When would you hire a DMC?

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With the global business world becoming increasingly accessible, meeting planners often need to work outside their familiar surroundings. Many meetings are transferred to other cities, other countries or other continents. Since it can become difficult to organize your meeting from a distance, you might need a contact person who has the local knowledge.

This is where Destination Management Companies (DMCs) come in. They can organize everything for your, from hotel, venue, catering, transportation and transfers. However, they will also consume a part of your budget.

Have you ever worked with DMCs? What was your experience? Could you have done it without them? And how can you find a good DMC?

In case you are looking for a DMC in Holland, I recommend:

Delta Amsterdam
Holland Destination Management
ITBholland
KUONI Destination Management Benelux
Ovation Holland
Partners & Sam!

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Go ahead and take a break: 5 tips to relax at work

It is a warm and sunny afternoon in Amsterdam, maybe one of the last this year. I’m sitting at city beach Strandzuid with a glass of fresh orange juice. Due to the many site inspections I was quite busy, so I decided that it would be wise to take a day off. But my workaholic self bars me from relaxing. I feel naughty, even guilty because I’m not sitting at my desk like everybody else.

eco hangmat en hangstoelen 0051

Does this sound familiar to you? Most of us are too busy too enjoy free time. We hurry from deadline to deadline and work extra hours just to end up with more work than before. Most of us feel so stressed and exhausted that we beg for break. But there is always another item on our task list we have to finish before.

However, we all would benefit from regular breaks. Not only, that we need the time to relax, a day off can also help us to work more efficiently. According to neuroscience research, after focusing intensively on a project, our brain needs to fully disengage and relax. The time, when we are apparently doing nothing is an important period of recovery to our brain. When we calm down it starts to sort things out, reorganize, discard and store information and thoughts.

If we postpone our breaks too long, our physical and mental performances will decline. If you are racing around all day, ticking things off lists, checking your mail, making phone calls and hurry to appointment you are not going to have any creative ideas. On the other hand, we all know the phenomenon of waking up after a night of good sleep, and the solution for the biggest problems come to our minds.

Thus, a day off from time to time keeps your mind fresh and your performance at top levels. Of course, it is not always necessary to take a whole day off. Try to integrate small breaks into your regular working day. Here are some tips.

  1. Instead of eating your sandwich at your desk, take a short walk, find a nice place to sit and enjoy your surroundings while you have your lunch.
  2. Put on your favourite music while checking your email
  3. Your office has the most disgusting coffee in the city? Walk to the coffee shop around the corner to get your favourite flavour.
  4. Call your partner or best friend for a short chat. Say something nice.
  5. Free your feet and take off your shoes under the desk.

What is your tip to relax at work? How do you stay energized during long projects. Please share your tip with me.

Meetings in Rotterdam: inspecting the Gateway to Europe

Rotterdam is internationally renowned as one of the biggest ports in the world and therefore also called the Gateway to Europe. I made a site inspection in Rotterdam to check out the meeting facilities for you.

Rotterdam has been Holland’s centre of trade during the colonial era and still remains an important economic engine for our country. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and belongs to the top 5 of the world. The port area is heavily industrialized with petrochemical refineries, storage tanks and container terminals. Companies in logistics, shipping and international retail will be inspired by the rich trading history of Rotterdam.

Rotterdam

Even though the city is already 650 years old, it has a young cosmopolitan allure. When large parts of Rotterdam’s city centre where destroyed after World War II, it was decided to rebuild it with a new, modern face rather than restoring the original buildings. The result were wide roads and high, futuristic buildings that resemble the innovative spirit in Rotterdam. Architects are fascinated by constructions like the Cubus Houses, Erasmus Bridge or the New Orleans Tower, which is the highest building in Holland.

Accessible by air and water

Rotterdam and The Hague share the second airport of Holland. It is less busy than Amsterdam Airport Schiphol with quicker check-in’s and comfortable departure times to 34 destinations. Between Rotterdam and London City Airport alone there are eight daily flights. From the airport it is a 15-minute ride by cab or train to the city centre. Guests from Belgium and France have a great connection with Hispeed and Thalys trains.

Another option is to travel on the water.  There are easy ferry connections to the UK. P&O North Sea ferries, for instance, can take you from Hull to Europoort Rotterdam, where you have direct bus transfers to you end destination.

Blog Holland Rotterdam Port

Venues

Rotterdam bursts from stylish and elegant venues. Here are some recommendations by Rotterdam Convention Bureau.

SS Rotterdam
Hulstkamp Building
De Doelen
Beurs World Trade Center
Ahoy Rotterdam
Villapark Citta Romana
NH Atlanta Rotterdam
Het Heerenhuys
Luxor Theater Rotterdam
De Verdieping

Hidden Secrets

Venue: located in the heart of the port area, the Euromast Tower offers a spectacular view of the ocean and the harbour.

Restaurant: Izkaya, an Asian restaurant with interactive tables. Order from the digital menu and check the virtual agenda while you wait for your food.

Activity: Kinderdijk Windmills, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site

Blog Holland Rotterdam Cubus

After your meeting

I already mentioned the rich architecture of Rotterdam. But not only architects will be enchanted by Rotterdam’s impressive buildings made by many old and new designers. You can combine your meeting with a visit to the Netherlands Architecture Institute. More adventurous meeting delegates will find a great challenge in Rotterdam’s landmark, the Euromast. After enjoying the spectacular view, try abseiling down.

After a long day, it is time to take a break with a glass of fine wine. Club Rosso is a cosy wine and champagne bar with a warm ambience and fireplaces. Ready to hit the dance floor? Relive the 70s, 80s and 90s at Get Back Club, a popular location for people in their mid-twenties and above.

More information?

For all questions about meetings and activities in Rotterdam you can contact my friends from Rotterdam Convention Bureau.

Who is your green meetings pioneer?

Column Holland Green Meetings

Green meetings and events are on the move. Thanks to the Dutch chapter of the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) I get endless tips and advices for more sustainable meetings. This is great, because I truly believe that the future of our industry is green and I’m not alone. Many hotels, restaurants and caterers are Green Key- or Green Globe-certified and still looking for more ways to be eco-friendly.

As every trend, green meetings need a pioneer, a role model who shows us how to do it. For the event industry these are ID&T (Welcome to the Future Festival) and Whole Earth Festival in Davis, California. Do we have such a pioneer in the corporate meetings sector? Can you name a meeting planner you would suggest as a role model for green meetings? Why did they impress you and what can we learn from them? I would love to hear your opinion on that topic.

Let’s meet in Groningen: a site inspection in the capital of the North

Groningen is frequently called the ‘Capital of the North’ and has a central function in the Northern region of Holland. I have visited the city for you to check out the meeting facilities.

Holland’s city of sustainability and health

Groningen has hosted many international meetings thanks to the great reputation of the Groningen University and the University Medical Centre. EU research has shown that the inhabitants of Groningen appreciate their city more than anywhere else in Europe. Groningen is cherished for its safety, the pure air, a beautiful city centre and pleasant surroundings.

Blog Holland Groningen City

Groningen is Holland’s leading city in green energy. From 19-20 November Groningen hosts the annual Energy Convention, an international platform for senior energy experts to exchange knowledge about energy and sustainability research. Many power companies in Groningen are working together as the Energy Valley Top Club to promote green energy matters. Power companies and other corporates, that are involved into sustainability topics can get inspired by the green spirit that lives in Groningen.

Another prominent topic in Groningen is healthy aging. Since Dutch people are living longer, the universities and medical centre of Groningen have initiated numerous research projects to find out how lifestyle factors influence the aging process. The LifeLines project for example monitors lifestyle and health of three generations of Dutch residents. Corporates in health and geriatric care can clearly benefit from this knowledge.

Blog Holland Groningen Mills

Easy access with Airport Eelde

Groningen Aiport Eelde provides excellent accessibility for international guests. The favourable departure times and the quick check-ins make Airport Eelde an attractive airport for holiday and business travellers. There are frequent flights to many destinations in Southern Europe and the UK and flights to more destinations like Munich, Stockholm and Rome are planned. Compared to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Airport Eelde is less busy and crowded. You can also travel to Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht by train.

Blog Holland Groningen Airport

Venues

Groningen offers a wide range of historic and modern venues for big and small meetings. Biggest advantage for low-budgets: Groningen lies 30 percent below the price level in Amsterdam. Here are some recommendations by the Groningen Convention Bureau.

MartiniPlaza Convention Centre
Prinsenhof Hotel
The Wall House
The Aa-Church
Het Kasteel (The Castle)
The Oosterpoort & The Stadsschouwburg
Hanze Plaza
The Martini Church
The Remonstrantse Church

My personal hotel tips: Hampshire Hotel Plaza and NH Groningen

Hidden Secrets

Venue
Hayema Herd, a traditional farmhouse with facilities for meetings and conferences. Taste the rural life and sleep in the hayloft in a bed of straw.

Restaurant
Boven Jan, a brand-new restaurant in the heart of Groningen.

Activity
Hofjeswandeling, a walk through the city of Groningen along the various guesthouses. In the past these beautiful atria served as a temporary accommodation for the poor. Ask GCB for more information.

130914 Facebook Holland Puzzla Martini Tower

After your meeting

Recently, Groningen has been chosen as the city with the best city centre in Holland. That’s why Groningen is a real paradise for shopping queens. From large chain shops to small, charming stores you can find anything you want. If you prefer enjoying some art you should visit the Groningen Museum. The extraordinary building hosts fascinating exhibitions of paintings and photography. After the long hours of sitting in the meeting room you might also need some physical activity. From the Martini Church Tower you can enjoy an amazing view of Groningen and the surroundings, but first you must climb up 96.8 meters to the top of the 500-year old building. Thanks to the many students in Groningen, the city offers a vibrant nightlife. There is no fixed closing time for pubs and bars, so you are invited to party with the locals until the wee small hours.

More information

What is your impression of Groningen after this report? For more questions about meeting activities in and around Groningen you can contact my friends from the Groningen Convention Bureau.

A small meeting in Amsterdam: site inspection in the capital

Amsterdam is probably the most famous Dutch city due to its rich history and multifaceted culture. I have been on site inspection in the capital to check out the possibilities for small meetings (up to 100 participants).

beautiful Amsterdam , canals in downtown

Creative melting pot

More than 180 nationalities have chosen Amsterdam as their home city, creating a melting pot of various cultures, ideas and visions. Creative corporates in the gaming, fashion and design industry that aim for fresh inspiration can definitely benefit from the creative energy and innovative spirits that flow around here. According to research undertaken for Global Cities, Holland ranks second in the world of creatives with 46.2 percent of the workforce employed in creative occupations. That is why Amsterdam shares the top of creative cities with London, New York and Los Angeles. Additionally, the city stands out as one of the most entrepreneurial places in the world making it also a fountain of inspiration for small (starting) businesses.

Blog Holland Schiphol

Great accessibility

Many ways lead to Amsterdam. International visitors can use the services of my friends from Air France KLM. The royal airline flies directly to Amsterdam from 185 destinations worldwide. From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol it is a 20 minute ride to the city centre by cab or train. Belgian or German visitors can also travel with the train services provided by the international Hispeed railway network. Compared to a metropolis like London or New York, the capital of Holland is rather compact. This is great because most big attractions are within walking distance from the city centre. If you want to spare your feet you can easily get around with a rental bicycle or the public transport network.

Venues for small meetings

Amsterdam has many great, fancy venues for meetings. Here is a list of conference hotels I can recommend especially for smaller meetings.

Holiday Inn Amsterdam (4*)
Double Tree by Hilton (4*)
Conservatorium Hotel (5*)
NH Barbizon Palace (5*)
Park Hotel Amsterdam (4*)
Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam (5*)
WestCord Fashion Hotel Amsterdam (4*)

After your meeting

Amsterdam has such a rich culture that it impossible to get bored. Next to the famous Rijksmuseum there are plenty of other museums for all interests. For creative minds I can recommend the Foam Photography Museum, the EYE Film Museum or the ARCAM Amsterdam Centre for Architecture.

For a coffee break you can take a seat at one of the numerous cafes where you can mix with the locals. I can only recommend you to explore Amsterdam’s nightlife. The many pubs and bars are open until the early morning. Whether you like it loud and crowded, or cosy and elegant – Amsterdam has a location for each taste. If you are in the mood to dance you will love the clubs here which are inspired by world-class DJs like Armin van Buuren.

Hidden Secrets

Next to the famous attractions, Amsterdam also own some hidden gems. If you want to leave the beaten track during your stay I have some tips for you. For more hidden secrets you can check my page at the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions.

Venue
De kleine Werf, a 400 year old former shipyard with bohemian surroundings for meetings up to 40 participants.

Restaurant 
De Kas, a former green house which offers delicious dishes and private tables for business dinners.

Activity
Stand Up Paddling, discover the canals of Amsterdam by paddling on a surf board.

More information?

For more questions about meeting activities in and around Amsterdam you can contact my friends from Amsterdam Marketing.

Or do you want help with the organization of your meeting? I know many DMCs  that are situated in Amsterdam like Delta Amsterdam, Incentive Europe, ITBholland, KUONI Destination Management Benelux, Ovation Holland and Holland Destination Management.