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Is research the new content marketing for convention bureaus? We hope so because it’s a good way for cities to differentiate themselves, and it provides new inspiration for event programming and education.

— Greg Oates

The Skift Meetings Innovation Report is a weekly newsletter defining the future of business events by deciphering disruptive strategies that improve engagement and knowledge sharing. Subscribe.

The Future of Meetings & Events

Mature travel destinations enjoy the consistent business that their brands afford, but they’re also challenged with keeping current with modern trends and maintaining relevancy with younger consumers. Beverly Hills, Catalonia, and London are three such mature convention bureaus, and each has published indepth research this year to showcase new travel trends relating to the luxury, culinary, and conference markets.

“One of the challenges with a mature product is that people have a lot of preconceived notions,” said Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau. “Aspirational demographics don’t always understand what we do here is geared toward all different walks of life and all different generations.”

“Aspirational demographics” means Millennials. Like other traditional luxury destinations, Beverly Hills is fighting the perception that it caters mostly to old rich people.

By publishing research that provides real insight, convention bureaus can better communicate their value proposition and prove how they’re staying ahead of trends to forward-thinking conference organizers who want to collaborate with innovative destinations. Read the full story here.

— Greg Oates, Senior Editor

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Tourism & Hospitality

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Tourism Bureaus Turn to Rigorous Research to Differentiate Their Brands: When convention and visitor bureaus produce extensive research papers and trend reports, they’re showing their commitment to truly engage Millennial conference attendees and their most innovative destination partners. Read more at Skift

Can Spaceships and Startups Attract Conventions to Albuquerque? Albuquerque has a great opportunity to take advantage of New Mexico’s high-tech knowledge base and the glam appeal of Virgin Galactic, but it needs to separate its messaging between the leisure and group markets to speak specifically to planners. Read more at Skift

Travel on Tap: The Rise of Beer Tourism: Craft Beer is big business in America with a proven ability engage the next generation of conference attendees. Many destinations are now aggressively promoting new craft beer trails, brewery event spaces, and beer-themed special events that meeting planners can integrate into their programs. Read more at Skift

12 Things to Cover Before Using Airbnb for Your Next Event: As an event planner looking to use Airbnb, you can also use it as an economic alternative once your block is filled. If you’re using it for attendee rooms from the start, Airbnb suggests adding their room widget to the event site so participants can book their own reservations. Read more at Event Manager Blog

Next Generation Event UX

Using Design Thinking to Embed Learning in Our Jobs: The central idea about design thinking — shifting from instructional design to experience design — is profound and important in today’s always-on, distracting work environment, where people simply don’t take the time to learn unless it’s embedded in the work. Read more at Harvard Business Review

The Art of Experiential Storytelling: Johnny Earle — aka Johnny Cupcakes — explains how he built a cult brand using disruptive events and unique customer experiences, and making people feel like it’s their birthday. Read more at Convene

How Lollapalooza Encouraged Guests to Stay for One Extra Day: Seeming to anticipate that festival guests would need more creature comforts to make it through an extended run, the event organizers and sponsors placed an emphasis on providing survival basics like Wi-Fi and healthy food. Read more at BizBash

Making the Business Case for Incentive Travel: Measuring the return on investment and return on objective to deliver a bigger impact for corporate incentives and retreats is an age-old discussion, but many companies aren’t doing it right, or doing it at all. Read more at Incentive and SITE Global

Why All Your Marketing Should Be Experiential Marketing: Marketers are being encouraged to add cool experiences into their mixes, alongside their digital, broadcast, and print media strategies. However, this mentality presents a dangerous distinction suggesting that experience is a separate tactic from the rest of the greater marketing engine. Read more at Skyword

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The Skift Meetings Innovation Report is curated by Skift senior editor Greg Oates [go@skift.com]. The newsletter is emailed every Wednesday.

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