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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 57th edition.
of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

Find your inner 007!
The art of sleep

Skyfall hits the big screen! Exactly 50 years after the first one came out, the 23th Bond-movie is a welcome occasion to visit Great Britain and pretend you’re Bond.

Flirting with the most beautiful women, travelling the world, drinking on the job, killing international terrorists: who wouldn’t want to be James for a while?
“So 007” is a  Bond-themed programme including visits to film locations, fancy restaurants and James’ favourite bars, buying a new tailor-made smoking, participating in crazy stunts and of course Martini tastings (shaken, not stirred). for more info.
Art robot

Ibis hotels in Berlin, London and Paris are turning your sleeping pattern into a work of art.

Forty volunteers took a nap on a bed equipped with 80 sensors reading their movements, sounds and temperatures and sending them Club 100through to a robot arm translating it into a painting.

How does this work? We don’t have a clue, but it looks very cool!

Click the video here to see for yourself. Be careful what you dream of though, there might be proof of it when you wake up!
Funky Asian restaurants in Antwerp: Save-the-date

Although we love travelling, sometimes we do wonder why we should travel all the way to New York, London or Paris to discover the latest hotspots. There are plenty of them in Belgium, and we must admit Antwerp is home to most of them.

Asian restaurant Asian restaurant

Recently BBT Online had dinner in Little Buddha. Once a storehouse, later a garage, and now a restaurant. Apparently already open for years (no, we’re not always the fastest explorers) and we absolutely loved it. The interior is very groovy with white tables and chairs and a lot of red fluorescent lights in the floor, giving it a special touch. Funky Thai at its best!
Watch this little video .

We liked it that much that we decided to privatize the venue on Monday February, 25 and hold our first event of 2013 in this great venue. It won’t be a 4 Destinations workshop, after all a new year comes with Asian restaurantnew ideas. More information will follow, watch this space! In the meantime, event/incentive agents, take your new agenda’s out and save-the-date.

Right next to Little Buddha, you’ll find another restaurant: Umani, serving fabulous Japanese dishes. It just opened on October, 20 and is located in the former Velvet Lounge. Its open kitchen fills the entire basement, and the bar/restaurant can accommodate 200 guests. Definitely worth checking out!

The one and only Abba
News from Sofitel Brussels Europe

Next spring, Stockholm opens the one and only Abba Museum! Plans for a museum dedicated to the country’s most famous band were already on the table in 2006, but financing the whole project proved difficult.

The museum will be housed in the Swedish Music Hall of Fame and will tell the story of the band within the context of Swedish pop history in general.

There is also an Abba City walk through Stockholm: the city where Abba lived and worked. Click here for more info.

Sofitel Brussels Europe reopened its restaurant last month. Café Marché Jourdan combines the hotel chain’s French elegance with local elements. The menu consists of seasonal dishes, made with biological ingredients, provided by local suppliers.

Everything is freshly made, as an ode to the market vendors selling their wares on Jourdan Square every Sunday. Recently, actual beehives were installed on the rooftop. In a few months, Sofitel will serve homemade honey!
A venue with a thirst-quenching history

On October, 25 BBT Online went to a well attended – planners only - MPI Belgium meeting in De Hoorn in Leuven. This is a completely new event venue, located in an authentic building: more precisely on the site where they brewed the first pint of Stella Artois. The venue was completely remodelled and can now accommodate cocktail parties, meetings, dinners and all sorts of other events: the perfect setting for what proved to be an interesting evening.

MPI’s yearly conference takes place on 22 January and was named “Back to Innovation?”. If you want to attend, please register here before 22 November.

De Hoorn De Hoorn

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Go wild at Smoods!
A castle fit for a king

SmoodS (the resto/bar of Hotel Bloom – Brussels) would not be SmoodS if you were offered the same old recipes you get everywhere else. When putting together the seasonal game menu, the chef went wild. He found his inspiration on the street, but used game for the ingredients.

Choose from specialities like mini pizza with foie gras. Main courses include fried venison ‘hamburger’ with celeriac, pita gyros boar with ‘marron glacé mayonnaise’ and pheasant and wood mushroom pie.

Discover the full menu, click here.

“Le Manoir de Lébioles” close to Spa in the middle of the Ardennes forest, looks like a fairytale castle. It oozes discrete luxury and offers first class service.

It’s a place for people in search of peace and quiet, relaxation and recreation. All suites were individually designed and are absolutely stunning.

No doubt one of Belgium’s most beautiful venues, it comes with a first class kitchen as well (15/20 in Gault Millau).
A prestigious award for Antipodes

qantasFor the second time in a row, Antipodes Voyages won the Qantas Holidays Award for Best Business Performance.

Antipodes Voyages is an independent airline ticket wholesale company located in Brussels. They supply tickets from more than 170 airlines to travel agencies, tour operators and internet portals at the best prices. A full range of travel industry services is offered – for travel agencies or MICE corporates to the collection of fare data (including groups) for airlines.

Antipodes specialises in finding and promoting original ideas and destinations in Asia-Pacific. For any group request, please email
Discover the real Gambia
Rediscover Panama’s old city

The Gambia is called “Africa’s most beautiful little country”. The best way to really experience the country is to enjoy the hospitality of its people and bathe in the atmosphere of the countless local markets.

The market is the beating heart of Gambia’s villages and cities: colourful places where you can see people live, work, eat and cook. Almost every quarter has its own typical market.

Casco Viejo, the oldest neighbourhood in Panama City still standing, ironically became the city’s newest hotspot.

This atmospheric quarter dating from the 16th century, was neglected for decennia, but is now being renovated. Its legendary past, monumental buildings and the typical Panamanian hospitality make the idyllic district a place-to-be for locals as well as tourists. Discover one of Central America’s oldest coastal cities!
How do we choose our destinations?
Business & Meeting Solutions 2013: creativity & innovation

In August, the Prague Convention Bureau conducted a survey addressed to travel agencies, corporations, organizers of meetings and incentive events and international PCOs, on how professionals choose a destination for their events.

The answers show that the most important factors for organizers are the geographical location of the destination and its accessibility (74%), the price (68%) and the attractiveness (57%). Relatively low are unique off-site venues (15%) and walkability (14%).
Bxl Expo

The concept of BMS: 5 complementary zones offering a vast amount of info to companies looking for solutions organising their meetings or congresses.

Besides the classic stands, this year the organizers focus on new technologies and inspiring and creative workshops. The full programme is still to be decided, but one speaker is already known: Luc De Brabandere, keynote speaker on the World Economic Forum in Davos.
BMS takes place on 13-14 March in Palace IV of Brussels Expo!

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Destination Report: Five fun things to do in Brusssels!
Cauenberg Restobieres

Brussels is the European Capital, the vast majority of you are well aware of this fact by now. It’s what makes it such a well-known destination for meetings, conventions and events. But what would you do with a small incentive group that really wants to know and experience the city, its atmosphere and its stories?

BBT Online’s Jonathan Ramael hopped on the train from his beloved Antwerp and found out. Click here to read more.
Master class International Meetings
A new president for BATM

For the second time, Erasmushogeschool Brussels organizes the master class ‘International Meetings’. This short course teaches participants all about the meetings industry and its workings, giving them a professional view on destination management, meeting design and financial management.

Sessions are led by experts from the international Meetings Industry.

For more info, click here.

BATM’s (Belgian Association of Travel Management) board of management appointed Geert Behets – Director of Global Travel and Fleet Managemant for UBC – as their new president.

He will replace Pascal Struyve, whose five year mandate ends this January. The decision was made public during a ceremony celebrating BATM’s 10th anniversary, where the Travel Professional of the Year 2012 was also announced. Kristel Cologne, Travel Coordinator for Ansell Healthcare, was the lucky winner.
4.3 million Belgians are on Facebook!
Belgium: the true home of surrealism

Worldwide, the use of social media keeps increasing. 7 out of 10 Belgian internet users make use of at least one of them, Facebook still being the most popular site.

People with a mobile connection use social network sites more frequently and more intensively. Smartphone users are more open to communication with brands as well. Most consumers are clearly happy with the current offer of social network sites.

Only sites bringing something new to the table can still gain attention. This explains the success and potential of sites like Instagram and Pinterest.

Remember our comments some months ago on Toerisme Vlaanderen’s decision to fly solo at international trade fairs? CEO Peter De Wilde told us that Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels were having talks on how to collaborate in the future. Well, it seems collaboration will definitely not be an easy thing to achieve.

Click this link and read more about who’s doesn’t want to play with who. Belgium will make quite the impression on the next EIBTM or IMEX.

By Viviane Vogels.

Interview Meeting Planner: 'The transfer of knowledge comes first’

Rika StrikBBT Online’s Dutch correspondent Ellen van Ree interviewed Rika Strik, head of the KNGM Congress bureau in Utrecht. As an experienced meeting professional, she organizes tons of events for the medical sector.

We asked her about her views on the industry, the latest trends like live streaming, the evolution it’s going through and the new media.

Click here to read the full interview.

BBT Online on IT&CM Asia in Bangkok
EIBTM 25 means business

BBT Online’s Viviane Vogels joined 7 Belgian Buyers on a trip to buzzing Bangkok and visited the 20th edition of IT&CM Asia: South-East Asia’s biggest AgendaMICE fair.

Click on this link to find out all about the fair and what’s happening in the Asian meeting industry.

This year sees EIBTM’s 25th Anniversary in Barcelona, 27-29 November and anyone who is anyone in the meetings & events business will be there. From modest beginnings in Geneva, it has grown into an annual meeting industry powerhouse for both Europe and the World, despite the growing trend towards more regionalised exhibitions.

BBT Online’s Bruce Taylor talked exclusively to Erica Keogan, EIBTM’s Association and Education Content Manager. Click here to read more.


You did it: 75 incentive & event agents: no no-shows!
Hard Rock Café Hard Rock Café

Our last 4 Destination workshop in the Hard Rock Café and the Brewers’ House on October 22 proved to be another success! The workshops as well as Rana Walker’s presentation on the use of social media were interesting and well attended (we even had MICE planners from the UK, Luxembourg and the Netherlands).

For the first time in our history of events we had not a single no-show and just one cancellation on the day before. We want to thank all guests and speakers for making this possible! Click on the link to enjoy the pictures!

Hard Rock Café Hard Rock Café
Hard Rock Café Hard Rock Café
The 4 Destinations Workshop:
an event with balls!
Feeding the world one book at a time

On our next 4D Workshop we’re aiming for a strike! Incentive & Event agents join us on Monday, 17 December in Bowling Stones Wemmel – the largest bowling complex of the Benelux, holding several modern meeting rooms – for the 10th edition of BBT Online’s 4D workshop with a new selection of interesting presentations: Quebec & Air Canada, Krakow - Poland, Turkey (The DMC Istanbul), Italy (Bramante Events) and Worldhotels.

After the workshops, we’ll have ourselves a nice winter BBQ. People in need of losing some calories after dinner can of course always start a game of bowling. Registration and information, click here or send us an mail on
cookingWant to cook like Jonnie Boer, Ramon Beuk or Ronald Kunis? Why not donate 40 meals to Malawian children at the same time? The cookbook “Topkoks voor Thuiskoks” is available in stores nearby.

46 chefs, including the ones mentioned above, worked tirelessly on this publication. Each copy sold gives a kid in Malawi 40 meals at school. “Topkoks voor Thuiskoks” is an initiative of TNT to raise money for the World Food Programme.

BBT Online supports this great initiative. Guess what will be in your goody-bags on the next 4 Destinations Workshop?
Real Short !!

All event organizers are invited to visit the 16th edition of Festivak, this year organized in Waagnatie, Antwerp on 21-22 November.
22-24 November, Brussels: Designing Events for High ROI. A 2-day training course on how to maximise ROI for events, led by Elling Hamso. There’s room for a maximum of 10 participants. A second instalment will be organised on 17-18 April next year. Click here to register:
5 December, Hungarian Cultural Institute, Treurenberg 10, Brussels: Hungarian Premium Tourism Workshop. Register via or
12-13 December, Square Brussels: BTExpo 2012. B2B event for tourism & MICE professionals. Free entrance for all business professionals. Register here:
An event with balls. 17 December, BBT Online’s 10th 4D workshop. For event & incentive agents only. Registration & more information,
24-25 January, Amsterdam: I Amsterdam MICExperience. Annual networking event organised by Amsterdam Marketing, promoting the city as a meeting and event destination. Register here:
24-28 January, Antwerp Expo: Vakantiesalon Vlaanderen. India will be the host country of the 35th Vakantiesalon Vlaanderen. As a holiday destination, it’s booming right now. 40,000 Belgians travelled to India last year and India’s Belgian market is growing by 9% annually.
18 March 2013, Moscow: 9th Moscow International MICE Forum. Meet all the leading Russian outbound MICE experts in a concentrated one-day B2B event.

Join the BBT Online community! Like our Facebook page and stay up-to-date with all the latest industry news!
How do you use Social Media to your advantage during an event? Click this link to read 15 practical tips.
These are Lonely Planet’s top cities for 2013: San Francisco, Amsterdam, Hyderabad (India), Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland), Beijing, Christchurch (New Zealand), Hobart (Australia), Montréal, Addis Abada (Ethiopia) and Puerto Iguazù (Argentina).
Sail & cruise specialist Star Clipper’s new routes on the Baltic Sea proved to be a big success. The Baltic trips were so popular, the company is planning a couple of new routes for the region in 2013.
On 25 November, Bruges opens its much anticipated Historium: a unique venue taking the visitor back to the medieval Bruges via video images, special effects and amazing sets. You can also take the Historium walk, to compare what you saw inside with the city as it is now. To book your tickets, go to
Ghent ICC (International Convention Centre) is undergoing a thorough renovation. By the end of 2013, Flanders’ only real purpose built congress facility will be able to once again meet all demands modern convention organizers could possibly have. Events will continue to take place during the renovation project.
Global Videoconferencing Network (GVN), aka “The Virtual Airline”, announced its progress in delivering its ambition to create the world’s largest network of 20,000 high-definition videoconferencing facilities for business travellers, allowing them to meet face-to-face cheaper, faster and with no carbon footprint. This month, GVN rolls out the first six sites in Europe and the US, aiming at 750 by the end of 2013.
BBT Online’s Viviane Vogels interviewed Brussels Airlines’ VP Frédéric Dechamps for Travel Clan. Click here to read about his thoughts on his career, dreams and passions.
Anderlecht’s Abattoir is a somewhat strange but at the same time versatile site. It will get a new name, a new logo and a new corporate identity, all focused on the future destination of this site of great patrimonial and symbolic value.
They’re kind of missing the original idea, but a UAE company wants to build a replica of the Taj Mahal in Dubai. It’s named the Taj Arabia and will – of course – be much, much bigger than the real version. The replica is due to be finished late 2014 and will house a hotel and a mall. Another wonderful monument to eternal love for money.
BBT Online attended the 2nd edition of Meetopolis at Square, Brussels. It was a day well spent, full of education, connecting and networking with peers from the MICE industry (suppliers & corp/assoc planners). For pictures see
Marseille is the European Capital of Culture for 2013, and so the city prepares for a year of events, exhibitions and celebrations. Perfect for a visit. And while you’re there, why not combine it with a trip to nearby Corsica? SNCM provides a daily ferry service between Marseille and the Island of beauty. More info on
Design Hotels announced a partnership with the first edition of the travel trade event Limited Edition Miami Beach, taking place on June 10-13, 2013. This new travel trade show breaks away from the old concept of traditional luxury travel and creates a vibrant, fresh arena for those in the high-end contemporary travel market.
Continuing its global expansion, Ovation Global DMC announced offices in eight new locations across Asia, Europe and Latin America: Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Qatar, Portugal, Panama, Ukraine and Vietnam. For an overview of all Ovation office locations, check
Tahiti now has its own wine, made in the middle of the Southern Pacific, on the Tuamotu archipelago in French-Polynesia. The brain behind the project is Dominique Auroy, who has been working on it since the 90’s.
Not fond of the usual hellish last-minute Christmas shopping, but still want find an inspired and original gift? British Airways may have a solution: a real flight simulator training session! Who knows, it might save your life someday. Letting your loved one fly a (virtual) Boeing 737 will cost you €495.

Hilton loses another hotel: the Conrad Brussels (Avenue Louise) will undergo a thorough renovation and turn into the Steigenberger Grand Hotel Brussels on 1 January. It’s Steigenberger’s second big move in a couple of months, after opening a hotel in Schiphol, Amsterdam. Hilton is left with just one hotel in the EU capital. Hilton Antwerp on the Groenplaats will now become its Belgian flagship venue.
‘The Hotel’ in Brussels completed the first major phase of its renovation: the top floors are completely renovated and were given a new identity. Guests can now fully enjoy all the various types of rooms and suites, the Urban Spa & Fitness, the latest technological gadgets, the Panorama Lounge and eight meeting rooms on the top floors.
From the 1st of November to the 31st of December, the "Bubbles in Brussels" campaign will put the sparkle into some of the best hotel bars in the capital. For two months, these institutions will offer an ebullient and effervescent champagne tasting deal. Having tasted three different vintages, the customer will select their favourite, which will be served in a flute, accompanied by an appetizer.
French fashion brand Zadig & Voltaire plans to open a hotel in Paris in 2014. The brand wanted to ban Chinese tourists. Promoting their venue as exclusive, the owners claimed Chinese travellers didn’t fit the picture, having “no taste and buying expensive items randomly”. Following the logical avalanche of angry letters, Z&V argued they meant “mass tourists” instead of the Chinese. (Source:
Check out Designhotels’ Winter Wonderland Special: six hotels in Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Japan exuding a cosmopolitan, urban flair while providing access to some of the world’s best ski trails. More info on:
Port Elisabeth (aka Nelson Mandela Bay), South Africa’s fifth city, has a new five star venue: the Sun International Boardwalk Hotel. 140 luxurious rooms with a view over the Indian Ocean, conference space for up to 2,400 people and an amphitheatre for 650 guests.

Thanks to the Aviation Factory, Brussels Airport now has its own banner machine! It allows you to easily create your own banner to welcome loved ones, congratulate the Red Devils or boo you mother-in-law back on the plane. Coming home never was this much fun!The BannerXpress can be found in the arrivals hall, close to the Coffee Corner.
On a press conference in New York, Qatar Airlines announced it will join Oneworld, making it the first Gulf State carrier joining an airline alliance. Qatar Airlines is one of the world’s fastest growing and highest rated airline companies.
Austrian Airlines is renovating its entire long distance fleet. Ten Boeing 777 and 767 planes will get new economy class seats, a better in-flight entertainment system and new business class seats that can be transformed into full-flat beds. The total cost amounts to € 90 million.
As of 15 November, Jet Airways will end its Brussels-Chennai connection. It’s the second connection cancelled by the Indian airline, after Brussels-New York got dumped some weeks ago. Passengers who already booked a trip to Chennai will be transferred to another flight free of charge.
Part of its € 6,2 billion investment in making travelling easier and more comfortable, British Airways is testing a new service allowing travellers to check in automatically. The auto-check-in could usher in a new era for airline check-ins.

BBT Online welcomes a valuable new correspondent from the Netherlands. Senior Journalist Ellen Van Ree will keep us in the loop of all things happening in the Dutch MICE industry.
Bea Moors left the InterContinental Hotels Group to join @dmire as account manager.
Thomas Döring, Director of e-commerce, is leaving Thomas Cook. His successor is the Dutch Susan Duinhoven, the current Thomas Cook CEO for Holland and formerly for the Benelux.
Wolfgang M. Neumann was appointed the new President-Director of the Rezidor Hotel Group. He replaces Kurt Ritter, who retires this year.
Pol Van de Perre was announced as COVR’s new Business Development Director.  He joined the company after working in several international associations throughout his career. COVR is a Belgium-based IT solutions company for associations and events.

Regarding BBT Online’s 4 Destinations workshop: “I met a lot of interesting people, speakers as well as participants, and the locations were very appealing! See you soon and thank you!”

Joris Eyck, Associate Regional Vice President – Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Luxembourg at HelmsBriscoe


BBT Online Club 100 welcomed the following new members last month:

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. BBT Online Club 100: the place where you meet more planners than suppliers!


Laughing is good for you! All people working in advertising should definitely watch this clip. This is how you make an effective, funny and relatively cheap commercial. Brilliantly done! Click here, and enjoy.


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
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