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Appearing in your inbox every other week, 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! BBT Online guarantees you 15 new ideas in just 3 minutes. Enjoy our 20th edition.

Royal Palace Antwerp
Cave Biking anybody…?

When Napoleon came to Antwerp he fell in love with the lovely stately home on the Meir, bought it and renovated it completely adding rooms and a great collection of French Empire furniture. The palace eventually came to the Belgian Crown who used it for official receptions.

Today, after a long and costly restoration works, the Royal Palace on the Meir has been restored to its former glory and is ready to take up its legitimate place in the Antwerp region as one of the more select venues.

The opening has been slightly delayed to April/May of this year, the catering will be in the hands of Gunther Dieltjens. We can already divulge that the stunning Mirror Room on the first floor will offer the possibility of a sit down dinner for approx. 100 people.

ASP Adventure organizes almost any outdoor or cave activity you desire. They offer an extensive range of thrilling, exciting and fun activities, outdoor as well as in the caves near Maastricht.

This program is unique in Europe. Your guide will lead you through the 70 kilometres long cave system and will show you the most beautiful places in the cave.The route is not difficult and the speed and distance will be adapted to the wishes of thegroup.

Each participant receives a special cave-bike (with a light). The tour is suited for both young and old.


150 years James Ensor
Living like God in France!

Ostend, on the Belgian Coast can boast a new attraction: ‘The Perfume of Ostend’ is a digital GPS guided city walking tour with the city’s most famous citizen James Ensor as your guide!

James Ensor was born exactly 150 years ago in Ostend and this walking tour takes you back to his Ostend, look at the city through the eyes of a great painter who was inspired by its lively inhabitants, the sea and art of course!


It’s a dream we all have had and sometimes still have. The Limomij organizes trips that come very close! Imagine being driven in a private luxury car to the wine regions that speaks most to the imagination: the Champagne region of France!

A stretch limo carrying minimum 6, (to 8 people max) with all amenities aboard conveys you to the major wineries, where personalised guided visits and tastings are organized. Everything is taken care of, the only thing participants have to do is..enjoy!

Latvia, unknown but not unloved! – Destination Report

Christophe Verstraete of euromic took last February 7 Belgian incentive organizers along on a visit of Latvia, one of the Baltic States.

It’s Capital Riga, other than being only 2 hours flying from Brussels has many other selling points to charm the meeting & event organizer. Judge for yourself! Read more...

Marrakech: one of the most hip destinations of these days - Destination Report

Even if you think you know Marrakech, we are convinced that this report will still learn you something. Marrakech keeps reinventing itself and is undoubtedly one of the most hip destinations of these days, on an equal level with Miami or Ibiza. Restaurants open each month, the trick is to find them.

Therefore BBT Online visited Marrakech with Ria Mooijaart, who represents the DMC Morocco Unlimited on the Belgian and Dutch markets. We visited a lot of not-to-miss restaurant and hotel newcomers.
Click here to

Crisis Phase 2 – Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

2009 has not been an easy year and this current year has not taken the best of starts. Nearly one year after we interrogated the different Presidents of the associations of our industry, we thought it was time to ask a few of them again for their opinion on…the crisis, because, unfortunately, the crisis is not over.

Are we looking at the light at the end of the tunnel or is it just a mirage? Here is what the presidents of MPI Belgium (Meeting Professionals International) and BHA (Brussels Hotel Association) had to say.

Kathleen Bertier
President MPI Belgium, 2009-2011

At Confex (Feb, 23 - 25, 2010) in London, I attended a seminar about industry trends by the huggable and ever upbeat Rob Davison, senior lecturer at the London based Westminster University.

One slide explained how I feel about who will survive the crisis: “The supplier who offers exceptional value & service without compromising their sustainability credentials.”

This statement applies to my day job as director of congress bureau Meeting in Brugge as well as to my commitment as president of MPI Belgium chapter.

I am interchanging hats constantly, as you will notice throughout this testimonial.


Patrick Bontinck
President BHA

How have the Brussels’ hotels weathered the storm? The overall occupancy seems to have stabilized to acceptable levels although there are still big differences from month to month. For example: April & May are not looking well at all for the moment, but it is also a fact that bookings both for individuals and for groups, come in later and later.

The biggest problem is the average room rate which took quite a hit over the past year and has great difficulty in restoring itself. It usually takes 3 to possibly 9 months for the average rate to stabilize after a crisis and this coupled to the fluctuating occupancies will make for a very difficult first semester in Brussels.

In our next Take5 edition we speak with Pascal Struyve of BATM and Hugo Slimbrouck of ABITO.

New anti-corruption laws in UK danger to hospitality industry?
Motivational Speakers, a dying breed…?

Corporate hospitality costing as little as £100 a head could be considered bribery under new anti-corruption laws

Jean-Pierre Cornelis of Flanders B-2-B has sent us a very interesting article on new legislation in the United Kingdom that can seriously affect our business with that country…worthwhile taking a few minutes to read and digest.

Stephanie Moss, GM of Stephanie Moss Solutions in South Africa writes an impassioned plea for would-be motivational speakers to write a memoir or a blog but to please stay away from the speaker circuit…

A definite case of motivational speakers fatigue presented with a lot of passion!


Dorint Spa, green meetings in green surroundings!

Not only does the Dorint Spa nestle in the greenest of surroundings, it's also a truly green hotel. Judge for yourself: it uses a solar panel system, a cascading gas condensing boiler, the latest isolation materials.

The hotel is totally geared toward sustainable development. The new heating system is estimated to save enough energy to make a car drive 18 times around the world in one year! The Dorint Hotel will also support Fair trade in 2010 with products to be used in bar and restaurant. There is now also free Wifi in the entire hotel, even on the terraces that give you an incredible view of the surrounding woods!

2009 was the year when not only all rooms were refurbished but when a whole selection of new meeting rooms were added making the Dorint Spa the ideal venue for events in green surroundings!

Special offer: valid until April 18th: book 2 nights, get the 3rd free. www.dorintspa.be

Milan’s first hotel for Fashionistas
Ace Hotel New York, the Ace in the pack!

After the trendy hotels by Armani and Roberto Cavalli this new Moschino address will definitely enchant the Fashionistas!

The hotel is located in the old neoclassical railway station on Viale Monte Grappa, 12, that opened in 1840 for the Milan-Monza route. Divided into four floors, the 65 rooms and junior suites are all different.

On the ground floor, the hall and the bar welcome guests into the hotel. The restaurant extends from the hall to the terrace, and the spa and the gym are located on the lower levels. The common thread connecting the rooms is a fairy tale theme.

Moschino’s showroom can be found on the ground floor. The showroom is open for purchases on demand.

Ace Hotel New York is a 12-story hotel in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The unique new boutique hotel has 260 rooms, and is located near the Theatre District.

There is a subway stop right around the corner, and it's within walking distance of many popular destinations, like Times Square, Macy's, and the Broadway theatres. And it's close to the old Tin Pan Alley. You can easily take Amtrak into Penn Station or fly into JFK.

The hotel’s luxury amenities include room service, free wi-fi, and a gym.
Also check out the lobby bar scene, where DJs often play music. It’s open late. And the rates are very, very reasonable for New York!
Definitely an address to check out for a next shopping trip to the Big Apple.

Special hotels in Andalusia!

If you are looking for an extra special hotel in Andalusia, look no further! Las Perlas, real gems of hotels.. and they mean it! Their slogan: why settle for boring when you can have amazing! The hotels featured have all been hand-picked by La Perlas, they have literally looked for the pearls hidden away in the Andalusian countryside and propose a selection that leaves you dreaming!

Everyone at Las Perlas lives in Andalusia and knows the area inside out.


New Boutique hotel concept at low cost in Barcelona

Praktik Rambla embodies a new boutique hotel concept, an excellent combination of exquisite design, chic comfort, authentic local architecture and the best possible location, all at a low price (starting from 80 euro).

A unique place, square in the middle of the Eixample district, where you will find everything you're looking for in Barcelona.


B&B: selected just for you!! 40 winks in London!!

40 winks is probably the most romantic and chic place to stay in London. Only 2 rooms available, neither room has a television: there are more exciting things to do with your time in London.

Check out the owner’s favorite places to eat, drink & party in London, click here

Taxi’s how to avoid trouble ...
... & tipping customs in different countries

On the whole taxi drivers are an honest lot, but there are of course bad apples in the lot who will always try to cheat you.

Following tips will help you avoid paying too much, be an advised traveler and never be cheated again!


When traveling abroad it is not always easy to estimate when or how much tip is expected. In some countries it is a must, in other regions the giving of small change can be seen as an insult.

A short review of customs around the world seemed a handy tool for regular travelers!

Real Short !!

Independents, small business and entrepreneurs will all come together at the Entrepreneurs Fair in Tour & Taxis Brussels on Wednesday 31st March and Thursday 1st April. www.ondernemen2010.be
The Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam is hosting the ACTE Executive Forum on 6 April. The theme is: ‘Cutting through complexity’. Topics include trends influencing rate strategies in business travel, and hidden costs in purchasing hotel overnights. www.acte.org
The Fortis Marathon Rotterdam is the largest sports event in Holland and is organized on April 11th, 2010. This year is the 30th anniversary and the whole of Rotterdam will be one gigantic party!
NBTA Europe, representing the interests of corporate travel managers and travel service providers, is holding its first European conference in Lisbon from 6 to 8 September 2010. Apart from specialists in the industry, also speakers from other sectors will inspire the delegates. www.nbtaeurope.org

The excellent Louis Vuitton city guides have now also published a guide on Knokke, the trendy hotspot on the Belgian Coast.
Finally Brussels has its own Brussels Wallpaper Guide: all the best places for cocktails or dinners and design hotels gathered in one guide! www.phaidon.com
Ostend recently distributed the Boost Awards for outstanding quality in events & conventions in& promotion of the destination Ostend for 2009. Guava was a winner for the inauguration of the offshore windmill par, CIB Vlaanderen for the organisation of a real estate convention.
Reisboeken.be has changed and adapted its layout. It is now possible to immediately check five different rates in online stores for each new reference that is researched. www.reisboeken.be
Be aware that now over 70% of employers screen their potential employees via social networks online.
As from April 1st, The Efteling amusement park in Holland will be open 365 days/year!
EFAPCO (the European Federation of Associated Professional Congress Organizers) has now joined JMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council), bringing the total membership of major international industry organizations to twelve members. www.themeetingsindustry.org

Tokyo has beaten Paris to the top spot as gastronomic paradise. With 261 Michelin Stars the guide has given Tokyo the number one spot: 11 restaurants have 3 stars, 42 have two stars and 144 have their first Michelin Star, an absolute record!
On Friday March 26th Kempinski Bruges organizes the first of a series of prestigious concerts in its historical chapel. For reservations, contact valerie.vanneste@kempinski.com
In April Zeeland, The Netherlands will be one great Wellness Hotel richer: the Amadore Wellness Hotel De Kamperduinen. For more info , go to www.zeeyou.nl
For a different experience in Amsterdam, go to Breaks & Butlers, an exclusive b&b with butler service! www.breaksandbutlers.nl
Because of its huge success Dolce La Hulpe Brussels prolongs its special offer “Anything goes” till 15 April 2010. Meeting planners can submit the requirements for their planned meetings, and they can propose a rate that they are willing to pay for the required services.
The InterContinental Hotels Group opens 41 hotels in China, totaling 13,000 guest rooms. 87,000 talented staff members will be recruited for a working period of 4 years. 25 academies will train some 5,000 employees per year. www.ihg.com

Qatar Airways expands its flights to India by adding 11 new destinations and 71 extra weekly flights.
All Nippon Airways is introducing women-only lavatories on its international routes in response to "numerous requests for this service". The Japanese carrier joins Korean Air as the only other commercial airline to offer such a service.
European business airline flyinggroup is starting operations from Rotterdam - The Hague Airport and Schiphol Amsterdam Airport in an effort to expand its activities within the Netherlands.
CityJet announces record passenger numbers from its London City Airport hub and is cautiously optimistic!
As from 17 March Continental Airlines passengers can buy extra legroom, a minimum of 18 additional cm, at check-in. For OnePass Elite members the extra leg space is free of charge. This option can also be booked online, beginning at 24 hours before the flight. www.continental.com

The executive committee of BITC has decided to appoint Patrick Bontinck, formerly with Martin’s Hotels, as the General Manager of BITC. It is a new position created to bring together all the different efforts of the different departments of BITC.
At the recent General Assembly held in Athens, Greece, Philippe Fournier, of MCI, was unanimously elected as IAPCO’s President.
Borealis Incentives, with Dries Jacobus as managing director, joins the communication Group DM&S from Oostkamp (near Brugge). Borealis Incentives remains to exist, and becomes the international brand of DM&S Group, which employs 80 staff members. DM&S is a communication group with headquarters in Oostkamp and offices in Brussels and Antwerp. Dries new email address, jsds@dmsgroup.eu

Laughing is good for you! In every take5 edition we publish a small funny video clip from YouTube. Get you regular dose of ‘fun vitamins’ by clicking here.
Jamie Bell needed 2,100 sheets of paper and 3 weeks of uninterrupted work to explain the complete evolution theory.

Karin de Graauw – Editor BBT Online
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