Saturday, 19 January 2008

World record at Heathrow

Travelling to Munich this Saturday afternoon for the DLD Conference in Munich. Realised on the way to catch the train near home that I'd forgotten to pack any cufflinks - which sounds not very problematic unless you have packed only shirts that have cuffs with no buttons! Added it to Heathrow shopping list.
The train was on time in London, the Bakerloo line worked and I caught a Heathrow Express train with no problems. It pulled into Heathrow at 1555 and I was through to the BA lounge in less than 17 minutes - including all security checks and the purchase of an(other) emergency set of cufflinks in Thomas Pink. There was even time to have a joke with the extremely friendly sales staff in the shirt retailer - top marks to them both.
Now sitting here wondering why every trip is not like this - hassle free at the airport. So it's time for a drink or two. Cheers.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Off to DLD in Munich

All being well (Heathrow airport and BA permitting) I'm setting off for Munich tomorrow (Saturday) to take part in DLD, an annual conference and networking event that brings together a wide range of truly inspiring people.
Colleague Jonathan Marks will be in Munich too, and together we'll be capturing the thoughts of some of the participants in high definition for AIB members to view online.
I'll be reporting on the discussions to AIB members next week in our market intelligence briefing, sharing some of the ideas that will be discussed and shared in Munich. I'll also bring some of the event to this blog during the first part of next week.

AIB recommends Kent IT

The AIB's UK head office is in rural Kent which sometimes proves challenging (when motorcycle couriers head from London with entries to the AIB Media Excellence Awards, for example, and they spend an hour looking for the building!).
Mostly, however, we find it works well. It's great being surrounded by countryside (although we could do without some of the mud at the moment) and it's nice to see pheasants strolling outside the office window.
And we've got some great local support services. This week, part of the AIB office IT network stopped working. There was no reason we could find and the level of frustration that built up as several people tried to solve the problem was quite considerable.
So we picked up the phone to Kent IT, a firm whose head office is at the Maidstone Studios with a branch just up the road from the AIB offices. We called them at 1630 on Thursday afternoon and explained the problem (which mystified the engineers we spoke to) but they arranged to have one of their engineers visit on Friday. Sure enough, at 0835 he arrived and within an hour had identified, rectified and checked the problem. We now are fully operational again.
Congratulations and thanks to Kent IT who provide a first-class service at extremely reasonable prices!

Monday, 14 January 2008

France 24 in the press

The International Herald Tribune has an article about the possible changes to French international broadcasting written by Paris-based correspondent Doreen Carjaval. The AIB is tapped for a quote in the article.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Travel booking woes

I'm heading off to the DLD conference in Munich later this month and needed to book a flight and hotel. I started off looking, as I normally do, at but then had an e-mail through from so thought I'd give them a try.
At lunchtime yesterday I thought I'd been successful using the ebookers online system. But it didn't like me for some reason and refused to take my booking.
I gave it another go at just before 5.00pm - the same thing happened. I spotted that there's a phone number to call, so I rang and after the five or six button presses I got through to a travel agent in India.
I explained what had happened and she said "it's always better to ring and speak to someone". I was rather surprised as I thought online travel agents worked, well, online. Anyway, she went through the booking and I gave my credit card details. She read back the flight information and I said "hang on a tick - that's the wrong flight back". She'd managed to get me on a far earlier flight than I wanted, so she had to try and change this (which involved talking to a supervisor and making me hold on longer). By this time, I'd been on the phone for 26 minutes. She came back and told me it was now all right - but then couldn't get her system to finalise the booking, just as I hadn't.
I was pretty frustrated by now, particularly as I had to go and collect my son from school and was now late. So I told the agent to cancel it all.
Later that evening, I went onto and booked what I wanted and got confirmation within about 2'30".
Moral - stick with the people you know!

Starting out

The new year has begun and with it I thought it was time to start a blog to allow AIB members - and the wider blogging community - to hear about my thoughts on the world!
I hope that some of what I write will be of interest, although undoubtedly as I put font to screen there will be things that don't make it into the "top ten" blogs of the day.
So, as I gaze out of the window on a thoroughly miserable Friday with the rain gushing down outside, I wish you well for the year and look forward to sharing some of the highlights of the coming months with you.