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East Midlands Trains

So today I had to journey up from London to Leicester. A trip I’ve only taken once before, this time it was there and back by lunchtime. A little over an hour each way with East Midlands Trains  is pretty convenient for a meeting to be honest, and there are bag fulls of taxis at Leicester station so you can easily get to wherever you need to be (in my case, the Space Centre – a story for another day!). Being the keen bean that I am, I arrived at the magnificent St Pancras station about 45 minutes early so made my way straight to the first class lounge (obvs). I’ve been in several lounges in my time, and this one was probably around average. A couple of tables, some tea and coffee, juice, and the obligatory bowl of individually-wrapped cookies: “perfect for breakfast” was clearly the feeling of one…

The Malmaison Hotel, Birmingham

Walking up the road from Birmingham New Street Station (notably the wrong road as I, of course, came out of the station by the wrong exit!) I turned the corner to see a very modern looking, rather imposing building; The Malmaison Hotel. (and part of the shopping centre!) I arrived mid afternoon and some of my colleagues had been there all morning so I checked in on my own. When I asked if I could take the room keys for my colleagues so I didn’t greet them empty handed, my request was quickly met by the Malmaison receptionist. Everything had been pre-prepared and I was told that their rooms were ready. Awesome! I made my way to the Work & Play area to find my colleagues. I opened the door to meet a group of disheveled management who had been sitting in this small, windowless room since 9.30am. It was…

Something To Shout About

I meet with event planners and venue finders on a regular basis. Over the years they have saved me from the humiliation of hosting a bad event and found me some of the most fabulous venues for which I have, of course, taken all the credit for finding. So when I met Stuart and Ben from Shout About London, I was interested to find out how they might differentiate themselves in a very competitive market. They have taken a tiny portion of the market (namely London) and absorbed information about every bar, restaurant and hotel. They seem to know when new bars are going to open before the owner even does! (Well, almost). And the integrity of these guys was evident when I joined them on their Party Bus Tour of London when I was told by no less than three separate people that these guys have helped them out…

Independent Review of Travo

I started to write this review of TRAVO, and I thought to myself: there’s no value in giving my opinion about something when there’s no context. Yay, I can see how long it’s going to take me to get across town. Yay, I can see that there’s a cheaper hotel around the corner. So what? It would be like when I studied Business Studies at college and had no clue when or where I would ever need to know about ROI. So I thought about how best to review this product, especially for those assistants who are perhaps new to the profession, or new to booking travel. I started thinking about all the times over my career that this could have helped me. So that’s the direction in which my review will be taking; Where In My Career Could TRAVO Have Helped Me? 1. When I spent hours trying to…

The Genting Hotel, Birmingham

In the past week I have stayed at the Genting hotel twice, for two very similar functions. Both times there was a group of colleagues who needed a meeting room for the day, followed by dinner and an overnight stay. Both times we ended up using the exact same meeting room. The Genting Hotel is a large hotel next to the NEC in Birmingham. I’ve stayed in that area before, in a different hotel, and the amount of grief I received for booking somewhere with a buffet dinner meant that I was forced to look for somewhere else. This hotel was recommended by a colleague who came along to both of the events I had organised. The Booking Process Due to the nature of the bookings, I had to do it via email and phone rather than online. This was absolutely fine and I was being looked after by someone…