Skift Take

Today's best innovation and technology conferences focus on the commercialization of ideas, and they're having a big impact on the long-term economic development of their host cities.

The Future of Meetings & Events

I took my first ride inside an autonomous vehicle in Las Vegas recently. The Paris-based Nayva company launched the first driverless shuttles on U.S. public streets here following the CES 2017 conference. Audi is also test driving its new Vehicle-To-Infrastructure (V2I) technology using Las Vegas’ Internet of Things (IoT) network, where the cars talk to the street lights to improve traffic flow and communicate wait times to drivers.

The City of Las Vegas is repositioning the downtown core as the Las Vegas Innovation District to entice more advanced industries to invest in the region. Right next to that, the new Las Vegas Medical District is luring more medical conventions with the new UNLV School of Medicine opening there this year.

This Friday, Millennial Esports is opening the new Esport Studio & Arena at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, which the city is hoping will attract a fresh generation of young gamblers and e-sports conferences to the city. The new venue should also help propel the growth of the e-sports sector in Southern Nevada, just like the new Henderson Unmanned Vehicle Range (HUVR) is developing the local drone manufacturing and mobility sector. Read the full Esport Studio story here.

Innovation is driving long-term economic development in destinations everywhere, and the meetings industry is a global innovation distribution channel bringing smart people and smart cities together. We’ll have lots more on that topic throughout 2017.

— Greg Oates, contributing meetings editor

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Social Quote of the Day

“On the @e180 Mag: I look at @garychou and @xuhulk‘s Entrepreneurial Design courses at @svaixd & @orbitalnyc

— @inevernu on Twitter

TOurism & Hospitality

Las Vegas Hopes New E-Sports Arena Will Appeal to Millennial Travelers: The 15,000-square-foot e-sports venue will host competitive video game tournaments. It’s part of a trend that the casino industry hopes will attract millennials who aren’t necessarily interested in traditional gambling. Read more at Skift

Airbnb Wants To Attract More Business Travelers: Airbnb is looking at potentially partnering with Sabre Travel Network, which provides online booking services for travel management companies. Presently, the room-sharing platform is only attracting a small percentage of business travelers, so there’s a lot of white space here to chew on. Read more at Business Insider

Innovation Events

SXSW 2017 Showcases The Rise of the Global Convergence Economy: A ton of developed and emerging cities, ranging from Lisbon and Tokyo to Havana and Karachi, are coming to Austin this month to show how they’re driving innovation around their startup communities linking stakeholders throughout their regions. Read more from SXSW director Hugh Forrest

Technology and Innovation Conferences That Will Inspire Your Team in 2017: John Hall, CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co., delivers his picks for the best innovation and technology conferences in 2017. Read more at Inc

‘NBA on TNT’ Takes a Creative Programmatic Approach to Reaching Millions of Fans: At Turner Sports, SVP Valerie Immele is exploring new ways to reach millions of fans with real-time marketing and content, including programmatic video advertising. Read more at Google

What to Watch Out for at Mobile World Congress 2017: Three global marketers explain what excites them about the Mobile World Congress user experience and the rise of inclusive, customer-centric spaces in next-generation events. Read more at FreemanXP


2017 Meeting and Event Trends: Simple Steps to ‘Amp-Up’ Your Next Meeting or Event: A fresh look here at modern event design themes focusing on co-creation, convergence, diversity, experiential participation, event tech, and business outcomes. Pay special attention to the section explaining Skift’s exploration of the rise of sector convergence and the festivalization of meetings. Download at Creative Group

The CMO in a State of Perpetual Evolution: Deloitte’s recent CMO Academy conference was themed around “The Evolving Role of the CMO,” where chief marketers are required to delve into loads of scientific data to inform the poetry of brand storytelling. Bringing that to life, Deloitte created an immersive, data-driven creative experience to set the stage. Read more at AdWeek

Interview with ‘Experience Economy’ Co-Author Joseph Pine on Experiential Meeting and Event Trends: Pine says one of the things he didn’t emphasize when writing The Experience Economy was how important experiences are in business, and how they apply just as much in a B2B context as B2C. He says, “New economic value and new innovation comes increasingly from experiences.” Read more at Creative Group

7 Things Seth Godin Can Teach You About Event Planning: Godin trumpets: “It turns out that tribes — not money, not factories — can change our world, can change politics, can align large numbers of people. Not because you force them to do something against their will, but because they want to connect. Do you know what people want more than anything? They want to be missed.” Read more at Event Manager Blog

South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2017: See Inside the New Events and Returning Favorites: More than 60,000 people showed up this year to a city that was a total foodie desert not too long ago. Festival director Lee Brian Schrager said organizers this year introduced several new events based on patrons’ feedback and a drive to attract more millennials. Read more at BizBash


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

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Photo credit: More conventions are introducing e-sports gaming into their programming to engage millennials. Maxime Fort / Flickr

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