The Future of Meetings & Events

I participated on a panel yesterday with the PCMA Heartland chapter in Kansas City to discuss disruptions in the meetings and events industry. Moderator Sherrif Karamat, COO of PCMA, specifically wanted the audience to question if the industry will be prepared in a few years for attendees who never experienced the pre-digital age.

We discussed London Tech Week, which has basically evolved into a global crowdsource platform that aggregates a growing list of independent London tech events around the parent Tech Week program, developed by London & Partners. The main theme of the citywide conference is that technology now collides with every industry from fashion to food to financial. However, I don’t really get the sense that a majority of meeting professionals today really embrace that. Read the full Skift story here.

During the PCMA panel, I also called out IBM’s recent World of Watson conference, which revolves around the marriage of creativity, design thinking, cognitive tech, and commerce. That right there is the blueprint for the future of meetings, but as Karamat asked, is the meetings industry paying attention? Read my IBM Watson event overview here.

— Greg Oates, Senior Editor

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Tourism, Hospitality & Events

london-tech-week-2016London’s Tech Week Is Helping Pivot the City Into Europe’s Startup Capital: London Tech Week shows the impact that convention bureaus can have on developing live events that shift a city’s destination brand image. Especially interesting, the London & Partners convention bureau is crowdsourcing other tech events around Tech Week to build the city’s reputation as a global innovation hub. Read more at Skift

Visit Denver’s New Strategy to Boost Tourism Relies Heavily on Meetings and Events: The new Denver Tourism Roadmap hinges on the planned expansion of the Colorado Convention Center and the National Western Center, as well as signature events like the Great American Beer Festival to attract more overnight visitors. Read more at The Denver Post

Visit Australia Without Leaving Home With the Qantas VR App, Koalas Not Included: The new virtual reality content showcases three completely different experiences in Sydney Harbor, Hamilton Island, and Uluru. Read more at Digital Trends and Qantas

Next Generation Event UX

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Travel Might Revolve Around a Driverless Minibus: IBM’s World of Watson conference last month was ground zero for the future of artificial intelligence across all industries, including travel, food, fashion, and festivals. The electric, 3D-printed, driverless minibus Olli stole the show, taking attendees on test drives around the show floor while they asked the onboard Watson supercomputer for restaurant recommendations. Read more at Skift

At 12th Annual Forbes CMO Summit, Focus on Culture, Purpose and People: “The Culture Imperative” was the theme of this year’s Forbes CMO Summit. The big message goes like this: “Chief marketers are responsible for developing culture and creating teams and environments that mirror brand ethos at a time when customers value more than ever the people and purpose that comprise companies with which they engage.” Read more at Forbes

The Important Lesson Meeting Professionals Should Learn From The Election: PCMA editor David McMillin writes: “After a 2016 election season full of name-calling, controversies and heated arguments, the face-to-face industry can be an essential piece of the puzzle for reestablishing a true sense of community…. Many expected the digital landscape to deliver a platform where people with opposing views could have healthy debates from home, but Facebook and Twitter have become echo chambers that reverberate with our own beliefs.” Read more at PCMA

The Next Big Opportunity: Mass Personalization and the Art of Brand Experience:  According to Freeman, the great meeting planner and event marketer paradox of the future is: “The need to create individualized experiences, delivered en masse to an entire audience of individuals.” Mass personalization goes to the heart of modern meeting design and real-time 1-to-1 marketing, which are kind of becoming the same thing. Read more at FreemanXP

Overcoming Event Fatigue: ICIT Programs Offer a Platform for True Thought Leader Collaboration: There is an emerging state of event fatigue among cybersecurity leaders who are bombarded with speaking requests on a weekly basis, and who have all but given up hope that the events are a worthwhile use of their time. Read more at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology

Hurdl Wearable Tech Provides Custom Marketing at Large Events: This is a little gimmicky but then that’s what we said about silent disco headsets. The illuminated Hurdl wristbands glow different colors when event organizers want to call out specific attendee categories, based on how each personal device is tagged by the individual user. Read more at BizBash

Why Events Should Be Part of Your Marketing Promotion Strategy: Brands are increasing their budgets for events and experiential marketing platforms, because more CMOs see the effectiveness of live brand experiences to engage and convert audiences. Read more at ITA Group

10 Conferences That Are Pushing the Industry Forward: You probably haven’t heard of at least half of these conferences. This list shows that inspired meeting design begins with audience-centric content wrapped around a big idea. For example, the programming at Business Innovation Factory 2017 is characterized as “R&D for new business models and social systems.” Read more at Event Manager Blog

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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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Photo Credit: Qantas launched a new virtual reality video series this week showcasing different Australian locations. Samsung