A day in… Rotterdam

The city of Rotterdam has gained a lot of popularity the last year. With a new Central Station and several new venue and building openings Rotterdam made the top 10 in the list of 52 places to go in 2014 according to the New York Times. Whether you are planning your meeting here or just want to explore the city, spending the day in Rotterdam gives you a lot of business and leisure options.

Rotterdam skyline

Facts
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands
Rotterdam has the largest port of Europe
Motto: Stronger by struggle
Population: 618,467

Getting there
Rotterdam is easy to reach by car, plane or public transportation. Rotterdam has an airport just a few tube stops away from the city centre. From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol you can take the fast train Intercity Direct (26 minutes) or go by car (45 minutes). Coming from France? Take the Thalys train (2,5 hours) from Paris. You can even visit Rotterdam by boat. The Stena Line Ferry takes you from Hull or Harwich in the UK to the Rotterdam area.

Meeting and business venues 
The city offers a wide variety of meeting venues, hotels and inspirational conference rooms. With it’s modern architecture and beautiful skyline it will be easy to find a venue with great views and an urban feel.

New
In the last year hotels nhow Rotterdam and citizenM Rotterdam opened their doors, in August ibis Rotterdam City Centre will follow.

Classics
Staying in Rotterdam? You might want to consider the Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam. They are located in front of the new central station and are well-known for their great kitchen. If you are looking for a venue for a large group of people (up to 15,000 pax) you could have your meeting at De Doelen, Beurs WTC or Ahoy Rotterdam.

Hidden secrets
How would you like a meeting in a mill or old coffee factory? There are many more inspirational and special venues in the port city. On our hidden secret page we collect all of them for you.

After your meeting
Rotterdam is a great place to spend a day. They have a broad range of museums, shopping areas, restaurants and sights.

Museums
City’s main museum – Boijmans van Beuningen
Modern art – Kunsthal
Photography – Nederlands Fotomuseum
Architecture – NAI
Maritime – Maritiem Museum Rotterdam

Shopping areas
Beurstraverse (koopgoot) – In this street below Coolsingel street you can find an entrance to the high-end department store Bijenkorf, but also chains of various fashion stores.
De Lijnbaan & Coolsingel – On these main shopping streets you can find most of the stores
Meent – The Meent is a long street with high-end brands, galleries and lovely places to have lunch like Dudok (famous for the architecture and apple pie) and Guliano (Italian).
Nieuwe Binnenweg – A broad range of design, life style, fashion and trendy food can be found on this long, long street
Witte de Withstraat – Hipster street with galleries, fashion, sneaker stores, bars and terraces
Rotterdam north (rondom het Zwaanshals) – If you are into vintage shopping, chocolat, design and handicraft you should stop by and visit this area.

Restaurants
Casual or Michelin star restaurant? Urban vibe or intimate setting? A view at the skyline or from the skyline? Rotterdam has it all. In the Witte de Withstraat and Westelijk Handelsterrein you can find many restaurants. But these restaurants are very popular:

FG restaurant (before Ivy) – Michelin star / creative / molecular / urban
Wereldmuseum restaurant – Michelin star / set in museum / mediterranean
HMB Restaurant – Inside the new ‘de Rotterdam’ building / view on river / classic dishes
De watertoren – inside a water tower / views / casual / French /
Hotel New York cafe restaurant – casual / hotel / inside the former Holland-America line office / view on river / terrace

cube houses

Cube houses

Sights
When you are in Rotterdam it is almost impossible not to spot the famous bridges (Erasmusbrug, Willemsbrug, Hefbrug) and high buildings (De Rotterdam, Maastoren). Go up in the Euromast and enjoy a 360 view of the city. You can even go abseiling here! Don’t forget to check out the bizarre cube houses by architect Piet Blom. And if you really want to know what Rotterdam is all about you could go to the port area.

A day in Rotterdam.. 
With all these tips I am almost sure you need a few extra days of stay in Rotterdam. Have fun and let me know your favourite part of Rotterdam!

5 handy apps for meeting planners!

Apps can be a great tool for meeting planners. It gives you a great overview of RSVP’s, to do’s and can combine different communication platforms. I have collected a few of my favourite apps.

event apps

Eventbrite – With Eventbrite you can organise succesful events in three steps. 1) create an event webpage with descriptions and details to start selling tickets and collecting registrations. 2) Promote your event using the free tools to spread the word about your event. 3) Manage event entry and be on top of who’s coming and check them in at your event. The Eventbrite App can quickly scan barcodes at the door and provide the most up-to-date list. Create a seamless process, delighting your attendees with the ease of getting in the door.

Bizzabo – Event planning is like a juggling act, balancing multiple elements of a conference at once. Use the Bizzabo platform to give your attendees a mobile agenda, networking capabilities, all while generating social buzz around your event. Take charge of your event by sending out real-time announcements for any changes and keep attendees engaged throughout the event.

Buffer – Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find during your event. The advantage of Buffer is the possibility to schedule posts with pictures for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It makes managing content fun!

Super planner – Super Planner provides a variety of planning tools, including calculators for venue capacity, staffing, catering, staging, projection and dance floor, as well as useful tips in several areas.

Momice – With Momice it’s so easy to create an event site in 5 simple steps and to use the email- and registration module to communicate with your attendees in a professional way. Save time and money by managing all communication through one single website.

What are your favourite meeting planner apps? Let me know in the comments!

How to prepare for an out of office business meeting

Whether you are travelling to another province or abroad for a product launch, brainstorm session or business meeting with foreign offices, it is always smart to be well prepared. I have collected a few tips for you!

chair business

Know the subject
Even if you are not an active participant in the event like a speaker or decider, it is recommended you know the ins and outs of the subject. As a representative of the company you should be able to answer questions to those who are new to your company or to the subject.

How can this place inspire this meeting?
Before the meeting takes place, think about why this venue or location was chosen. Is it different than usual? How? Is it conservative, formal/informal, green, hybrid? It probably isn’t a coincidence, it partly reflects on how the management sees the current activities or how they want them to be. Then, think about how this setting can inspire your meeting. Could you learn from the KPI’s of the venue? How could you translate the look & feel as inspiration for your business meeting?

Think and work outside the box
Being away from the office gives you the opportunity to work different than usual. Try to take this advantage with you during your business meeting. Why not have a brainstorm session with colleagues from a different department or higher/lower position? Step away from PowerPoints and use whiteboards and markers. A different way of working, usually leads to different and innovative solutions.

Bring something to the table
It is (most of the time) highly appreciated when you bring something extra to the table. Come up with a new idea to market a product, how to reduce costs in the office or how to work more efficiently from home. To make sure there is time to discuss your ‘little extra’ you should probably announce your idea to the person that is in charge of the program.

Now I’m curious about you. How do you prepare for a business trip? Leave your tips, suggestions and experiences in the comments!