LIVEWIRE14 . www.conference-news.co.uk . May 2012May Whether it's a classic episode of Fawlty Towers or Alex Polizzi's latest TV series, the words hotel inspector can strike fear into UK venues.Two Cotswold venues have embraced the challenge by hosting a four-day residential training course for 60 hotel inspectors. Entitled 'Food for Thought' the training was a refresher course for the experts, most of whom have many years' experience assessing accommodation on behalf of Fear of the hotel inspectorCN managed to avoid the 'beginner's error' of taking a train to Warwick for the Warwick Conferences conference campus, apparently some do. You need to be sent to Coventry, of course. A nice busy day at the Scarman venue, with a fl ock (suggestions for more appropriate collective noun welcome) of legal eagles on site for meetings on a sunny day in April. Our own CN agency Spring Forum gathered a good group at the venue to discuss issues ranging from commission rates to the Olympic legacy. Read all about it further into this issue.Good to read, as a taxpayer, that the Eurostar is fi nally repaying the country for its investment. A maiden profi t, of £20.8m, was recorded last year. Well CN can certainly recommend the St Pancras to Brussels service: jumping aboard with the ops team last month for a date with the Houston Convention Bureau. Our US cousins were on a whirlwind tour of Europe and CN can only endorse the message: 'Houston, we have a solution', to your conferencing needs at least.The fl ying visit left no time to see the sights, apart from a cheeky Chimay in the Radisson Blu bar. The specialist conference hotel was clearly not short of good old fashioned Eurocrat business, with packed meeting rooms.Steppin OutThe organiser of a sustainable business conference set to be held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre was forced to cancel it after keynote speaker, actress Sigourney Weaver, pulled out. The organiser, The Thin Blue Line, told local newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald it was considering legal action against the actress for "breach of contract". It said Weaver had informed the event organiser via an email that she "would not make it to the event and she was disappointed".The Thin Blue Line had sold tickets priced at AU$1,023 for the event called 'The Corporations, People and the Planet' and said it had been unable to find a replacement a week after Weaver's cancellation. Other keynote speakers due to speak at the event were Sir Bob Geldof, Dr David Suzuki and Prof L. Hunter Lovins.''Sigourney Weaver has pulled out with five weeks to go and essentially derailed our business model for corporate tickets in the run-up to the event,'' The Thin Blue Line's Owner Ben Brazil said. He told the newspaper all tickets would be refunded.Weaver became a speaker on environmental issues after her involvement in Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey.Sigourney Weaver facing conference legal action VisitEngland. It was held at Cotswold Conference centre and the nearby Dormy House Hotel.Operations Manager Richard Howdle said: "Even though they were on a training course, i'm quite sure in their heads all the inspectors were assessing our rooms, food and service during their stay, but i've absolutely no doubt that we met their expectations in what was another challenge for the team."
LIVEWIRE2012May 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 15 Britain's fi rst astronaut has teamed up with experimental food scientists and a space nutrition expert to devise a menu for space tourists.According to Ananova.com, Helen Sharman worked with the Robin Collective and Professor Brian Ratcliffe on the project, as part of National Science and Engineering Week.The space menu takes into account the need to boost antioxidants to combat radiation and the fact that tastebuds are dulled so fl avours have to be stronger.Sharman said: "Like the best works of science fi ction, the menu includes wonderful fl ights of fancy but raises the key challenges facing chefs catering for travellers leaving Earth's orbit."The team have thought about everything including the fact that crumbs and zero gravity don't go together."The menu includes Amoon Bouche - some of the strongest cheese ever made; Take Off Tortilla - which prevents crumbs fl oating in zero gravity; Mars Breakfast Bar - a dehydrated breakfast bar; and Pot Roast a Pollo - a space age pot noodle based on a full Sunday roast dinner.Best decision To get together in 1996 with a number of other agency bosses (I ran a hotel booking agency at the time) to talk about the need for a collective voice for HBAs and what that would look like and what it could achieve. From those discussions the HBAA was born. Worst decision There are too many to count, but very few that I truly regret.My worst decisions have generally been to defer decisions that needed to be taken, for whatever reason. But that's a lesson you only learn from experience.Best and worst business decisionsPeter Ducker, Executive Director of HBAAA father of two attending a corporate event for Blackberry died after being stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle.Phillip Sheriff, 37, had been attending an event at Pulse nightclub in London on 3 April. Singer Jessie J performed at the event to promote Blackberry's BBM service.A fellow partygoer was charged over the attack, now being investigated as murder. A statement from BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM) said: "We are deeply saddened to hear our colleague has died as a result of the attack. "Our thoughts are with his family and those close to him."Tweeting following the incident, Jessie J said: "I am lost for words. All I can say is my thoughts, love and respects are with the family and children of the man who attended the gig."The event was organised by public relations fi rm Frank PR. Blackberry corporate event murder What should space tourists eat?Football pulls in the punters refurbishment of London event space No.11 Cavendish Squarerise in business trips in England in 2011delegates expected at the SECC for the Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference in 2013buying power of agent members of the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA)rise in gros profi t for agency Motivcom in 2011delegates attended the Allied Health Professionals Conference at Well Met Conferencing, Leedsworldwide locations served by Ovation Global DMCincrease in turnover for Meeting Magic in fi rst half of its 2011/12 fi nancial year