up Magic, performances worldwide, see website for live showreels and more details visit lemagicianilluminaire.com


Newsletter, promotion, event invitation or just staying in touch? We can provide a low-cost, effective solution, tailored to your needs. Our bulk rates are 0.3p per email, or £3 per thousand. email: mark.ely@sg7.biz web: sg7.biz

Mocha offer a complete film and motion design service to corporate, association and charity event organisers, venues and others in the event sector. Mocha also offer a 10% discount to readers of this publication and visitors to seoevent.co.uk - just quote "SEO". Tel: 0151 706 0761 email: hq@mocha.tv Web: mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos


OUT OF HOURS SUPPORT GROUP provides MEDICAL COVER and SECURITY SERVICES for the full range of events.
Based in Hampshire, but covers events across the country. Experienced staff include doctors, Emergency Nurse Practitioners & Paramedics working with vehicles equipped to NHS specification, including an ambulance, 4x4s and all-terrain quad bike. Mobile medical centre available. Reliable and versatile staff are fully screened in line with enhanced DBS requirements with separate Disclosure and Barred list check.

Out of Hours Security teams work separately or alongside the medical teams. Security staff are registered and licensed by the SIA. All staff wear visible ID at all times. Contact Leo Burdock at leo@outofhoursmedics.co.uk or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828


Association News
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk

Charity Matters
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com

Marketing Matters
For those working in marketing. ezinematters.com


LCI offers conferencing with an ethical edge in Leeds City Centre. Five Rooms (Max 90 people) with Smartboards, loop systems, WIFI. Disabled access. LCI supports community/voluntary groups by offering significant discounts. Very close to railway & bus stations. Contact Moira or Wendy on 0113 245 4700 or email conferencing@leedschurchinstitute.org


Our pleasant boardroom is available for full or half day meetings. It seats 14 people, boardroom-style, or can be arranged to suit your needs. Catering and equipment is available on request. We are conveniently located just off City Road. Call Claire/Nora on 0207 324 0750; fax 0207 324 0760; email: enquiries@keyring.org; address: 27, Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR

The classical regency terrace at Park Crescent, near Regents Park includes number 16, which offers seven beautifully appointed meetings rooms, all with natural light and modern facilities, for up to 60 delegates, and a dedicated team to ensure event success. Tel. 020 7612 7070, Fax. 020 7612 7078, email. enquiries@16parkcrescent.co.uk visit 16parkcrescent.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) running in Central London once a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk

Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). EOU is FREE and circulated monthly to more than 21,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)

If you have any views on how our newsletter could be more useful to you please e-mail us at info@eou.org.uk

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