To optimally view our newsletter, we advise you to read the newsletter by clicking here.
To prevent BBT Online newsletters going into your junk mail folder,
please add our email address to your address book:
NH Meetings

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 77th edition.
of our take5 articles are advertorial free.

Drinks on top of the St. Rombout tower
World Expo Milan
Rombout Tower

Mechelen’s famous St. Rombout Tower can now be privatised for groups (before noon or after 6 pm). The arrangements will be led by the experienced Lamot team.

Groups of up to 25 people can climb the 538 steps to the top of the tower and enjoy both the view and some tasty local drinks. On clear days, you can see the Antwerp harbour and the Atomium from here. Lots of similar initiatives will follow to put Mechelen on the map as a meetings destination.

Milan is sure to draw the big crowds this year. On May 1 (till October 31) the 34th World Expo will open shop in Italy’s fashion capital. Central theme: ‘Food for the planet, energy for life’.

145 countries will exhibit on the fair, showing off items focused on technology, innovation, culture, traditions and art.

Entry tickets and hotel stays for one or two days can be booked via
A stay in the ‘Royal Snail’
Limburg’s newest venue
Justine Henin

First class design is not exclusively found in Antwerp, Ghent or Brussels. The Royal Snail Hotel is the first Boutique Design Hotel in Namur, located at the foot of the Namur Citadel.

It’s a Design Hotels member since November 2013 and offers 30 contemporary and personalised rooms and suites, a gastronomic restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a wellness centre and a conference centre: all just a 5 minute walk from Namur’s surprisingly beautiful historic centre.

It’s quite affordable as well. You can get a room for as little as €95 per night. Btw: snails (‘petit-gris’) are the local delicacy.
Terhills Hotel

The brand new 4-star Terhills Hotel in Maasmechelen is a member of DifferentHotels and is located in the main building of a former coal mine.

The outside is still completely authentic but the venue’s interior is modern and stylish – offering every amenity the modern traveller desires.

The local history is ever present. The old mine tower is still a landmark in the hotel garden. There’s more than mines to be seen though, Maasmechelen Village Chic Outlet Shopping is right next door.
Royal Snail Terhills Hotel
Lokal bites

We’ve talked about Book a Local before – we’re fans. Book a Local is a website offering a global social dining experience & helping people connect through food and beverage experiences around the world. Looking for a nice homemade Italian dinner in Brussels or a sushi party in NYC? Just log in and book!

Recently, we found this lovely layouted Book a Local blog. Lokal Bites (not a typo) brings you the latest in food and travel news, introduces local hosts and shares recipes and pictures from food events around the world.

As an example, check out this blog posts about the best places to eat in The Hague:

Lokal bites Lokal bites
BBT Online at Convene 2015 - Destination report Vilnius

For the first time, BBT Online’s Jonathan Ramael attended Convene: a relatively new MICE trade show in Vilnius, Lithuania. The Baltic region is a growing but practically undiscovered meetings destination.

Convene is specifically aimed at promoting meetings and incentive opportunities in the Baltic States and the surrounding countries. We think they’re doing quite a good job at it. By clicking this link you find a report on Convene trade-show and a destination report.

Convene 2015: Party Pictures
Want to see some of the pictures Jonathan made during Convene? Click this link to visit our Facebook page and to get a good sense of the show’s atmosphere! Don’t forget to like our page if you haven’t done it yet!

Convene Convene Convene
Convene Convene
Destination report: Three days in Tallinn

Since our reporter was already in Vilnius for Convene and had little knowledge of the other Baltic States, Jonathan was more than glad to accept the invitation for a 3-day post tour of Tallinn.

The Estonian capital is probably the most visited city of the Baltics. Its close proximity to Helsinki and marvellous medieval old town do wonders for tourism. Is it an interesting and versatile MICE destination as well? Three days of site visits, walks, excursions and dinners should clear things up.

Follow the link to see the full article.

Tallinn Tallinn Tallinn
Destination report: BBT Online in Dubai

Last month, BBT Online publisher Karin de Graauw accepted an invitation by Dubai Business Events and decided to revisit the emirate in style.

Karin came back with a ton of experiences and a new love for Dubai. There is so much more to see and experience here than just skyscrapers and huge malls.

Check out the full article here.

Dubai Dubai
How to be Frisian?
Want to go to Imex 2015?

Last year, we visited the Frisian islands; this year they seem to want to visit everybody else.

On 10 March in Amsterdam, American stand-up comic Greg Shapiro premiered his new live show ‘How to be Frisian?’ In 90 minutes, the audience was taken on a verbal site visit: every typical Frisian stereotype was hilariously exposed, together with subtly dosed MICE facts.

After the show, planners in the audience met a group of Frisian suppliers.

Want to go to Imex in Frankfurt as a Hosted Buyer (19 and 20th of May) – one of the biggest trade shows in the meeting and incentive industry?

The fair takes place from 19 to 21 May. Hosted Buyers stay in the Fleming’s Deluxe Frankfurt City Hotel. The venue is getting a complete makeover as we speak and will re-open officially in June, but will welcome IMEX buyers for a preview. Interested?

Send us a mail at or!
The third European Associations Summit

Visit BrusselsThe European Associations Summit in Brussels will take place on 5 and 6 May this year, followed by the European Business Summit ( on 6 and 7 May (included in the registration fee). EAS is an annual peer-to-peer forum for international association executives and senior staff.

This year, the pioneering role of leading international associations and the innovative services and practices which they are developing to the benefit of their members will be highlighted. For more info, check here.

Real Short !!

6-8 May, Calpe, Alicante, Spain: MITM Euromed. The Meetings and Incentive Travel Market is an interactive two-day travel trade show for the MICE market, concentrating on Europe and the Mediterranean.
14-16 May, Brussels: celebrates its 20th birthday. This means of course that all the stops will be pulled out to make the LGBT community proud. Three full days of celebrations will end the PrideFestival (1-17 May) in style – each day with a separate theme.
June, 11 – 15 (2015) Meet Catalunya invites 90 MICE agents to Catalunya.
2-6 July, Berlin: Meeting Place Berlin. Four exciting days to discover Berlin as a meeting destination full of events at unique locations, a workshop day with the city’s top suppliers and a Berlin incentive day.
7-9 July, Olympia, London: Meetings Show London. One of the must attend events of the UK meetings industry, combining a hosted buyers programme, education sessions and various networking opportunities.
10-11 December, Fortezza da Basso, Florence: BTC. The 31st edition of one of Italy’s biggest events show.
Meet in Ireland invites 24 & 25 September, 2015 several Belgian incentive agents to Ireland for a stimulating workshop with pre & post educational trips. Interested? More info:
Consult BBT Online’s MICE agenda, and don’t miss any event.

AREA is a new temporary event space in the Antwerp Opera that can be used for pop-up stores, brand activations, meetings, events or fairs. It will remain open for business until the end of this year.
Club CadX opened its doors in Antwerp. CadX is an indoor beach located in the harbour docks. It comes with a meeting room, a sky terrace and the possibility to enjoy beach sports and laser games.
Organizing a convention in Leuven? The new & free Leuven Walk app will help your delegates make the most of their stay. Be sure to include the QR code in the delegates’ briefing and give them a chance to discover the city’s highlights. The app can be downloaded on iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.
Flanders is getting a new travel magazine! Travelmedia – previously only active online – will make the switch to print. The new publication is called ‘Goodbye’, will offer more than 200 pages and will be in stores on 4 June. It will focus on exotic as well as more classic travel reports.
We’re also getting a new travel website: The site combines the best of two worlds: travel and good food. June was created by Toni De Coninck (ex VAB-Magazine).
As of January 2015, new tax regulations in Spain make it possible for Spanish DMC´s to invoice without VAT. Most business related events, including a number of services and booked entirely through a DMC, can now be invoiced without VAT.
Electronics giant Vandenborre employed an actual robot in its City2 store in Brussels on 13 and 14 March. Nao is a 58 cm tall humanoid robot. It speaks Dutch, French and English and assisted the store employees demonstrating Philips hue-lamps.
This blog post gives you five interesting tips on how to promote your event on Twitter. Enjoy! Click here.
Eventmanagerblog published an excellent article on how to build your personal brand as an event planner. Check it out here.
In his journey through the Lowlands, as far as the Borinage, Vincent van Gogh spent a short but important time in Brussels. Not many people know about this period, but it is now the subject of a tourist information post, installed and unveiled on the Place Sainte-Catherine.
Ever feel like you have no energy? Like you want to just give it all up and book yourself a long holiday? You might be suffering from a burnout. Want to be sure? Click this link and test yourself.
Toilet stops on festivals are often a traumatising experience. Not any more! At Extrema Outdoor in Houthalen – a world premier by the way – visitors can enjoy a genuine ‘Toilet Xperience’. Toilet goers get the VIP-treatment: music, the cleanest seats on the planet and 3D-screens in the stalls. Now you can literally become a party pooper! Check out the video here.
Fosun, the Chinese conglomerate that recently took over Club Med and invested in Thomas Cook, has now shown interest in the British branch of Center Parcs. Quite a portfolio indeed.
euromic, the leading international consortium of companies specializing in MICE travel and destination management, recently announced that On Site Malta has joined the association as a new member destination management company (DMC) in Malta.

Hotel Spa Balmoral has a new name and logo. From now on, it will be known as Silva Hotel Spa Balmoral.
A new hotel will open in Schiphol in the 4th quarter of this year. Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will offer 433 rooms and 1.700 m² of meeting space. It will look like a cube and sport diamond shaped windows. We’re already curious.
Instagram is mostly used for pictures, but apparently it can be useful for hotels and tour operators as well. At least according to this USA Today article about booking rooms on Instagram.
Less than a year after the official opening, both ‘Good Kompany’ bars are already closed. Bad news for Vincent, but at least he didn’t put his last dime in them.


Brussels Airlines booked a net loss of € 4.2 million last year. Although this doesn’t sound like good news, it kind of is. In 2013, net loss was € 21.95 million.
As of 20 April, Chinese tour operator U-tour plans direct flights from China to Liège Airport.
VLM Airlines starts flying to Nice and Venice (5 times a week) and to Avignon and Bologna (4 times a week) from Liege this May.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport is now the 4th busiest European airport. The top three remains unchanged: Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt.
Google Flight Search is an interesting new Google gimmick that can tell you whether there’s Wi-Fi on the flight you’re about to book and whether there are power or USB plugs in your seat. Cool, isn’t it?
British Airways is one of the first companies that made a specially developed app for the new Apple Watch when it comes out on 24 April. The app will provide flight, check-in and gate information.
As of 10 May (and lasting through summer) Air Corsica offers four flights per week between Belgium and Corsica, departing from Liege. These direct flights will land in both Ajaccio and Bastia.

BBT Online Club 100 welcomed the following new member last month:
  • Antonella Van Doren, Managing Director, Latitude Corporate Events

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!
President Obama may have received his share of criticism during the past six years. But at least he kept a sense of humour about it, as shown again in this funny little Buzzfeed video.


Karin de Graauw – Editor-in-chief BBT Online
Rue de l’Aqueduc 149 – 1050 Brussels – Belgium
Join us on Facebook
Twitter Linked In