by Rees Arnott-Davies Somebody once told me that if you want to give a play a bad review, simply describe what happens in it. King John begins with the promise of a war of sovereignty between England and France, with the French disputing John’s right to the English throne, arguing that his cousin, Arthur, holds a legitimate claim to the crown. Meanwhile, Philip the Bastard is made aware that he is the illegitimate son (hence bastard) of Richard the Lion Heart, after having been knighted, and given the opportunity to fight for John in France. In France, a number of strangely unconvincing noblemen, including the Archduke of Austria, the Dauphin Lewis and King Philip of France convene outside of Angiers with the aim of deciding how to win the crown for Arthur. They are soon met by the English army, led by John, and battle ensues, without any sign of victory for either side. So the kings decide (with the help of an impartial bystander) that perhaps it might be a better idea to resolve everything with a marriage, as was the way back then. So there’s a marriage, making some people happy and some people sad, at which point the Pope’s legate comes along and breaks it to everyone that John’s been a bit sacrilegious and will have to be excommunicated. This unravels everything, causing France to go to war with England all over again, a war in which John is victorious, capturing Arthur with the intention of killing him. I think you get the idea. One of the foremost problems with this production, besides the fact that it seemed a little under-rehearsed, was that it focused on presenting this story of blood loyalties and power-games in the style of Eastenders. The scenes between Queen Eleanor and Constance were bizarrely similar to a shouting match in the Queen Vic. The moments of intrigue and surprise were positively begging to be interrupted by an aerial shot of London and the tune that invariably denotes another cliff-hanger. This is not to say that the production was without merit. Both Alex Bowles and Chloe Sharrocks as King John and Constance gave generally good performances, but as the performance wore on it seemed as if words took longer and longer to come, and when they did they were often stumbled over. Of course I understand that a cast of post-grads and finalists may have more important things to worry about than learning lines, but the general lack of any directorial impulse (it seems characters spent most of their time, when not speaking, standing with passive and aimless looks upon their faces) coupled with the farcically over-directed battle scenes (soundtracks of an indecent amount of grunting) left the audience feeling that perhaps they had stumbled upon a revamped Beyond the Fringe. However, despite Helen McCabe’s portrayal of the royal court as an East-End pub, despite performances that put the amateur in dramatic, despite somewhat rusty stagecraft, despite all these things and more, it may be worth going to see King John, if only because until the RSC performed it in 2006, the last recorded professional performance of King John was in 1944.
A family-run Cornish bakery celebrated its 50th anniversary at the flagship Padstow store last week. The Buttermilk Confectionery Co, which has produced fudge since 1964, invited customers and suppliers to an event at the site to celebrate the 50-year landmark.The business is run by second-generation owners, David and Tracy Goad, who took over the shop in 2010 from David’s father.Tracy Goad, director, said: “The business has grown so much over 50 years, but the core of what we do has always remained and that’s making quality fudge in open copper pans. We’ll never move away from that, but we have professionalised the business without losing the essence of being artisanal and small.”The celebration comes after the business acquired a new factory, which will double production space for the company. It will also increase output from six to 10 tonnes per week.David Goad, director, said: “We’re passionate about what we do and it’s important for us to grow while maintaining our heritage and our connection to local suppliers. Our new premises are just eight miles from where we are now, so it means we can continue to do this. In fact, we’ll be even closer to some of our suppliers, which is great for reducing our food miles.”The fudge company aims to use locally-sourced ingredients, and produces over 70 different fudge flavours.
Accor’s digital strategy over the past five years has mainly focused on increasing direct bookings through a halo of luxury and exclusivity. So far, their personalization strategy has focused on customizing the experience during the experience, but also on revenue management. Magnuson Hotels Accor Marriott Marriott directs most of its artificial intelligence through the Bonvoy mobile app. Based on user data, intentions, and attribution data, the application makes complex recommendations regarding the destination offer. Another major initiative is Marriott’s partnership with Salesforce to launch a customer recognition platform, which provides a view of each guest’s profile. The goal is to gather all customer interactions so that Marriott staff can act on the information received. Storing this data also allows Marriott to serve digital content based on behavioral and demographic data. Best Western Consumers require a personalized experience. Airbnb has invested heavily in artificial intelligence to learn from the bookings of their “Experiences” program upon completion of the accommodation reservation. “Historical data show that Japanese travelers, when visiting Paris, prefer lectures and workshops (such as perfume making), while American tourists prefer experiences with food and drink,” explains one of the scientists on the machine learning project. But interestingly, the Airbnb homepage is not personalized for unsubscribed users who have recently searched, but is static. Caesar’s IHG Companies today have more data than ever before to launch personalization. And the good news is that personalization and artificial intelligence are still in the infancy of most hotels and catering companies. So the field is wide. Hilton recently hired more than 150 scientists to help collect more than a billion data a day. One of the main areas of activity is their communication via e-mail, which now functions as an automatic one-on-one communication. “Today we send fewer e-mails than before, but engagement and key business indicators are better. More e-mail does not result in higher revenue – personalized mail and communication result in higher revenue, ”said Wesley Albaugh, Hilton’s personalization manager. Approximately 80 percent of digital personalization is done via email communication, so it’s no surprise that Hilton has invested in optimizing this channel. All IHG marketing communications, whether via email, SMS or Facebook Messenger, come from a single platform so that personalization and contextualization can include centralized analytics. They are also integrated with language processing tools to improve the “virtual assistant” and shorten customer service query processing time. Radisson Caesar’s, like many other Las Vegas brands, had to rely on innovation to attract younger consumers who are not interested in gambling. Their technologies use a deep learning algorithm that creates an “emotional profile” of customers and communicates to each individual, via e-mail, in an appropriate manner. These personalized messages led to a 12 percent increase in email openings. And Choice “threw himself” into the waters of artificial intelligence to optimize revenue. “Even the results of the small investment in artificial intelligence have been outstanding,” explains Terrilin Tourangeau, director of loyalty marketing. Best Western was the first large hotel chain to launch artificial intelligence ads aided by IBM’s Watson program. Also, since 2014, they have been using personalized email communication as well as geolocation. Personalization has become one of the primary digital strategies in the tourism sector. So at least many travel companies claim. But whether personalization is really implemented in the digital structure of online platforms, we will check in the analysis of emails, landing pages and ads conducted by the Hospitality Net website. Magnuson plans to simplify basic personalization with the ability to select a location at the top of their website. However, it is unclear which new content will be delivered after the search. Hilton Airbnb Their interactions with brands like Amazon have become standard – they want a customized experience that anticipates their wants and needs. Amazon makes about 35 percent of its sales through a referral mechanism. Choice Hotels In 2018, Radisson appointed Accenture as a global experience agency to use the data obtained for targeted campaigns. The agency said it plans to increase traffic with selected content and implement a “chatbot” specifically designed for event planning and meetings. Source: Hospitality Net Cover photo: Pixabay.com