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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 58th edition.
of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

A night in the woods

No WiFi-connection, no massages, no state-of-the-art wellness centre and no cocktails by the pool. What the Kolarbyn Eco Lodge does offer though, is a completely authentic natural experience.

Its comfortable cabins are only equipped with simple furniture (and don’t even have electricity), which will make you become one with nature: you will fall asleep in front of a crackling fireplace (fuelled by wood you chopped yourself) and wake up again with birds singing above your head. You can even pick blueberries right off the roof of your hut. A night to remember indeed!

woods woods
The best airports to get stuck in
Off to Paris for just 50 euro

Nobody likes to miss a connection in some foreign airport with nowhere to go. According to a recent poll, some airports are more agreeable to get stuck in than others though, and Brussels Airport is one of them.

London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol top the list. Other entries are Malaga Airport, Stockholm Airport, Frankfurt International Airport, Gatwick Airport, Lisboa Airport, Madrid Bajaras Airport and Leifur Eriksson Airport in Iceland. At least you know you’re in a comfy place to be when Eyjafjallajökull decides to go boom again.


Weekdays, as scientifically proven, are liked by none. Why not then take a day off and hop on a train to Paris? Thalys now offers day trips to the city of lights for just 50 euro! Trains leave at 6.13 and 9.13 am and return to Brussels at 8.25 and 10.01 pm.

Since Paris is less than an hour and a half away, you’ll have plenty of time to fully reload your batteries while taking a stroll on the Champs-Elysees, visiting the Louvre or just having a coffee in one of the city’s gazillion cafés.
Wish we weren’t here!?

Ever had an incentive group full of people you really despised? Were you looking for an inventive way to make them cry? Or, being more positive, did you ever have a group that was in for a real adventure? In both cases, this venue might be something for you.

In darker times, Latvia’s Karosta Prison was used by the KGB and was described by many of its residents as “hell on earth”. Horrible things happened here, and the US television show Ghosthunters declared it the site with the most paranormal activity in the world.

Nowadays though, you can have a guided tour here and experience how it was to be a soviet prisoner (including guards shouting at you). If you’re willing, you can even spend the night in a cell.

Only for the brave-hearted! Click here to watch the clip and horror.


Winter Meetings
Who serves you strawberries in the sky?

Go for a cozy after work drink with friends and colleagues to the Holiday Inn Airport in their SKOJ winter bar, a warm and inviting cottage in the gardens of the hotel. Space available for up to 65Agendapeople.
Or use the cabin to spice up your special winter meetings – special promotion at € 70 p.p. – and hold your coffee breaks in the SKOJ log cabin, promotion valid until end of January 2013.
The Hotel

We’ve been waiting to discover the novelties at The Hotel. This winter, planners can book the 8 new meeting & event rooms for up to 160 persons on the top floors with impressive panoramic city views over Brussels.  The central location on the fashionable Boulevard de Waterloo is definitely an added bonus.

‘The Hotel’ offers a daily delegate winter special
€ 79,- p.p. with complimentary champagne & strawberries in the sky at the end of the day.
A tale of two islands: Six Belgian MICE agents on famtrip to Aruba and Curacao

Six Belgian MICE agents were invited by 3 Travel Angels to a famtrip in Aruba and Curacao, organized by the Curacao Tourist Board, the Aruba Tourism Authority and Airberlin, to experience these two paradise islands in person.

Although there are major differences between the two islands, both of them are prime MICE destinations, both for big conferences and smaller events. Read the full report behind this link, written by Hugo Slimbrouck of Ovation Global, one of the participants on this sunny famtrip.

Aruba Aruba
Site EMEA Forum 2013
Spotted by locals

Site Belgium is thrilled to host the Site EMEA Forum 2013 in Antwerp, and welcome fellow Site members and motivational events industry professionals from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Forum is an exciting opportunity to network with your peers, meet with thought leaders and experience Antwerp. The event takes place on 11-13 March 2013 at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel.
Berlin is a fantastic website for anyone looking for in-depth city information. Here, local residents from 44 European cities share their own view on their hometown.

A lot of the time, they’ll give tips that aren’t in the official travel guides. Every city is subdivided into different quarters and themes, and every one of them offers a multitude of lovely addresses and activities.

Take a look!
MPI Belgium BE Conference: back to innovation?
MariekeVervoortThe BE Conference, which takes place on 22 January 2013 in Brussels, will be a day that fulfils the needs of meeting professionals of all ages in their learning path.

Inspirational sessions which speakers such as Marieke Vervoort (Golden and Silver medalist at the Paralympics), Julius Solarius (biggest event blogger and event trend watcher) and Luc De Brabandere (Boston Consulting Group), will enlighten you. The afternoon will allow participants to choose 2 out of several  workshops which cover all areas of meeting management like e.g. “How to speak in front of a group”, “What about body language in our industry” or “Do’s and don’ts with SABAM and Insurances” and  “How does online tasting work”?
The day will be steered by their Master of Interaction Cyriel Kortleven and the final session will be presented by Ruud Janssen in such a way that you will never forget this day. You are all invited to attend this unique opportunity and share your thoughts and experiences on Tuesday 22 January 2013.
Global Meetings Forecast 2013

amexAmerican Meetings & Events has published their Global Meetings Forecast 2013. The forecast examines predictions regarding budget, spend and other meetings-specific metrics by geographic market as well as providing insight into Global Meeting Planning Trends for 2013. 

You will see that Asia Pacific is likely to see the strongest growth among regions in both spending and the number of meetings. In North America, economic uncertainty is expected to keep those categories relatively flat, while Europe will likely experience declines as it continues to face a currency crisis and, due to political instability in some markets, Central/South America is also expected to see slight declines overall, especially in spend.

Click here to read the report.

One in three business travellers is uninsured

businessA study done by NBTC-NIPO Research and BCD Travel says that one in five business travellers takes off without any form of insurance. 11 percent more is unaware of whether or not they are insured, raising the total percentage to one in three.

A lot of business travellers wrongly assume they have private insurance or that their employer arranged a travel- or annulation insurance for them, which can have nasty consequences when flights get cancelled, luggage is lost or a crazed, wildly screaming taxi driver runs you over while you are crossing the street abroad. It’s important for companies to make sure all employees are insured in the correct way, and that they know which procedures to follow if something happens.
Inspirations of the World: a DMC consortium with a heart!

Bruno Leunen has been a major figure on the Belgian MICE scene for a great number of years with his company Destination Unlimited. With his in depth knowledge of Asian destinations and his contacts around the world, he worked hand in hand with fellow DMC’s with whom he built a relationship of trust. They met up under Bruno’s initiative, saw that they were all working towards the same goal, had the burmasame work ethics, in short, they could fully trust one another. So, all these independent agents got together under the banner “Inspirations of the World”, with as key factor that all have responsible tourism in common! Bruno brought holds the role of president of this unique gathering of independent agencies.

Organizers looking for unique adventures in China, Bhutan, India, Nepal or Myanmar in Asia, or Ireland, Spain, Turkey or Scotland in Europe can get a lot of inspiration from this fine collection of specialists who will ensure them a unique experience in their destination!

EIBTM 2012: a soaked anniversary party

MontjuicBBT Online attended the 25th anniversary of EIBTM in Barcelona, probably the biggest trade fair of our industry. Our whole team was present at the opening ceremony in the Museum of Beautiful Arts on Montjuic hoping for an impressive event. However it proved very disappointing though. Barely any speeches, no entertainment at all, really nothing to wow all these MICE professionals.

The organisation afterwards proved even worse. Happy anniversary?

Click here to read Viviane Vogel’s report.

Real Short !!

17 December, Bowling Stones Wemmel: BBT Online’s 10th Four Destinations Workshop. Join us for 4 presentations and for the splendid winter BBQ after the workshops!
A new year, a new concept. On February 25 BBT Online will hold their first event of 2013. It won’t be a 4 Destinations workshop. Where? In Antwerp, at Little Buddha. More information will follow. In the meantime, event/incentive agents, take your new agenda’s out and save-the-date. Timing 4 – 10 pm.
Following the success of ILTM Americas, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of the leading luxury travel events International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), ILTM Asia and ILTM Africa has announced the launch of ILTM Japan taking place 11 - 13 March 2013 in Kyoto, Japan.
Reed Travel Exhibitions announced a new MICE-fair. IBTM India will take place in Mumbai’s Grand Hyatt from 12 to 14 September 2013. This new event will bring the number of big fairs organized by Reed to seven: EIBTM in Barcelona, AIBTM in Chicago, AIME in Melbourne, CIBTM in Beijing, GIBTM in Abu Dhabi, IBTM in Mumbai and Business Travel Market in London.

The European Travel Commission (ETC) has just published its third quarterly report on European Tourism in 2012 - Trends & Prospects. The full report can be downloaded from ETC’s corporate website by clicking here.
Dunkirk, just over the French Border, was selected to be a regional city of culture in 2013. The city put together a varied programme with a wide array of activities in every cultural discipline., the official meeting site of The Netherlands, made a list of the ten finest boardrooms in Holland. Check out the top ten here, if you want to hold your meeting in an eye-catching environment.
As they do every year, offers a river cruise to the German Christmas markets. These merry markets are the perfect place to catch some well-needed holiday fever. Cruises last 3 days and make stops in Köln, Bonn and Rüdesheim.
Practical English Usage, a world bestseller with sales of over two million, is now available as an app. This vital reference tool helps everybody with common language problems in English, making it quicker and easier to look through the 600+ entries in Practical English Usage. The app works on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
The American Marketing Association Foundation awarded ‘How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generation Y’ by Belgian writer Joeri Van den Berg won the 2012 Berry-AMA Book Prize for the best marketing book. The publication describes generation Y and how to reach them commercially.
As of now, everyone travelling to Corsica can consult a brand new website:, an initiative of ferry company SNCM and international travel magazine Geo. The site offers a vast amount of ideas for people looking for a rewarding travel programme.
Silversea Cruises' Silver Cloud underwent a successful three-week dry dock treatment in Palermo, where extensive renovations were made to nearly every area of the ultra-luxury ship. The interior decoration was completely renovated, including all suites, public spaces and dining venues.
Social media marketing and meetings industry experts Christine Fuchs, Frankfurt and Gerrit Heijkoop, Amsterdam, have sucessfully launched their think-tank CaseHunters at this year‘s ICCA conference in Puerto Rico. The think-tank foremost aims at destinations who want to establish or improve their social media marketing.
Plenty of awards during the MICE & Business Travel Event in Amsterdam. 'Best airline for groups':, 'Best MICE hotel chain': Hilton, 'Best upcoming incentive destination’: Denmark and 'Mice Personality  2012': MPI Holland chapter chairman Berend Bouwman.
Big event for the automotive sector cancelled: The annual AutoRAI exhibition was planned for April 2013, but was sadly cancelled due to the economic crisis.
EIBTM has confirmed that the show will remain in Barcelona until 2016 and will continue to be hosted in the Fira Gran Via.
Switzerland was surprised with two EIBTM awards: the sustainability award and the best stand. We do think the excellent raclette at lunch may have had something to do with that award, but is a fact that the legendary Swiss hospitality is always to be found on the Swiss booth!
As per January 1st 2013, Maasmechelen Village organises a daily bus from Brussels, especially for convention delegates, to give them an opportunity to go outlet shopping. The Shopping express leaves Brussels every day at 10 am and returns at 5.30 pm. The price for a return ticket is €15. Bookings via

There’s more to Ireland than Guinness and rolling hills. Two Irish restaurants received their first Michelin star this month: Locks Brasserie in Dublin’s Portobello quarter and Restaurant Aniar in Galway.
Accor announced it will enter Bangladesh: the group’s 17th market in Asia-Pacific. Accor will open two properties under management contracts – Novotel Dhaka Gulshan Avenue in the country’s capital and Novotel Chittagong. These developments will add over 350 rooms in Bangladesh’s two largest cities.
The White Hotel, with its atypical design and ideal location on the Avenue Louise, Brussels, will join the Ibis Styles Family of the Accor group. The hotel’s name will change into the Ibis Styles Brussels Louise Hotel.
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts added five unique cruisers to its River Nile fleet and thus became the largest international operator on the Egyptian river, with a total of eight boats. More info on

Spanish private airline Air Europa celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Part of the celebration is the new connection between Brussels and Madrid which started on 3 December. This brings a lot of new opportunities to the Belgian Market, especially in Latin America, because of the many connecting flights from Madrid.
Looking good after an intercontinental flight: it’s not easy. British Airways gives us some pointers. Drink lots of water, take hand gel with you to at least feel clean, use a good primer (if you’re a lady or Alice Cooper) and if all else fails: bring a pair of sunglasses and hope for the best.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines set up a drastic restructuring plan that will save € 350 million. On top of this, the company hopes to earn € 115 million selling property. 800 jobs will be lost, back-office functions will be centralised in Stockholm and certain activities will be outsourced to third parties. According to SAS, this is the last chance to safeguard its future.

Hugo Slimbrouck, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Ovation Global DMC, received the The Travel Magazine Life Achievement award on 16 November.
After a good number of candidates have already been seen, Ghent Convention Bureau is still looking for Annick Debels’ successor. Candidates for this exciting job as director can still apply! Interested? Mail
Alain Depauw leaves his post as Director Leisure & Proximity Network at Carlson Wagonlit (CWT Belgium) after being with the company for 11 years. He’ll start working as part of the Antwerp Management Committee of HRG Belgium.
Dirk Ladriere is the new GM of Sandton Hotel Broel.
In October, Petra Hedorfer resigned from her post as President of the European Travel Commission (ETC). The ad interim President is Peter De Wilde, CEO of Toerisme Vlaanderen. The new President, serving a term of three years, will be elected during the general meeting of all members on 11 April 2013.
After five years, Dutch incentive company ‘Incentive Wise’ has stopped all activities, but Ykelien Mönking keeps working in the meeting industry. She switched careers, and on 1 November she became a new member of  the Sparkz corporate events team based in Amsterdam. Marieke Timmermans en Karina Schuil, owners of Sparkz, appointed Ykelien as director. Jeanette Pegels joined Aan Zee as event creator.
Shocking news! The well-known Happy Company filed for bankruptcy. This event company was founded by John Bes in 1996. Two years ago, Rene van Elsland became co-owner, and later he  took a 100% interest in the company. BBT Online spotted  van Elsland on EIBTM at the Brazil stand, with the name ‘Levensgenieters’ on his badge.

BBT Online Club 100 welcomed the following new members last month:
  • Fabienne van Ham – van Dijck, Senior Account Manager, M-Event -
  • Joris Eyck -  Associate Regional Vice President – Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Luxembourg,  HelmsBriscoe –

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! News anchors are people too. Which means we can laugh at them if they make ridiculous mistakes, like the ones in this funny video. Click here, and enjoy.


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