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Redefining Meeting Planners as Business Event Strategists — Meetings Innovation Report

Skift Take

Meeting planners have a lot of opportunities to grow as professionals by becoming more involved in business strategy, but meetings industry organizations can do more to support that evolution with better event content, versus promotional and generic marketing-speak.

— Greg Oates

The Future of Meetings & Events

At PCMA’s Convening Leaders event in Austin this week, Chris Cahill, CEO of Luxury Brands for AccorHotels, said:

“From an event planner’s perspective, it’s becoming more important to move more from a logistics to strategic involvement in the purpose of meetings and output of meetings… We can create almost anything you want in terms of trying to achieve your objectives. But having clarity and being part of the team that is establishing the agenda is going to become more and more important. I think logistics are pretty easy to commoditize. They’re pretty easy to outsource.”

PCMA is pushing for the industry to redefine meeting planners as “Business event strategists” who focus on the business imperatives of events as much as the logistics. Sounds good, but during the Convening Leaders stage presentation with Cahill and the CEOs of SmithBucklin and Freeman, the focus was more on logistics and often generic statements promoting the executives’ companies and the importance of face-to-face business events.

Promoting the value of live meetings to the meetings industry? Yeah, we get it.

Another conversation with Mike Shea, director of SXSW, also focused on logistics. It would have been exponentially more interesting to understand how SXSW works strategically with brands to drive business development.

PCMA is doing a great job developing its digital platforms to share Convening Leaders to remote viewers. However, there needs to be just as much focus on content direction to provide real value for those of us tuning in from home this year — and considering attending the live event next year.

— Greg Oates, Senior Editor

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Social Quote of the Day

“Four big themes at CES 2017: Cars, Startups, Trump and Crowds: [email protected]_w_forrest #ces17 #SXSW

@Hugh_W_Forrest on Twitter

Skift Stories This Week

CEOs of CES and Las Vegas Tourism Say the Vegas Strip Needs More Meeting Space: The $1.4 billion expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center is significant because it cements the city as the meetings and events capital of the western U.S. for the foreseeable future. There’s also a push to attract more advanced industry conventions to Las Vegas, building on the success of shows like CES. Read more at Skift

Skift Backstage Podcast: SXSW and Superfly Pros on Making Events Better: Mike Shea, director of SXSW, and Rich Goodstone, co-founder of Superfly, share some of their strategies behind driving attendance, creating content, and building brand experiences at large events. Read more at Skift

Event Tech Startups Raised $40 Million in 2016: These seven event technology companies drove venture capital interest last year, providing new digital solutions ranging from strategic meetings management to online, peer-to-peer small venue rentals. Read more at Skift

Next Generation Meetings UX

5 Things to Expect from the Event Industry in 2017: According to Eventbrite, the biggest shifts in meetings and events delivery for 2017 revolve around: improved data collection, growing digital audiences, mass personalization, broader skill sets for planners, and more strategic alignment with business goals. Read more at Eventbrite

Meetings Mean Business Reveals 2017 Plans at PCMA Convening Leaders: The meetings industry advocacy group created a licensing agreement so other countries can join the coalition’s global efforts. Half a dozen countries have so far expressed interest, with three firmly involved in creating their own MMB effort. Read more at Meetings Today

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board launches Meet L.A. App for Meeting Professionals at PCMA 2017: Meeting and event planners can now access Meet L.A.’s innovative new virtual reality platform on their mobile devices, showcasing the different neighborhoods and venues throughout the destination. Read more at Incentive Travel & Corporate Meetings

CES 2017: The Wild and Wondrous Technologies of the Year Ahead: Here’s the first sighting of the year’s most interesting tech products and trends, from wallpaper TVs and voice-activated trash cans to smart-home bots and hacker-fighting routers. Read more at The Wall Street Journal

2017 SXSW Trend Predictions, Revisited: SXSW Interactive director Hugh Forrest outlines the big trends for SXSW 2017 and how they’ve evolved over the last four years. Keep an eye on “convergence” and “diversity rocks.” Read more at Hugh Forrest’s Medium page

7 Emerging Conferences Every Advertising Professional Should Know About: According to AdWeek: “There will never be a substitute for tent-pole events like CES, Mobile World Congress, Cannes and SXSW. But a new class of events has emerged to capture our attention that are highly curated, community based, built around experience and often purpose driven.” Read more at AdWeek

Futuristic New App by The NY Times and IBM Is Basically Pokemon Go For History Nerds: The New York Times and IBM partnered to produce this new augmented reality app, based on the same tech that powers Pokemon Go, to highlight the new movie “Hidden Figures.” There are now more than 150 sites in 10 U.S. cities where users can learn about the women who helped put America on the moon. Read more at Elite Daily, The Verge, and IBM

The Future of Event Email Marketing: The continuous changes in Facebook’s algorithm and the instability and general fluidity of social networks are bringing email marketing back to the dance floor in the world of event engagement strategy and content delivery. Read more at Es.Cultura Eventos

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

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