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


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

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.

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

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.

My 4 favourite ‘orange educational sessions’ at #EIBTM : what are yours?

In almost 2 weeks we are all heading to Barcelona for EIBTM. EIBTM is the leading global event for the meetings, incentives, events and business travel industry, held in the vibrant destination of Barcelona. The event delivers three days of focused access to a dynamic business environment, thought provoking professional education and business networks for all attendees.

Last week I posted in the EIBTM Linkedin group the following question:

EIBTM Education: what is your ‘must attend’ session? Why do you attend EIBTM? Also for the eductational sessions? Have you marked your favourites yet? Let’s share: which session(s) are you planning to attend?

I then started browsing the educational programme and asked myself: what would be my ‘must attend’ eductional sessions if I look at this through my orange sunglasses? Who are the Dutch industry professionals who contribute to this program?

These are my top 4 ‘orange picks’. Please let me know what your favourite sessions are!

1. Hybrid: Hands On!

Reach out to the 80% of your target group who aren’t attending your event by thinking live & online. Get the essence of hybrid event in a 30 minutes non-techie hands-on guide. If you’ve heard about hybrid events but think they compete with your live event, this is your session!

Topics: what hybrid events are, why they are booming, dos & don’ts and tips for your first steps.

Dutch Speaker:
Gerdie Schreuders, Online Event Designer, Social Media Coach and Virtual Emcee at LiveOnlineEvents BV
Date/Time: 27 Nov 2012, 11:30-12:00
Location: The Future Events Experience

2. Listen & #Daretogive: Social Media in meetings & events

Gerrit Heijkoop will take you on a journey that will grow your confidence in how to approach new social technologies when organizing your next meeting or event. During his session he will help you understand the new ‘ground rules’ of online Social Networking. He will explain why Social Media are such powerful tools around live events and meetings.

Based on real-life case examples, Gerrit will guide you through several ‘Social Scenarios’. A ‘Social Scenario’ is a combination of a storyline, tools and operations, specifically designed to support a certain business process. This will make it easier for you to determine whether you should consider Social Media at all for your next meeting or event, which resources you need, what to do with them and how to get results.

Dutch Speaker:
Gerrit Heijkoop, Executive Partner, and Social Network Consultant for Events & Conferences at How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)
Date/Time: 28 Nov 2012, 15:30-16:30

3. Practical Examples of Sustainability in Action

As a recent winner of the UFI Sustainable Development award, the Amsterdam RAI have a lot to talk about when it comes to sustainability – leading the way in addressing social, environmental and economic impacts.  This session will outline some practical examples of how the RAI are acheiving sustainability success.

Dutch Speaker:
Babs Nijam, Business Development Manager at Amsterdam RAI
Date/Time: 28 Nov 2012, 16:00-16:30
Location: Sustainability Stand M750

4. EIBTM Technology Watch Award

The EIBTM Technology Watch Award is the most high profile and longest running technology recognition scheme for innovation in the global meetings and events sector, offering an invaluable opportunity to rising stars within the industry. Chaired by Corbin Ball, the judging panel is looking for companies to demonstrate new and innovative technology solutions that can make a significant difference to the industry.

Dutch Jury member:
Ruud W. Janssen, Marketing Entrepreneur at The New Objective Collective (TNOC)
Date/Time: 28 Nov 2012, 17:00-17:30
Location: The Future Events Experience

What is your favourite pick?

Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my favourites. Or please add your own personal favourite too!

See you at #IMEX12? Make an appointment at booth 212!

The excitement of going to Las Vegas is really all over me right now. Only one week to go!

If you really want to make the most of IMEX America, you shouldn’t miss Booth 212. Time and money well spent. That’s what my country has to offer you. Holland, in North-West Europe, is small. That’s great!

Holland has its famous capital Amsterdam. But there is more. Cities such as Rotterdam or Maastricht are totally different. So all around Amsterdam, Holland looks like a kaleidoscope. Compact equals impact!

In Booth 212 you can meet eye to eye with representatives of the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC). Let’s talk about impact, efficiency, and planning truly original events!

Plus you can talk to representatives of the following Dutch organisations. Click on the links to access their exhibitor profiles and book an appointment:

Accor Hotels The Netherlands
Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, is present in 92 countries with more than 4,400 hotels and 530,000 rooms.

Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre
With more than 110 years of experience, Amsterdam RAI is the main convention center in The Netherlands.

Apollo Hotels Amsterdam
Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre Guestrooms: 446 Number of Meeting Rooms: 8 (2,395 square feet) Largest Meeting room: 200 people.

Hotel Okura Amsterdam
Hotel Okura Amsterdam is the most complete five-star luxury hotel that you will find in The Netherlands and exclusive member of ‘The Leading Hotels of the world’.

HOTELS VAN ORANJE, The Beach of Amsterdam
The Hotels van Oranje a combination of a 4 and 5 star hotel located at the Beach of Amsterdam 20 minutes from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre
The Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre is located in the Eastern Docklands in between the Muziekgebouw and the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.

And of course I will be there to be your host! I would love to take a picture with you or have a drink and one of the many nice meetups that are organized. So see you at #IMEX12!

My 3 favourite sessions of #HSMAIMEET : what are yours?

Last week I explained in my post why I am reviewing the agendas of our industry’s events. So this week I will take a look at the HSMAI Meet National on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington. Organized by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the event aims to attract 1,800 planning professionals from organizations of every size, plus 250 exhibitors. Also, this year the event has a new name: “the evolution of Affordable Meetings”

I am looking forward to following their stream via the hash-tag #HSMAIMEET. And of course, I started browsing the programme and asked myself: what would have been my ‘must attend’ sessions if I could have been there?

These are my top picks. Please let me know what your favourite educational sessions are, were or would have been!

1. FREE Technology to Manage Your Events Easier, Better at Lower Cost and with Greater ROI

Why favourite?
You might be aware that the Dutch are very cost-effective. So if there is anything for ‘free’, I want to know more about it! And seriously, the internet offers so many great free utilities to make your meeting planning job easier. You should definitely also check out our ‘Holland ‘Venue finder‘, our ‘Meeting deals‘ and our free ‘Meeting CO2 calculator‘.

Session description:
That’s right !  Free software. This program will introduce you to a half dozen free conference and expo management software programs and apps that can help you do your job quicker, easier and at little or no cost to your program. Read more.

Speaker: Michael Hatch, President HATCH Marketing & Consulting LLC
When: Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 9:45 – 10:15 AM (GMT -5hours)

2. Get the Most Out of Your e-RFP

Why favourite?
Maybe you have noticed already, but we are collecting e-RFI’s and e-RFP’s as well (click on this link and you will find our submission form). Although me and my team manage to return these requests quickly and complete, of course we would love to learn about tips to do this smarter. How are you dealing with your RFP’s by the way?

Session description:
To get the most out of your eRFP, you have to include the rest of the alphabet.  Think a-to-zRFP if you really want to see the results that your hard work deserves.The fact is, most hotels have seen a 300% increase in their lead volume over the last 5 years while the close rates on RFPs have plummeted. At the same time, meeting planners are experiencing an unprecedented decline in hotel responsiveness to their RFPs, where late or incomplete bids are now the norm. Read more.

Speaker: Mike Mason, ZEO Zentila.com
When: Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 10:30 – 11: AM (GMT -5hours)

3. A Quick Look at the Future of Meetings Through the Eyes of Stakeholders

Why favourite?
As I explained in my earlier post, the whole purpose of following all these industry events is to get a grasp of what the future will bring. So this session should definitely be of value in determining just that!

Session description:
Maritz Research conducted a comprehensive study of meetings stakeholders to gather their views on the future of meetings in four key areas: meetings technology, social media, meetings venues, and meetings design. Dr. Rick Garlick, Senior Director of Strategic Consulting from Maritz, will share the key observations of this study provided by over 1600 respondents including meeting planners, suppliers, speakers, and attendees.   Included in the research topics are the emerging role of technology in virtual and face-to-face meetings, new ways of thinking about meeting design, social media and its multi-faceted role, and future expectations of venues. Read more.

Speaker: Rick Garlick, Director of Consulting & Strategic Implementation Maritz Research
When: Thursday, September 6, 2012, 10:30 – 11:00 AM (GMT -5hours)

What is your favourite pick?

Would love to hear in the comments if you agree or disagree with my favourites. Or please add your own personal favourite too!

Meet Mr. Holland

Hi! My name is Mr. Holland. I get a lot of questions about my name. My name is Mr. Holland because I know everything there is to know about Holland, so you could say I am a living symbol of everything this beautiful country stands for. I was born and raised in Holland. You might know me from Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Here I share my love for Holland and my knowledge of planning meetings with you.

I am a good singer, if I may say so. I play in band and I just am a typical Dutch bloke. People describe me as a friendly lad, not a player, not a big mouth but cheeky and just fun! I think this description of me is just like I would describe Holland.

I work at The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) as a Holland Host. Working there had taught me a lot about planning meetings. I’m here to help you planning your meeting in our small but beautiful country so if you have any question about Holland or me, just let me know!

I believe you should go see the town you are visiting and have a little fun with your attendees. That’s the reason why if you read my tweets or posts on Facebook you will notice I try to make a mix between meeting tips en tools, talking about good venues, handy information about the city and just plain fun. If you just want to read my meeting planning tips you should add me on LinkedIn.

I hope you have a better picture of me and know who to get to when you have a question about planning a meeting and Holland. Talk to you soon!