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TAKE5 gives you an update on the latest Meetings, Incentives and Business Travel related news. It contains short and to the point information on venues, people, happenings, lifestyle and general news that cannot wait to be told!

Enjoy BBT Online’s 108th Take5 edition. All of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

Ready for the new General Data Protection Regulation?

This May, the new EU regulations on general data processing will come into practice. These new rules will better protect EU-citizens from having their private data leaked and used without permission, but they will also cause a lot of worries for every company that has to play by them from now on.

SITE Belgium invited lawyer Magda Lauwers as a speaker on its Meet & Lunch last month, to guide us all through the letter of the law.

Our reporter Jonathan tries to give you a good resume of the rules of GDPR, click here to read the full story.

SITE Belgium
Quite a crowd had gathered for this SITE Belgium presentation.
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A state-of-the-art meeting venue
Event venue trends for 2018
meeting venue

Venue for the SITE Belgium Meet & Lunch, was the new Tech.Lounge opened in BluePoint Brussels.

Meant to be a meeting place for start-ups, tech-adepts and entrepreneurs, it offers 1,200 m² of flexible work spaces, meeting and presentation rooms full of the latest new technology.

The venue is located on the fourth floor of the BluePoint complex and comes with a brainstorm area with a high-tech presentation screen, a bar and an indoor food truck.

Great venue.
de kruitfabriek

Event Manager published a list of things we’ve come to expect dealing with event locations in 2018. Tired of people not answering requests by email within the day? Is the venue staff not thinking with you and able to answer your practical questions?

Furthermore, the article talks about the importance of atmosphere, storytelling and authenticity, and the popularity of industrial and outdoor venues. Read the whole story here.

BBT Online proved once again to be a trendsetter. We chose the ‘Kruitfabriek’ for our summer workshop in 2017, and for our event this summer we’ll completely privatise Lazy Jack in Antwerp. MICE planners, save the date: Monday, June 25.
Baltic blues in Riga – Destination report

Hugo Slimbrouck (Ovation Global DMC) took a famtrip to the Latvian capital Riga. He came back with a myriad of stories and interesting things to discover and wanted to share them with us.

The Baltic States are some of the lesser known EU members, but boast some amazing destinations. Riga is a treasure trove of Art Nouveau architecture, and perfectly blends tradition with cutting edge cool.

Click here to read the whole story.

Riga Riga Riga
Riga Riga Riga
It's better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation!
Learn about the new travel law with SITE Belgium
Print your own 3D pancakes
SITE Belgium

Are you ready for the next SITE Belgium event? This time it takes place in the evening, starting at 4.30 pm on 17 April at Living Tomorrow in Vilvoorde.

Expect an interesting mix of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities, and of course the necessary bubbles and bites.

There will be a presentation on the new travel law, gourmet fingerfood by Marc Clement, and the opportunity to drive a Tesla, have a VR-experience or design your own business card holder with a 3D-pen.

Click here for more info.
print pancakes

Every event needs good food. Sure, you could go the traditional route and book a classic caterer, but why not do something special? ‘Print je pannenkoek’ offers 3D pancake printing workshops, and afterwards you can eat your own creations.

You can use different colours and shapes, and when everything is printed, there are a bunch of different toppings to choose from. Release your inner child and go for a pancake party with a modern twist!

Feel free to try it all out on our next B2B Workshop on 25 June!
We publish much more news than you can read and see in our monthly Take5 Newsletter. Follow us on our Facebook page.
Wish we were here!
Sleeping like a bird

Zambia is an up and coming destination offering fantastic nature experiences, including the majestic Victoria Falls. It also offers first class accommodation. The brand new Thorntree River Lodge for example, an eco-luxury lodge looking out over the Zambezi River and the Mosi-Oa-Tunya park.

Its splendid restaurant offers fine dining in African Style and the lodge works as a perfect starting point for several safari tours.
Arctic Bath

Kenya is one of the best places in Africa to see the big five, and in Mount Kenya National Park you can now do it in style. The Nay Palad Bird nest is located in the middle of the park, and serves as a luxury room for two shaped like an actual nest. From it, you get a great view over the plains and the animals on it.

This bird nest comes with a serious price tag though. No regular pigeons will be nesting here, because the rate for a night is a 1,000 euros.
A floating wellness hotel
A vintage desert experience
Arctic Bath

The Arctic Bath Hotel is a new wellness hotel that is floating on the Lule river in the north of Lapland. It might be freezing cold outside, but the venue itself will get your fires roaring. The location is unique.

In summer you’ll be floating on a sparkling river, in winter you will be stuck on the ice. The hotel comes with six rooms with extra-large windows, allowing you to look at the Northern lights from your cosy bed. Every one of the huts is floating separately from the main structure. Looks like a wonderful place.

Arctic Bath
meeting venue

BBT Online visited Dubai again earlier this year, and discovered a great new supplier. Platinum Heritage offers wonderful desert safaris with vintage 1950 Land Rovers.

They are the only ecotourism desert safari company in Dubai and offer unique, sustainable experiences highlighting the local Emirati culture and heritage, as well as ultra-luxury desert experiences. They can facilitate both very large and very small groups.

A trip through the US with a Belgian touch
Unique boutique hotels in Amsterdam
Via Americana

Via Americana is a cooperation of four city guides with Belgian roots who all found a new home in the USA. Each of them lives in a different city and they all want to share their experiences with Belgian visitors by taking them to both the popular and lesser known parts of the destination.

Leentje De Leeuw lives in Chicago, Nathalie Bevernaegie in LA, Jacqueline Goossens in New York and Helene Toye in Washington DC.

Vondel Hotels is a unique collection of venues in and around Amsterdam. Vondel offers splendid looking 4-star boutique and design hotels, luxury apartments, fancy restaurants and a lovely B&B. Founder Arjen van den Hof uses the same simple concept in every one of his venues: creating extraordinary interiors through a clash of contemporary art and historical features.

A new venue will open in Maastricht later this year.
It's better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation!
Events at the Proximus lounge
New venues in and around Ghent
Proximus Lounge

Did you know Belgian telecom company Proximus has its own event location in Brussels? The Proximus Lounge is a very flexible venue able to accommodate gatherings of up to 600 guests.

It comes with an auditorium with a screen of 24x4.8m, and its lounge can take up to 300 people at once. The twelve meeting rooms can seat from 25 to 110 guests. The outside terrace is spacious and can also be used for events in summer.

MeetinGent & East-Flanders presented several new meeting venues for the season.

Looking for a unique location? Book a floating meeting room/restaurant on a lovely lake in Waasmunster, hold your event in a historic venue in the city centre or meet in a room with a nice bird’s eye view over Ghent.

There’s a venue for everyone, you just need to pick one.
BBT Online’s Bucket list - Nathalie Paternoster

Every month we ask some prominent MICE personalities to share their bucket list.

What are the five things they desperately want to do or achieve before they seize to be, push up the daisies, kick the bucket or go to meet their maker? In short, what would they definitely want to do before they die?

This month we asked Nathalie Paternoster, Senior Project Manager at Seauton International.

Nathalie Paternoster Nathalie Paternoster Nathalie Paternoster
BBT Online’s 14th b2b speed-date workshop at Lazy Jack in Antwerp – June 25

Our next b2b workshop, 14th edition will take place in Antwerp, on 25 June for incentive agents and PCOs. On 26 June we’ll hold a much smaller edition for corporate and association planners in Brussels, with a maximum of 20 suppliers.

Monday’s venue will be Lazy Jack, a new and great looking place located in a refurbished hangar next to the docks. The venue in Brussels for our corporate and association planners workshop is the NH Berlaymont hotel, which is located right in the heart of the associations district.

MICE planners can already register for the event, and suppliers can start booking their tables. (We don’t have that many places left anymore as we don’t take more than 80 MICE suppliers).

We’re happy to announce that we have already the confirmation of several new destinations attending like the Norway Convention Bureau, New York City, Hardrock Hotel Tenerife & Ibiza, Air Austral (Reunion first airline), DMC Smailing Bali – Ovation Partner, DMC CDM Thailand - euromic member, PortAventura Convention Centre. More are in the pipeline, among which technology suppliers, what about facial recognition for your next congress?

We'll make sure you'll get plenty of new entertainment, tasty food and party music! Mail us at to secure your spot. Don’t miss out as we only have place for 150 MICE planners so register now!

Lazy Jack Lazy Jack
Real Short !!

Consult BBT Online's MICE agenda, and don't miss any event.
26 April, Hotel de la Poste, Tours & Taxis, Brussels: Aviareps Around The World Workshop. Meet every Aviareps partners (tourism offices, airlines, hotels, tour operators) in one evening, and enjoy a nice networking party afterwards. Register here.
4-20 May, Brussels: Belgian Pride Festival. The 23rd edition of the Belgian Pride – a festival for LGBT people and everyone in need of a good party, will offer a range of activities throughout its two week run in the capital.
14 May, Intercontinental Hotel, Frankfurt: SITE Night. Fundraiser organised by the SITE Foundation the night before IMEX Frankfurt. Meet with over 500 incentive travel professionals while supporting commitments to advocacy, research and content generation. Click here for more info.
15-17 May, Messe Frankfurt: IMEX. One of the most important trade shows in the industry.
7-15 September, Kursaal Oostende: Film Festival Oostende. Actor Matteo Simoni will be hosting the 12th edition of this movie festival. Several VIP formulas are available, click here for more info.
18-21 September, Havana, Cuba: MITM Americas. This MICE tradeshow is coming to Cuba this year.
11-14 November, Dubai: ICCA Congress. The 57th edition of the ICCA Congress will be held in Dubai. The Middle East is the fastest growing region for hosting international association meetings, with numbers more than doubling in ten years.

The new dance festival Neverland in Landgraaf (the Netherlands) wants to create a Dutch derivative of the popular Belgian Tomorrowland. The name of the new festival, Neverland and their promotion film are a real copy and paste of the original Tomorrowland. Something what we at the redaction of BBT Online can not appreciate. One of our slogans is: ‘It’s better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation’. What is your opinion? Mail us at
These days it’s a challenge to keep your best employees. Incentive events are one of the ways to ensure this. Click here for an article on the current trends in the incentive event industry.
American Express Global Business Travel is taking over Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). Two of the world’s three biggest TMCs will be merged by this move. HRG has a worth of €460 million.
EventMB just published an article on how to make the most amazing presentations; a skill a lot of us could do with.
Japan is hot these days, so why not book a Japanese drum performance on your next event? It’s spectacular, it’s fun and it helps you dreaming away about your next destination:
Vincent Schepens, assistant sales & marketing manager at ANA, will be moving to Tokyo for a year from 1 April to strengthen the Corporate Planning department (ANA sales), as part of an exchange program. ANA organised a famtrip in partnership with BBT Online last month to Japan. You’ll be able to read all about it in our May edition.

Hotel School Spermalie (Bruges) won the prestigious JRE Cooking Cup 2018: a competition for young chefs. Winning first prize for their school were youngsters Margo Moerman and Killian Vervaeke. Keep an eye on them!
Eurostar is organising a cooking competition for youngsters between 15 and 19 years old. They have to come up with a sustainable dish that will be judged by Michelin chef Raymond Blanc. The winning dish will be served to Eurostar’s Business Premier Travellers. If there’s a talented chef among your kids, tell them to surf to this address:

Leeuwarden (the Netherlands) is – together with Valetta – the European Capital of Culture for 2018. This means a lot of activities will be planned throughout the year, not only in the city but in the whole province of Friesland. Find out more here.
As part of “Horta Inside out” – a year dedicated to one of Belgium’s national architectural geniuses – a variety of events paying homage to the master of Art Nouveau will be held. Events, activities and original exhibitions will start popping up in the weeks to come., in collaboration with 4 Brussels creators, published an original guide for fans of design, styling and aesthetics. It's a great way to get off the beaten track and discover original and authentic places. The Brussels by designers guide is on sale for 8.50 euros at the reception desk and in several Brussels bookshops.
Every year, Brussels lights up on fine days. Clubbers and fans of electronic music are not left out. New concepts emerge and iconic venues in the capital offer attractive line-ups for aficionados of the dance floor. Click here for more info.
'Zakentoerisme Vlaams-Brabant' is the successor of 'Meeting Leuven & Vlaams Brabant' and that includes a super handy website!
Nature is in need of a holiday in Thailand. Lots of beaches are flooded by tourists on a daily basis, which disturbs the natural environment. This is why the famous Maya Bay will be closed to the public from June to September to allow nature to recover. Several islands have already been closed to tourists indefinitely, because more than 80% of the coral reefs along the coastline were destroyed.
Copenhagen is hosting both the World Pride and the Eurogames (a major LGBT sports event) in 2021, combining both events into a larger one called Copenhagen 2021. More than 500,000 people are expected to take part in one way or another.
Looking to plan a MICE event in Greece? Vista Events DMC just won the Silver Award in Best Destination Management Company on the M&IT Awards in London. Check them out here:

Bruges is building a new congress and exhibition centre close to its concert building. It will offer 4,500m² of event space in its multipurpose halls and will be able to host conferences of up to 600 delegates. The project should be operational in 2020 and will cost € 40 million.
Antwerp will get its very own Belgian Chocolate Experience this winter. A 4000m² exhibition centre will open right across from the Central Station, in the former Aquatopia aquarium under the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel. It promises to be an experience for all senses.
Plopsa is opening a second waterpark in Hannuit-Landen on the Belgian language border close to the E40 highway. It will have a total surface area of 4,800m² and will have a price tag of €22.5 million. That is bound to be a nice swimming pool.

Radisson Blu is opening a new hotel next to the Bruges train station this June. It will be a four star venue with 109 rooms and 7 meeting rooms with a total capacity of 120 people.
Holiday Inn Brussels Airport is reopening its SKOJ Beach concept for the summer. You can enjoy your cocktail under the temporary palm trees from 30 April till 30 September. The beach is obviously also open for events.
Center Parks now offers tree houses and house boats to stay in, in some of its properties. You can bunk up in a tree in Center Parcs Le Bois aux Daims – France, and you can float in a boat in Bispinger Heide in Germany and in De Eemhof en De Kempervennen in The Netherlands.
Holland America Line is opening new guest rooms and suites in Alaska as part of its Alaska Land+Sea Journeys. 99 guest rooms are being finished in Denali and are part of a 68 ha property. The rooms will be ready to book at the start of the 2019 season.
Mama Belgrade is a new hotel in the Serbian capital, opened this March and offering 125 rooms, 4 ateliers for events and seminars, a restaurant, a wood-fire pizzeria and a 500m² rooftop terrace with a fantastic view on the city.
Etxelaia is a lovely historical villa in a town in Basque Country, perfect for both corporate meetings, incentives or friends & family holidays. Check it out here:
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group will be called Radisson Hotel Group from now on.

Laughing is good for you. All of us are very familiar with the average hotel room and the problems that sometimes come with it. Comedian Michael Mcintyre condensed all of our experiences into a six minute comedy bit. Enjoy! Click here.


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
Rue Leon Cuissez 29 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium
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