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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! BBT Online guarantees you 15 new ideas in just 3 minutes. Enjoy our 48th edition. All of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

Historium Bruges

HistoriumHistorium Bruges is a new top attraction and opens in fall 2012.  A concept that will take visitors back to a medieval past. A touching love story takes them to the year 1435: Bruges golden era.

In 7 themed halls, film, decor and special effects blend together in a magical experience. All five senses get stimulated. Visitors get overwhelmed by a filmic panorama of the busy port, can walk through Van Eyck’s painting studio and be surprised by the lovely scents and naughty smiles in the bath house.

The Historium revives Bruges’ golden age in an entertaining but educational way. There will be a Bruges tourism office on the ground floor, with info-consoles where visitors can plan their visit to the city based on personal preferences.

TagTagCity is a brand new way of discovering Brussels. This spring, everyone visiting Brussels can throw away his city map to get to the real heart of the heritage, cultural riches and highlights on his own. TagTagCity offers an exclusive service – a worldwide first – which will improve the visitor experience, working with the latest technologies.

In practical terms: visitors using the TagTagCity experience just need a smartphone or a Clickey TAG Reader. Armed with their phones, visitors tagwander through the streets of Brussels looking for the TAGs and QR codes dotted around the city. Appearing on monuments, museums, shops, restaurants and bars, the content is available to users just by clicking.

So what do they get for discovering these TAGs? A wealth of historic and cultural information, but also points that can be saved up to enjoy promotions offered by the businesses taking part in the experience. For starters, there are 200 places tagged right now.
Staying in a renovated sheep pen
(and loving it)
Heerlijkheid van Marrem

In the heart of the Auvergne, ex-businessman and traveling musician Frederic, gave an old sheep pen a total make over. It is now a resort fit for paradise, were everything breathes quietness, simplicity and beauty.

The venue can be rented from May to October. Extra service, meals and tours on demand.


This former carriage shed, run by a couple, was completely renovated conserving its original purity. 

They’ve converted  it into a luxurious guesthouse for visitors, within a stone’s throw from the Lys river. It can lodge from 10 up to 12 people.

A wonderful place to stay near Kortrijk.



The new trend for 2012: Dining outside

A new trend in events for 2012: dining on long tables outside or on an exceptional  and authentic location: the experience is very different.

Dinning Dinning
Wish you were here

As we spend these winter days in our office, it’s hard not to think of sun, sand and cocktails. Images of warmer, sunnier, more festive places to hang around – be it for just a moment – are constantly haunting our minds.

A place like the Constance Moofushi Hotel on the Maldives for example, where heaven is just a place on earth. Enjoy the pictures, but don’t look out of the window when you’re done – you’re still here.


Enchanting Cuba: Destination Report

Cuba: land of Rum, Rumba, and the world’s best cigars. Communism still rules here, despite a now very wrinkled Fidel Castro leaving the nation’s reins to his brother Raul. Tourism is thriving though, in the wonderful capital Havana, and in Varadero: a real resort paradise.

Dries Jacobus, Managing Director of Borealis, wrote an interesting report about his adventures in Havana Libre. Hasta la victoria siempre! Click here to read the report.



New York’s Hotel Americano

A new venue opened in the centre of Manhattan three months ago. Located in the Chelsea district, in the midst of a ton of art galleries and close to the famed High Line (a brand new elevated park crossing the city blocks on an abandoned railway), this small hotel caters to the hip and trendy.

It’s the first American venue of Grupo Habita, Mexico’s boutique hotel pioneer. Its 56 rooms are stylishly decorated and come with extras (for example: a complimentary iPad in every room). Its two restaurants offer a mixture between the French and Latin kitchen. Definitely worth a visit.

BBT Online’s 10th Anniversary Party: the pictures


On Monday, January 9, BBT Online celebrated its 10th birthday in Brussels’ Hotel Bloom.

The whole team would like to thank all the (numerous) Club 100 members dancing through the night.

Click here to enjoy the pictures!

If you’re interested in joining yourself BBT Online’s Club 100, don’t hesitate any longer. You will find the conditions and the existing members behind this link.

The members of BBT Club 100Online’s Club 100 all work for top 'blue-chip' companies and that makes us proud.

Invitation: BBT Online’s 6th Four-Destinations Workshop


With our 10th anniversary thoroughly celebrated, it’s time to present you with another four interesting new meeting destinations on Tuesday, February 7.
We’re heading back to Brussels for this edition but once again, we’ve selected a very special venue for you. The Dominican – Brussels’ only real design hotel – will be the setting for the night. There’s no pre-dominicanworkshop programme this time, but we have a special surprise for you during dinner: an iPad quiz in groups! This challenging activity can be organized as an incentive on events, so enjoy this free taste!

The following partners will hold a presentation: London and Partners, Warsaw (Intercontinental and DMC Allegro) and Wallonia (with no less than eight partners, good for two workshops). We’ll be expecting you on February 7!

Click here for detailed information and registration.
Incentive Travel: The participant viewpoint

meetingThe Site International Foundation and the Incentive Travel Council (ITC) released part one of an in-depth study about the participant viewpoint on incentive travel. Believing that business performance can be positively impacted through the utilization of incentive travel reward and recognition programs, the two organizations developed a study that would deliver a deeper understanding of what makes a program meaningful, motivational and memorable to the participant who is working to earn the award. In this first installment, the study focused on what the 1,003 program participants found to be meaningful.

This study was unique in that it surveyed both the perspectives of the award earners and the non-earners. Results from this first installment chart participant feelings toward comparative award types, attitudes toward the companies running the programs and the degree of motivation to earn the award. The results of part one are available for download here.

Rob Davidson: Star of industry trends
BATM embraces younger generation
Rob Davidson

Rob Davidson from the University of Greenwich gave his annual state of the industry address at EIBTM in Barcelona.

This year wasn’t an easy one. Times are changing and uncertainty reigns. The full text is well worth reading, and should be obligatory for everyone in our industry.

As Rob pointed out in his initial comments, “it was a year of two halves and a planet of two halves”.
Business confidence was high in the first six months and then suddenly lost momentum as the economy dominated the second half of the year.

Behind this link, BBT Online’s Bruce Taylor gives his own analysis of what was said.


At BATM’s latest Forum in Ghent, there was unusual participation from the younger generation: a multinational team of students from Lessius Mechelen presented the results of their research into Travel Policy & Duty of Care.

Representing Belgium, Germany, Poland & The Netherlands, these four young people had a lot of guts to stand in front of an experienced audience of hardened travel professional s and Corporate Travel Managers and talk about their findings.

With the help of BATM, they had researched 51 companies and found that 73% had mandatory travel policies, but that less than 50% have a ‘Duty of Care’ clause. The full report is available from Griet Troukens:
Will we miss EMIF in 2012? And what are the MICE alternatives?

Bruce TaylorThe chances are that most of us will…. even if EMIF never realised its full potential in all its 10 years. But it was the best we had and, under new management which understood the meetings & events industry, it had at last started to turn the corner.

EMIF has left a gap, and people are fighting to fill it, but they will all be smaller and more national affairs. However, one thing is striking. There seems to be very little for association planners in the association capital of Europe….. Click here to read more to obtain an overview on the different MICE alternatives. By Bruce Taylor.
Real Short !!

2012 (all year long), Brusselicious, Brussels: a yearlong celebration centered around gastronomy in the Belgian Capital. A succession of more than 100 varied events. More info on
March 21, Albert Hall, Brussels: the Monaco Government Tourist & Convention Authority invites Incentive organizers to its next destination evening in Brussels. More info on
April 17-19, Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre, Shanghai: China’s biggest MICE fair, now in an impressive new venue on the 2010 World Expo site. More info on
July 15-17, Arena & Convention Centre, Liverpool: The International & European Associations Congress 2012. Europe’s leading association specialist congress with over 400 attendees.
Consult BBT Online’s MICE agenda, and don’t miss any event.

Brought to you by the Rwandese embassy in The Hague and the Rwanda Development Board in Kigali: the Discover Rwanda App! The first exclusive digital travel guide about the land of a thousand hills and the home of the last mountain gorillas. Get it here in Dutch:, or here in English:
Brussels is now available in your pocket as well, or rather on your iPhone. One click gives you access to the VISITBRUSSELS app, the App Store’s most comprehensive guide to the European capital. The app is free and once downloaded, it can be used entirely offline without incurring roaming charges. This handy visitor’s guide is available in French, English and Dutch.
Incentive Bureau Apogheos changed its name to Apogheos Travel & MICE.
Research by the Hogg Robinson Group tells us that we’re going to change our travel behavior in the coming year. Because of the growing economic uncertainty, the necessity of certain trips will be questioned even more. Budgets will be spent differently. Some trips will be replaced by video conferences, but the money saved by those meetings might be spent on business travels to growing markets like China, India or Brazil.
No, not the umptiest champagne website, but a special site. Not made out of commercial reasons but out of love. Love for a region and a product sharing the same name: champagne.
As from March 1st, 2012, Contour Consult has office space “to sub-let” in Brussels. Their office is situated on Square Vergote, between Montgomery & Meiser, not far from the EU and very accessible from the ring. The office is suitable for 1 or 2 persons and can be used as a small meeting room as well. For more info:
A VCK Travel survey says that European business travelers are taking the train more often. Asian cities are one the rise as business destinations, while the US (except for New York) is losing ground. London takes first place in Europe, but Eastern European cities like Moscow and Warsaw are doing better each year.
Gooseberry Events and Unscene joined the @dmire network. This broadens the possibilities of organizing meetings, incentives, conferences and events with audiovisual design and production as added values. More info on or via
Bruno Vanden Bossche, Manager of Gondwana DMC’s, took a bullet through the chest in Ethiopia mid January. He was part of a group visiting the Erta Ale volcano. Five other Europeans were killed.

Hotel Missoni, a luxury hotel brand of Rezidor Hotel Group, settled on one of the world’s most popular islands: Mauritius, star of the Indian Ocean, and now the 66th country where Rezidor is present. Overlooking the village of Cape Bay, Mauritius Hotel Missoni will offer 80 luxury suites with unobstructed views over the ocean and its pristine beaches. The first guests will arrive in 2014.
Why pay expensive Paris, New York or Amsterdam hotel rates when all you need for your stay is a clean and quiet room, located in the city centre? For sometimes less than hostel-rates, it is still possible to have your own room.

Emirates offers all passengers wireless internet connection on its growing fleet of Airbus A380s. For a small fee ($ 7,50 for smart phones, $ 15 for laptops) you can stay connected the entire flight.
Brussels Airlines starts flying to New York, and does so in style: fully refurbished cabins and a new in-flight entertainment system guarantee an enjoyable flight. If you book a return flight this summer (starting from June 1) before January 31, it will cost you just € 399!

SITE Belgium welcomes 2 new board members : Dirk Bracaval (@dmire) and Thierry Delcroix (Travex) were voted in during the AGM of 6th December 2011.
Nico Tempelaere decided to leave Connections to go for an international challenge as Social Media Manager EMEA for Rezidor, starting February 2012.
Philippe de Renesse sold his incentive agency Antares to the Pasteels firm. He’ll still be working for the agency during the next three years, but as an employee.

Laughing is good for you! In this month’s wonderful video we learn that not every old lady is as reliable as she appears. Click here.

BBT Online Club 100 welcomed the following new members during January:
  • Anniek De Vlieger – Experience Advisor at A-point
  • Boris Vrnoga – Director/Owner at Unique Concept
  • Gemmeke de Jongh – Sales Manager International Business at Conference Center De Ruwenberg
  • Iris Mertens –  Owner at Iris Mertens Venue representation
  • Ivo Van de Velde – Office Manager at Carlson Wagonlit Travel
  • Jeroen van der Velde – Managing Partner at Freshfield Recruitment/
  • Kisa van den Berg – Managing Partner at Travel Marketing
If you’re interested in joining yourself, don’t hesitate any longer. You will find the conditions and the existing members behind this link Membership is linked to the person, not the company. We also created a LinkedIn group for members only.

“I believe BBT Online is very close to what’s happening out there in the market.
As a DMC who works with Belgium, it also keeps me on track and close to my market.
Take 5 is one of the few newsletters I don’t delete”.

Christophe de Patoul, Irish Horizons Dublin


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
Rue de Toulouse 49 – 1040 Brussels – Belgium
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