The Future of Meetings & Events

More than 450 founders and executive leaders in the tourism industry from 36 countries registered for our first annual Skift Forum Europe this week in London.

Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, kicked off the proceedings by emphasizing the outsized role that Europe has in today’s shifting travel ecosystem and global political landscape.

“Europe is in many ways the center of travel, and what happens with Brexit and anything associated with that, the movement of humans will become the biggest part of it,” he said. “We think there’s a wholesale change that’s needed in how travel is marketed. The travel industry needs to embrace the geopolitical realities of the world, and we think the travel industry in Europe is poised to do it in the best way.”

Visit Jordan tourism minister, Her Excellency Lina Annab, also addressed the audience with a message that international conferences like Skift Forum Europe are a conduit for collective cross-cultural openness, understanding, inclusivity, and innovation.

“I’ve already broken stereotypes — here I am as a woman, and as a government minister from a Muslim country,” she said. “Negative stereotypes have twisted our perceptions. We hope with this — Jordan is here today — to specifically send out a message of love and compassion. Travel is the catalyst that changes this world to a better and safer place. That travel is the tool that breaks our vicious misconceptions.”

— Greg Oates, meetings & events editor

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Social Quote of the Week

“Travel is the tool that helps us break vicious misperceptions; freeing us to experience the essence of humanity” — HE @LinaAnnab at #SkiftForum

@VisitJordan on Twitter

Skift Forum Europe

Early Coverage of the First Annual Skift Forum Europe: Here’s the initial roundup of stories coming out of our inaugural Skift Forum Europe in London this week. Some of the travel industry disruptors we spoke with include leaders from InterContinental Hotels Group, Kayak, Google, Expedia, TUI, Mr & Mrs Smith, Design Hotels, and more. Read more at Skift

Global Meetings Industry Day

Meetings Mean Business Kicks Off Worldwide Meetings Industry Advocacy Day: Today is Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), when event buyers and suppliers worldwide advocate for the value of face-to-face meetings as the best platform to drive business and economic development, and distribute innovation most effectively. To explore the day’s events, follow #GMID17 on Twitter and Facebook. Read more at Meetings Mean Business

NEXT GENERATION EVENT UX

Meetings Industry Is Getting Savvier About Setting Prices: For several years, the meetings industry has been focused on the rise of event technology. Yet somehow revenue management software has been overlooked. Finally, sales teams for meetings and events are starting to use software to forecast demand and extract the most money possible. Read more at Skift

Increasing Personalization in Events through Artificial Intelligence: In almost every list discussing future trends in the events industry, artificial intelligence is included. Along with developments in virtual and augmented reality, AI is breaking ground in its capacity to serve human needs, and also its potential for transforming customer service. Read more at Event Grid

Virgin Takes Cues from Coachella, SXSW, and TED to Create New Sports Festivals: Q&A here with Erin Sprague, Virgin Sport’s head of marketing and experience, speaking about the purpose and design of four new Virgin events in 2017. Read more at BizBash

How Live Events And Sponsorships Are Elevating The Booming Esports Industry: Contrary to popular perception, gamers are hungry for live interaction. They always have been. According to esports research house Newzoo, esports revenues totaled $493 million in 2016 and are projected to rise 37 percent to $1.1 billion by 2019. Read more at Event Marketer

Laws of Audience Attraction Series: Digital Marketing 101: The stakes are getting higher for marketers seeking to build attendance at meetings and events with the rise of budgets for digital and experiential marketing. Unpaid social posts and generic email blasts designed to drive audience engagement and conversion don’t work. According to AdRoll, generally two percent of shoppers will convert on a first visit to an online portal. Retargeting brings back the other 98 percent. Read more at FreemanXP

Destination Disruptors

Meetings and Conventions Drive 42% of Nashville Visitor Economy: Almost half of inbound traffic into Nashville is driven by the meetings industry, illustrating the huge impact of conventions on economic development in second-tier cities. Read more at The Tennessean

Tech Nation 2017: At the Forefront of Global Digital Innovation: Tech City UK produced a new online report highlighting the growth of London’s tech sector. Prime Minister Theresa May writes: “Today more than 1.5 million people are already working within the digital sector, or in digital tech roles across other sectors, while the number of digital tech jobs across the UK has grown at more than twice the rate of non-digital tech sectors.” Read more at Tech City UK

How Austria’s Innovative ‘Fifteen Seconds Festival’ Challenges the Status Quo: Festival founder Thiemo Gillissen says: “Fifteen Seconds is something we came up with in reference to the importance of the first 15 seconds in whatever situation you are in — a meeting, a date, a phone call, an advertisement.” Read more at Convene

Business Events Sydney Showcases Role of Advanced Industry Sectors During Global Meetings Industry Day: Check out these two videos with leaders in Sydney’s innovation economy discussing the synergy between academic leadership and global conferences. Read more at Business Events Sydney

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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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Photo Credit: Skift Founder and CEO Rafat Ali at Skift Forum Europe 2017, our first such event in Europe. Skift