A very public row has been running since a blogger on social media asked the owner of a Dublin hotel for a free five-night stay for herself and a partner in exchange for some positive publicity on her website.

Elle Darby,22, who blogs her followers about beauty, lifestyle and travel, sent her email request to Paul Stenson, owner of the Charleville Lodge Hotel, Dublin, who turned her request down, and then obtained publicity for his hotel by publishing the request, and his rejection. Darby, who received abuse from bravely anonymous internet trolls as a result, has published a tearful video entitled “i was exposed (SO embarrassing)” and Stenson has responded by offering his customers T-shirts featuring the row.

Views on the uninspiring spat are polarised. Some feel that Darby overestimated the selling power of her blog and was accordingly naive in asking to be given an expensive five-night stay for two. As a rule most honest event industry journalists writing about hotels are offered just one or occasionally two nights to do the job. Others feel that Darby was also naive in assuming that a hotel highly star-rated for its facilities would not be cursed with poor service and/or terrible food.

However there is also the view that Stenson was gratuitously cruel in the way he rejected Darby’s hopeful approach, which came across to us as just something to boost his ego, something he clearly needs.


Britain’s first women only members club is set to open its doors in a townhouse at Rathbone Place, Bloomsbury, London on March 8, where facilities include meetings rooms, an exhibition area, wellness area, library and beauty bar. Annual membership is £750, founding members include Kathy Burke, Tara Fitzgerald and Naomi Harris and the founders, business women Anna Jones and Debbie Wosskow, say that the club will provide an environment for over-21’s to socialise, network, debate and work out.

Men can only attend as guests, all the wines served are from all-female vineyards and all the cocktails are named after famous women. These could possibly include the delightful Queen Mary 1of England who sadistically had hundreds of male Protestants murdered by burning at the stake for their religious beliefs in the 1550’s, which earned her the nickname Bloody Mary.



o Three hotel groups have been named as supplying freebies to the UK’s serial acceptor of glad-handing, Westminster Council’s deputy leader Robert Davis, who trousered 514 gifts, meals, tickets for events and overseas trips in a three year period.

Hilton gave him a Christmas present of six bottles of wine, Edwardian hotels gifted him Wimbledon centre court tickets and he enjoyed a Spa trip to Mallorca from Hyatt Hotels.


o Travelodge have apologised for branding a 46 year old father a paedophile when he booked a double room for himself and his 14 year old daughter at the Travelodge, Macclesfield.

Karl Pollard booked the room with his daughter Stephanie after being told by the hotel that it was the only one they had left. He needed it to visit his mother who had just been diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer, and the pair had travelled four hours from south Wales for the purpose. After they had checked in a policewoman knocked at the door to advise him that, following a tip-off from Travelodge hotel staff he was being investigated on suspicion of grooming an underage girl.

On the basis that the underage girl was his daughter Travelodge apologised “for getting it wrong” and refunded his room charge. However Cheshire police commented that they had “done the right thing” by reporting what they believed to be suspicious activity, that “thankfully turned out to be a misunderstanding”.


o Blenheim Palace have apologised after organising a Chinese New Year party that was described as “shambolic”, “a farce” and “embarrassingly awful” by some of the guests.

Reportedly the £25 a head bash suffered long queues at the single food truck. The palace said it was the first time they had run the event and that they had been let down by several food vendors.


A stupid decision by precious souls at the Manchester City Art Gallery to remove its famous Victorian painting of Hylas and the Nymphs so as not to offend those who might be offended by the sight of topless young ladies in an artwork has sensibly been reversed after public outcry.

The 1896 painting, by pre-Raphaelite artist John William Waterhouse, shows seven beautiful young water-nymphs, most waist-high in water in which they are trying to entice the handsome and gay Argonaut warrior Hylas to a watery grave in their lily pond, and scupper his place in the search for the golden fleece. As the story goes they succeeded since Hylas, who was sent to fetch water for the Argonaut camp presumably rose to the challenge, was never seen again, and Jason and the rest of the Argonauts sailed on without him.

The work is widely regarded as one of Waterhouse’s finest.


Event show Confex has announced a Future Focus of the London based exhibition to take place in Manchester, July 4-5.

This will be at the Victoria Warehouse, a 1900’s canal-side cotton storage facility located in Old Trafford, west of the city and offering a combined 4,533 square metres of space, including areas for parties and a 20-capacity cinema. There is also a hotel on site with around 30 rooms, many without windows, from £29 a night, room only.


Organisers of events for charities and associations might be interested to hear that the dedicated exhibition for the non-profit sector, CHASE, is being revived after a brief hiatus.

CHASE was founded by organiser Michael Webb, who sadly passed away in June last year (See obit. MICHAEL WEBB, Event Organisers Update, July 2017) Now consultants Hart Square and some others are bringing the show back as a one day presentation at The Brewery, London on Thursday July 5, incorporating the popular free speaker sessions and ending with a garden party.



In 1954 director and screen-writer Joseph L Mankiewicz followed up his 1950 All About Eve biting satire of Broadway with a biting and bitter-sweet satire of Hollywood, The Barefoot Contessa. The cast for All about Eve included Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm and Marilyn Monroe in an early role and received 14 Academy Award nominations, winning six, including Best Director and Best Writing Screenplay for Mankiewicz and Best Picture for the film. The Barefoot Contessa included Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner in leading roles, and Edmund O’Brien, who picked up an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his supporting role. Continue reading

Marketing Matters Jan/Feb 2018 ISSUE 60

MAKING MONKEYS OF US ALL Lawyers are currently preparing what is claimed could be the largest legal action in UK history – a class action against Volkswagen …

DARK SIDE Those selling Malta for sunny Mediterranean holidays or incentive travel this season have a new challenge after a journalist who made accusations of … 

GIVE IT BACK THEN Automatic fines issued to 800,000 taxpayers every year by the HMRC computer for late filing of tax returns may be illegal, a judge has ruled …

DEATH OF THE COLD CALL? MPs are preparing to debate new laws which could impose an outright ban on cold calls, something 85% of consumers would support …

NO BULL Following concerns that high caffeine drinks such as Red Bull are responsible for bad behaviour of children in school, a number of supermarkets are …

RICHARD PUTS THEM RIGHT A bad decision made by someone un-named at Virgin Trains has been sensibly overturned by the firm’s owner, Sir Richard Branson …

SIGHT FOR SORE EYES A sense of humour failure, we hear, prevailed among marketeers at opticians Specsavers after one of their branded cars hit a lamp-post …

OH REALLY FERGIE? The Duchess of York is claiming she has lost more than £40 million in expected business earnings because she was exposed trying to sell access …


Lawyers are currently preparing what is claimed could be the largest legal action in UK history – a class action against Volkswagen and its marketeers on behalf of all VW owners.

This follows the latest allegations that VW duped British officials into believing that its 2014 diesel cars were much less polluting, and therefore safer than previous models. This was done by rigging one VW Beetle to produce negligible pollution and running it in a laboratory where ten monkeys were forced to inhale the exhaust fumes, to prove that VWs on the road were safe.

However in 2012 more than 70,000 people in Europe died prematurely because of nitrogen dioxide pollution, which comes primarily from diesel vehicles, and Volkswagen have already paid more than £17 billion in fines in the USA for its federal fraud and conspiracy.

The illegal and lethal actions of the car manufacturers echo those of Big Tobacco, which once lied that cigarettes were not addictive.


Those selling Malta for sunny Mediterranean holidays or incentive travel this season have a new challenge after a journalist who made accusations of corruption against Malta’s PM, Joseph Muscat, was murdered there in October.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, who alleged endemic corruption in Malta’s government was killed by a car bomb that blew her to bits on October 16. She had just filed her latest article attacking the government there which finished with “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate”.

Other UK journalists have opined that Malta “looks increasingly like a gangster state: A haven for dirty money run by dodgy politicians, a corrupt judiciary and a partisan police force” with the rule of law “being systematically undermined”.