Skift Take

Lots of news coming out of IMEX America. Hotels are delivering more personalized and interactive experiences, and event tech companies are getting better at connecting attendees, sourcing venues, and leveraging big data.

The Future of Meetings & Events

At the sixth annual IMEX America trade show this month in Las Vegas, I spoke with hospitality brand leaders at Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, and MGM, who shared their latest meetings and events initiatives. Even though hotel occupancy is at record levels, they said meeting planners are demanding more personalized and interactive experiences because their delegates are more demanding than ever.

“The days of planners booking hotel meetings solely on rates, dates, and space are over,” Brian King, global brand and sales officer for Marriott, said. “It’s not just 72-inch rounds and chicken breasts anymore. These are experience-driven consumers, and planners are saying, ‘My attendee base is asking for things that they’ve never asked for before.'” Read the full story here.

I also met with the CMOs and founders of several event tech companies, including DoubleDutch, EventMobi, Zenvoy, MeetingsBooker, and Spacebase, for an update on how meeting planners are marrying online and offline event experiences. Read the full story here.

— Greg Oates, Senior Editor

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Social Quote of the Day

“People are the agents of #digital transformation #digitalfutures

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Tourism & Hospitality

marriott-lg-studioHow Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and MGM Are Evolving Their Meetings Experience: The legacy hotel companies are developing new strategies to engage meeting planners and attendees more like they do with their leisure crowds, but some of these initiatives seem overly ambitious or too corporate to become mainstream. Read more at Skift

Dubai To Host First Tourism Innovation & Transformation Forum: Roundtable discussions with 30 CEOs in the tourism and travel sector will be supplemented with four workshops on Tourism Business Transformation; Destination Transformation Strategies; Smart City Tourism & Visitor Experiences Planning; and Innovative Hotel Guest Experiences. Read more at Travel & Tourism News Middle East

ASAE Inspires Attendees in New Ways in Salt Lake City: The agenda for the annual American Society of Association Executive’s conference included a variety of experimental formats, such as 20 discussions developed by attendees using Open Space Learning, aka  an “unconference” strategy. Read more at Convene

Next Generation Event UX

Event Technology Impacts Every Aspect of Meetings but Needs Wider Adoption: The newest event tech today is getting better at connecting attendees, establishing the business case for events, and sourcing more creative venues. But CMOs still don’t have any really good platforms to track the entire attendee journey to help them develop solid one-to-one marketing messaging. Read more at Skift

Forbes’ Under 30 Summit Demonstrates How to Tailor a Conference to Millennials: This annual conference focused science, technology, investing, media, creativity, and social good, with content divided for the first time into four themes: Tech, Capital, Impact, and Create. Read more at BizBash

The Cognition Blitz At World Of Watson 2016: IBM’s big celebration of its Watson machine learning platform last week was positioned as the future of technology across all sectors. That includes a whole new level of event, social media, and video content analytics to track audience sentiment. We liked the 3D-printed, electronic, self-driving, Watson-powered minibus, Olli. Read more at IBM

C2 Montreal 2016: The Minutes: This interactive e-book is one of the most unique post-event online platforms we’ve ever seen, compelling users to scroll through the entire agenda with links to both the main sessions and contextual content. Read more at C2 Montreal

Three Reasons Brand Experience Is On the Rise: The UK-based Bellwether Report from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising found that 13.4 percent of companies registered increased marketing budgets during Q3 2016. Event budgets performed the best of all marketing channels, recording 9.9 percent growth. Read more at FreemanXP

Inside Ondalinda: A New Kind of Festival: The inaugural Ondalinda festival outside Manzanillo last week illustrates an evolving trend in lifestyle events where the destination heavily influences the event content, delivered through the lens of local music, art, culture, and cuisine. Read more at Forbes

More, More and More: How The Event Industry Got it All Wrong: One of Event Manager Blog founder Julius Solaris’ better rants. He writes: “Attendees come to your event to achieve mainly three things: education, networking, and entertainment. If you offer too many options to reach these goals, you are effectively failing them.” Read more at Event Manager Blog

Event Spotlight

London Technology Week: Europe’s biggest tech festival has grown beyond its roots in the Shoreditch startup scene to encompass all of London, bringing together technologists in every sector, artists and musicians, and yes, drone racers. There’s also a new partnership between London & Partners, KNect365, and Informa’s TechXLR8 portfolio of events that will incorporate six major events into the London Tech Week program, including: Apps World, 5G World, and VR & AR World Summit. Read more at London Tech Week and London & Partners


The Skift Meetings Innovation Report is curated by Skift senior editor Greg Oates [[email protected]]. The newsletter is emailed every Wednesday.

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Photo credit: Spacebase's automated venue booking platform now sells unique meeting spaces in the U.S., such as the Tribeca penthouse in Manhattan shown above. Spacebase

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