Q: What exactly is a Bango number?
A: Bango is a service that converts web addresses to numbers. The idea
is to make it easy for consumers to gain access to a site, particularly
those using mobile phones, since URLs tend to be long and difficult to
type into a handset. (According to Forrester Research, for every key
press needed to access a mobile service, the potential users drop by
The device is particularly useful for poster advertisers, who can print
a number that gives extra information via a WAP page. It is being used
by shops and leisure centres to give prices, by DJs and bands promoting
gigs, and by estate agents to provide details of properties for
Big name users include BA, Manchester United, and FilmFour.
You pay an annual fee to register the number, which would typically be
of around eight to ten digits and cost £19 per year. There are
shorter ones but they cost more. For an idea of how it works, test it
out at www.bango.net.
Q: We are exhibiting at a major show next year and have been thinking of
having our stand set in a miniature garden. Who does this?
A: Barbara Tocher specialises in floral displays and temporary
landscaping for exhibitions and corporate events.
The company regularly provides displays at the NEC and other big venues,
particularly for automotive and leisure clients. Another client is the
Open Golf Championship. Call 01675 442 763; www.barbaratocher.com
Q: One of our competitors has been running press ads claiming to be the
biggest in our sector, which we know it is not. Is there any way it can
A: Business that make unwarranted claims may be in breach of the codes
laid down by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It can force the
offending brand to make a correction or withdraw the ad. Around 10% of
all complaints are of this nature, made by rival firms.
An investigation will be carried out by the ASA's Committee of
Advertising Practice (CAP). But CAP will require you to provide a
detailed explanation of what you are challenging and to be sure you are
not just trying to make trouble for a legitimate competitor. It will
also name you in its report.
This is a self-regulatory system and an adverse decision is not legally
binding. But it is clearly in advertisers' interests to co-operate, and
the vast majority do. Call 020 7828 4224, fax 020 7637 5970,
Q: We plan to build a database for the hospitality industry, including
hotels with conference facilities. Can you suggest an agency that
specialises in this?
A: I-D Hotel claims to have the largest list of accommodation services
in the UK, with 76,000 hotels, guest houses and B&Bs. There are up to 80
fields, including details on rooms, leisure facilities, and disabled
access. Around 6000 businesses listed have conference facilities.
The company also has data on pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaways, and
Base price for name and address is £110 per 1000, single use, or
£150 for annual use. Phone numbers costs £25 per thousand
and other fields go down to £5 each. Call 01462 701500;
www.idhotel.co.uk. Other specialists: Parade Direct Marketing 0121 706
2020; Swallow Mailing Services, 01273 563919.
You could also try the University of Huddersfield, whose hospitality
research department produces a directory on hotel groups, defined as
companies owning two or more hotels. Full details include photos of
interiors, brand descriptions, and a classification of the market.
The directory used to be in book and CD form but has now shifted to the
web, which means it is always up-to-date. It costs £540 for
companies, giving unrestricted access to all employees. Call 01484
E-mail enquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.