PUT PASSENGERS FIRST? THAT'S A GOOD ONE AT GOVIA...
There was an "extraordinary complacency about protecting the interests of passengers" among rail bosses, regulators and government officials, notes a damning report on the summer railway shambles, which featured 46,300 timetable changes. Additionally there was a "collective system-wide failure" and a decision-making process that was "not fit for purpose", one that has now decided that it's a good time to hike up fares again for captive commuters.
Of course those who rely on the railways to do their jobs don't need to be told this. They know and they are angry. And one deserving focus of their anger is Govia Thameslink Railway, (GTR) which axed 470 of its 3,880 daily services.
The fallout continues, with GTR, which runs Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern railways, now coming across as a disreputable firm that cannot be trusted to put its wrongs right. We say this noting that passengers completing large numbers of claim forms for Delay Repay compensation, based on the large numbers of delayed journeys they have suffered are being accused of fraud by GTR, presumably to wriggle out of payment. The same nasty taste in the mouth is left noting the claim experience of others who have had their claim forms returned by GTR instructing them to supply details for "journey 1" when "journey 1" doesn't appear anywhere on the claim form. One victim we know of several unjustified refusals of this kind for the same claim has now been told that the claim has been denied because the delays to its processing, caused by GTR, has put the claim outside the 28-day period for claiming. Clever or stupid?
One potentially good piece of news for passengers who don't feel their complaints are being treated with the respect due is the creation of a new independent dispute resolution ombudsman for the railways with the power to hold train companies to account and force them out of their "extraordinary complacency".
Let's all hope it works, especially at GTR, where the CEO is Patrick Verwer, Patrick.Verwer@gtrailway.com
BOUQUETS, AND BRICKBATS
Impressed to note that charity Diabetes UK has just won the award from the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) for the best conference staged by an in-house conference team, beating the two other shortlisted teams at Renewable UK and the Royal Statistical Society. The Diabetes UK event took place at Excel in March this year and team leader Therese Dolan commented that her team "worked incredibly hard to deliver this year's event" and that she was "so proud to see them rewarded for all their effort and dedication".
Rather less impressive for many is the curious decision by Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK to accept sponsorship of £500,000 from Britvic, makers of the Pepsi and Tango fizzy drinks, like those that Diabetes UK has identified in the past as contributing to the diabetes explosion.
This is, of course a great deal for Britvic, if not a valuable PR coup, but with questionable value for the charity. Doctors and campaigners have described it as "appalling" with one telling the press "How can my patients trust a charity that has partnered with Britvic" and others describing the sponsorship as "blood money" and claiming that "Diabetes UK has lost all credibility by doing this". There has also been the suggestion that it runs contrary to the charity's own funding policy which states: "No commercial partnership will be entered into with a company whose product or service is considered to be detrimental to people living with, or at risk of diabetes". One newspaper has described Askew's decision as "a grave misjudgment" - hopefully no pun intended - and suggested he gives the money back.
If he doesn't, isn't it a bit like a cancer charity taking money from Big Tobacco?
ARE YOU AFFECTED?
An estimated 500 million people who booked a Starwood branded hotel in the last four years have been affected by a massive data breach announced by Marriott.
Starwood properties impacted are Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels and Westin. Those booking these properties in the last four years are being advised to change their password for their Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards Program immediately, review their banking and credit card accounts for suspicious activity, consider a credit freeze if concerned about their financial information being compromised and to be alert for any emails supposedly from Marriott that might have been sent by cybercriminals looking to exploit the breach.
For most customers the breached data includes some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, and communication preferences. In some cases credit card numbers and expiration dates were also exposed.
Two US law firms, Murphy, Falcon and Murphy and Morgan and Morgan have filed a national class action lawsuit against Marriott International on behalf of the 500,000 customers. The lawsuit alleges that Marriott failed to invest enough resources in its security programmes to discover the breach sooner.
DRUNK PILOT JAILED
A Japan Airlines pilot who was attempting to fly his Boeing 777 while more than nine times over the legal limit of alcohol in the blood has been jailed for ten months.
Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, admitted to Isleworth Crown Court that he had been drinking whisky the night before his flight to Tokyo was due to take off at 7.00pm from Heathrow the day after. Security staff noticed he smelt of alcohol and was swaying as he was taken to his aircraft. Police were called and arrested him while he was working in the cockpit on pre-flight checks 50 minutes before take off. A blood sample showed a level of 189 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - the limit for a pilot is 20 mg.
o Plans are in hand for a new, 150-bedroom hotel in Church Street, Liverpool (The Business Desk)
This will be located on the upper floors of the George Henry Lee building, used by John Lewis until they moved to Liverpool One shopping precinct in 2008 and with the ground floor currently occupied by a mix of retailers, including TKMaxx, Rapid Discount and Poundland.
o The 334-bedroom Hotel Russell on London's Russell Square "needs to sort itself out" according to a recent Daily Mail's An Inspector Calls feature. This gave the hotel two stars out of five, citing "sloppy service" in the Neptune Restaurant - though "surprisingly good" food - small expensive rooms at £299 each, plus breakfast, a receptionist who knew nothing about parking in the area and "nothing in the way of atmosphere".
The hotel enjoyed an £85 million refurbishment last year and is, after a spell as a Principal Hotel, now managed by IHG and Covivio, under the Kimpton name, as the Kimpton Fitzroy London.
A Bristol restaurant has won the number one spot in the Harden's 100 Best UK Restaurants list for this year.
The food at Casamia, The General in Guinea Street has been described as "a carefully constructed, gorgeously presented, technically skilful and above all thoroughly flavoursome journey through a series of seasonal ingredients" by one of Harden's 5,000 reporters, experiencing the multi-course tasting menu for £100 plus.
The list comprised 49 restaurants in London and 51 outside the capital with modern British and French cuisines predominating.
OUR INDUSTRY CHANGES
o Centaur Media, publishers of Marketing Week are looking to sell The Meetings Show, the July event launched in 2012 and described as "the leading event in the inbound and outbound meetings industry in the UK". Also up for sale is The Business Travel Show and Centaur's long established magazine, The Lawyer.
o After 13 years as editor of Conference News Paul Colston has left to work on Mash Media's international titles, and is replaced by Martin Fullard, who has worked under Colston for the last two and a half years.
Those involved in organising group travel are invited to attend Excursions, a free one-day exhibition at Alexandra Palace, London.
This is running on Saturday January 26, 10.30 am to 4 pm and free transportation is being offered.
UNDER THE TREE
Inga is the maliciously evil neighbour from hell in this dark and affecting cautionary tale of suburban warfare escalating out of control between residents of suburban Reykjavic, Iceland, but it could happen anywhere.
The trouble starts when Inga's next door neighbours, Eybjorg and her husband Konrad, find that the large tree in Inga's garden casts a long shadow in theirs, and makes it difficult for Eybjorg to sunbathe on her patio, poor dear, so she sends Konrad over to ask Inga if her husband Baldwin could trim the tree and give them more sunlight. Inga responds by telling Eybjorg to just move out of the tree's shadow if she wants to sunbathe and then throws at her some faeces that Eybjorg's dog Askur has deposited in her garden, fortunately wrapped. You then gradually realise, as things escalate, that Inga is becoming unhinged, and learn that one reason could be the loss of her favourite son of two, Uggi, who disappeared a few years back, rumoured to be a suicide.
Meanwhile her other son, Atli, has problems of his own after his wife Agnes catches him watching a film of himself having sex with a former girlfriend and throws him out, forbidding him to see their four year old daughter, Asa. Atli responds by taking Asa out of school for a camping trip and gets barred from his house when Agnes changes the locks. He then moves in with his parents Inga and Konrad and gets embroiled in the neighbour-war which has escalated more, now featuring slashed tyres, and the disappearance of Inga's cat, for which she blames her neighbours, and takes a terrible revenge on their innocent dog, cranking it all up to end in shocking and tragic violence.
Interestingly for this viewer Under the Tree is described as a "comedy", albeit a black one, but if there's anything to laugh about it passed us by. It was, however an unexpectedly edifying and thought-provoking experience. with a lot due to fine acting by Edda Bjorgvinsdottir as the she-devil Inga, Sigurdur Sigurjonsson as her less insane husband, Steinthor Hroar Steinthorsson as their surviving son, likeable but hot-headed Atli and Lara Johanna Jonsdottir as his hurt and then spiteful wife. Also making valuable contributions are the neighbours, Selma Bjornsdottir as sun-worshipper Eybjorg and Thorsteinn Bachmann as her twice -married husband, Konrad,who the delightful Inga rates as a "loser" They make it a film to watch more than once, especially for the jaw-dropping twist just before the end-credits.
Under the Tree is to be released in a Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD edition by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Montage Pictures range. It is directed by Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson and will be On Demand from January 14, 2019.
OLD GRIT'S DIARY
Inspiring to hear that some good folk at Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, are keeping busy trying to get the village of Wool in Dorset to change its name to Vegan Wool, which they say is a more animal-friendly name that doesn’t promote cruelty to sheep. Locals however point out that the word is derived from the ancient word for springs and is nothing to do with sheep.
Also on Peta's list of worthy future accomplishments is changing some animal-cruel sayings in the English language. They recommend replacing "flogging a dead horse" with "feeding a fed horse", "more than one way to skin a cat" with "more than one way to peel a potato" and "killing two birds with one stone" with "feeding two birds with one scone".
Naturally we wish them luck.
Those children of all ages who enjoy the Mars m&m's chocolate beans might be attracted in to the gaudy m&m centre near London's Piccadilly Circus, but if so beware of very high prices.
They sell their popular sweets there for £1.99 per 100 grammes, which compares most unfavourably with prices charged at some High Street outlets, specifically the £1 for 133 grammes charged for bags of the chocolate variety at Asda and some pound shops. This equates to £7.51 a kilo at Asda and pound shops against £19.90 a kilo in the London centre, meaning that customers buying at the centre are paying nearly three times as much.
When we raised this with a member of staff we were told that Asda get theirs from the USA whereas the centre buy theirs from the EU.
o Foodies who find themselves in Skegness may think that their choice is going to be limited to seaside chippies and burger bars but in a few hours spent there recently we found San Rufo's, and some excellent Italian food, a brisk 20-minute walk from the centre, which can be made along the beach.
Best experience for us was the large plate of Lobster Ravioli, comprising ten large circular ravioli, each the size of a poached egg, stuffed with lobster meat and served in a rich tomato and cream champagne sauce, all for a bargain price of £11. If we'd have wanted the whole crustacean a Lobster Thermidor was on the specials board for £24.90, served with chips and salad or potatoes and vegetables, alongside a Penne with flaked salmon and broccoli in the tomato and cream sauce with a hint of chilli for £10.90. A side dish we couldn't resist was a bowl of absolutely delicious Truffle fries, big enough to share for £3.90.
San Rufo's has an extensive menu, with twelve starters priced from £4.90 to £8.20 and including soup with warm bread for £4.90, prawns rolled in smoked Scottish salmon and dressed with Marie Rose sauce for £7.90, a pepper stuffed with Bolognese sauce and baked with Mozarella cheese for £6.90 and butterflied King prawns with a spicy garlic butter sauce for £8.20. Main course choices of sixteen pastas from £8.20 to £11 for our Lobster Ravioli include King prawn Tagliatelli, a mixed seafood spaghetti or a salmon and prawn Penne, all at £9.90, a chicken and mushroom Penne at £8.50 or a baked Rigatoni pasta with meatballs for £9.00. In addition there are five chicken dishes, all at £13.50 and served with chips and salad or vegetables and potatoes, six steak and veal dishes from £15.90 to £24.90 a range of five steak sauces at £3.50, three fish dishes form £15-£18, including sea bass cooked with mussels and King prawns in a white wine sauce and five Pizzas from £7.90 to £9.20.
We'll be back, but can't promise not to be boring and have the same much-enjoyed things again.
San Rufo's, 185 Roman Bank, Skegness PE25 1SD Tel. 01754 612242 Web: sanrufos.co.uk
o If you like the taste of pork, and especially the guilty pleasure of pork fat, then you'll enjoy the tastes at Kanada-Ya.
This is a small chain of three Japanese Ramen cafes in London serving bowls of noodles in a creamy broth made by stewing pork bones, with some other stuff, for 18 hours and adding wafer thin slices of chashu pork belly, spring onion, wood ear fungus and a slice of nori pressed seaweed. This is for the basic Tonkotsu ramen at £10.50, and a version with pork collar (Chashu Men £13)) a version with spicy "tan-tan" minced pork belly chashu ( Gekikara £13) and one with chashu pork collar, porcini truffle paste and white truffle oil (Truffle Ramen £14) are also available, all served with extra noodles if wanted (£2) Noodles can come in the four choices of soft, regular, hard or very hard, with hard being the recommended choice.
Other options here are garlic or red miso sauces as toppings and a soft boiled egg, along with a range of rice balls with fish, nori or Japanese sour plum, and small plates of fried chicken and more pork belly.
Kanada-Ya earns a "very good" for its food from the Harden's Best UK Restaurants Guide and is rated as one of London's top three Ramen spots with four out of five stars by Time Out. The three locations are St Giles High Street, (the original), Panton Street off the Haymarket and the latest at Upper Street, Islington. Expect to queue if you visit the tiny St Giles venue at lunchtime.
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.
The new dispute resolution ombudsman is overwhelmed by thousands of complaints about Govia Thameslink Railway under its current CEO Patrick Verwer… Chris Askew, CEO of Diabetes UK admits he screwed up and gives Britvic their PR money back… A record payout for a class action lawsuit is made by Marriott over its data breach… Leatherhead and Liverpool are targeted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) for their names being animal-unfriendly, and Plastichead and Beancurdpool are suggested as suitable alternatives that wont upset vegans… A number of more animal-friendly English sayings pass into general usage including "killing two vegans with one stone", "more than one way to skin a vegan" and "flogging a dead vegan"... 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
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To book email firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE FREE NEWSLETTERS
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
SEO SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY
o AUDIO VISUAL AND IT COMPANIES
EXHIBITIONS & LIVE EVENT AUDIO VISUAL SUPPLIER COVERING UK & EUROPE
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: email@example.com Web: computecgroup.com
o EVENT CATERING
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our website: aubreyallenevents.co.uk
o EVENT TRAINING
EVENT TRAINING - WITH A QUALIFICATION
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 email@example.com visit seoevent.co.uk
TOP CLASS MAGIC AND ILLUSION ENTERTAINMENT FOR CORPORATE & PRIVATE EVENTS
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
o MEDIA COMPANIES
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. Tel: 01462 896679 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: sg7.biz
MOCHA:IDEAS, FILM AND MOTION CONTENT THAT CONNECT
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: email@example.com Web: mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos
o MEDICAL AND SECURITY COMPANIES
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com
For those working in marketing. ezinematters.com
o VENUES. LEEDS
CONFERENCES & MEETINGS UP TO 90 DELEGATES
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 email@example.com
o VENUES. LONDON. NON-RESIDENTIAL
BOARDROOM OFF CITY ROAD
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; address: 27, Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR
BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE. BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS. HEART OF LONDON
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. email@example.com visit 16parkcrescent.co.uk
o VENUE TRAINING
VENUE TRAINING, WITH A QUALIFICATION
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 firstname.lastname@example.org visit seoevent.co.uk
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