The Future of Meetings & Events

The meetings and events industry is enamored with innovative, experiential conference design that helps attendees aspire toward changing the world, versus zoning out in sterile hotel ballrooms and convention center breakouts without any windows or fresh air.

C2 Montreal has evolved as a benchmark for what’s possible in conference design when event organizers are provided the budget to let their imaginations soar. Having Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil as a founding partner also certainly helps deliver awe-inspiring event experiences.

However, the Canadian government didn’t pony up $750,000 to support C2 last month so people could network in circus-like trapeze chairs. They did so because C2 is Montreal’s global invitation for outside companies and talent to scope out the city’s convergence of social, tech, academic, cultural, urban, and industrial innovation.

The event is basically a postcard to promote international business development with Montreal’s startup and research communities.

I talk a lot about convergence in the meetings industry, but sometimes it feels a little overly aspirational. C2 Montreal gives us something tangible to help us envision tomorrow, today, because the city’s government, academic, and business leaders are aspiring together to change how the world drives innovation and connects people during conferences, and why.

— Greg Oates

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Destination Innovation

C2 Conference Is Basically a Billboard For Montreal’s ‘Smart Living Laboratory:’ When is a conference more than a conference? When the event organizers, regional government, and local academic and business communities rally together to produce a creative spectacle designed to entice outside companies and talent to invest in the city. Montreal’s C2 conference is getting tons of buzz for its colorful delivery, but there’s a lot more happening behind the surface. Read more at Skift

City of Las Vegas Launches Innovate.Vegas Platform: The new Las Vegas Innovation District and Las Vegas Medical District in the downtown core are evolving as compelling platforms for next-generation tech and medical meetings. The City of Las Vegas just launched a new website to chronicle how the urban developments are spearheading the city’s future beyond the Strip. Read more at City of Las Vegas

Austin Mayor Steve Adler Thinks Idea to Remove SXSW From Austin Due to Texas Hate Law is Ridiculous: U.S. Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Catherine Cortez Masto have suggested that the popular South by Southwest conference in Austin should bolt from Texas due to the state’s “Show Me Your Papers” racial profiling law. Austin Mayor Adler (also a Democrat) thinks the idea “is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Read more at Mayor Adler

The Impact of EXPO2017 on Kazakhstan’s Tourism Industry: One million foreign visitors are expected to fly in to Kazakhstan for EXPO2017. Here’s a brief podcast about the event’s impact on the destination’s visitor economy. Read more at Euromonitor

Anime, Cosplay Convention Coming to Downtown Fort Worth: The 25,000 attendees showing up for A-Kon this year will be getting their nerd on in Fort Worth for the first time, following the event’s move from Dallas, which has hosted the show since 1989. Read more at Fort Worth Magazine

Next Generation Meetings UX

How Apple’s New Augmented Reality Platform Could Help Elevate Brand Experiences: ARKit, a new developer framework in iOS 11, will allow hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads around the world to be AR-capable. Freeman suggests, “Augmented reality is on the cusp of truly taking off in our industry, opening new doors to new kinds of interactions and experiences in the event space.” Read more at FreemanXP

How Associations Are Engaging Virtual Attendees Better: Groups that host hybrid conferences don’t want their virtual attendees to feel left out. That’s why many are turning to staff, volunteers, and other experts to make sure the virtual audience feels just as connected as those onsite. Read more at Associations Now

PanelPicker Opens on June 26 For the 2018 SXSW Conference: Every year, SXSW launches its PanelPicker platform to crowdsource programming content from around the globe, and every year no one else tries to copy it on any significant level. That is perhaps the biggest mystery in the meetings and events industry today. Read more at SXSW

A Flâneur on the Future: Event Tech Lab Is Nurturing Your Next Go-To App: James Morgan, senior lecturer at University of Westminster, and founder of Event Tech Lab, discusses how he’s creating a virtual community to improve the communication and marketing efforts of tech startups in the events industry. Read more at MeetingsNet

American Express Meetings & Events and Humber College Explore the Future of Meeting Planner Education: Attracting innovative talent to the meetings and events industry is a huge issue today due to the diverse skill sets needed. Therefore, U.S. universities and the industry need to collaborate and elevate their exposure better to attract more students into the sector. Read more at Corporate Meetings Network

Oracle OpenWorld Attempts to Reimagine Event ROI With ‘The Exchange’ Exhibit Hall: Not much to go on here but Oracle produced a new teaser video hinting about a new exhibit hall experience designed to improve knowledge sharing and retention. According to Oracle data, we retain 90 percent of what we do and 10 percent of what we read; 50-80 percent of information is forgotten after 48 hours; and 68 percent of workers feel overwhelmed with content. Read more at Oracle

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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: An attendee at the outdoor, riverfront community space at C2 Montreal, which has evolved as a benchmark for what's possible in conference design. C2 Montreal