The Future of Meetings & Events

Eventually, we will all communicate with brands through chatbots powered by artificial intelligence that understand our whims and wants better than we do. That’s not some dystopian vision where we lose free will. It’s more about improving how we connect to information aligned with our interests using virtual assistants.

The rise of chatbots is disrupting meeting and event design in 2017. SXSW, IMEX, BizBash and others rolled out Artificial Intelligence-powered bots this year to increase engagement both pre-event and around the clock.

“We really focus on trying to give people a human experience, so we talk a lot about conversation design,” says Kristi Colleran, co-founder of Sciensio, which produced the new chat platforms for IMEX and BizBash. “We want you to feel like you’re talking to a human but know you’re talking to a bot.” Read the full story here.

— Greg Oates

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Social Quote of the Week

#InspirationHub: The 3 Stages of Designing an Event Experience Attendees Love buff.ly/2vI6bOK  (Source: @eventbrite)”

@IMEX_Group on Twitter

Next Generation Meetings UX

Behind the Rise of Chatbots in Meetings and Events: Chatbots offer the first glimpse into a future where meeting and event planners can deliver mass personalization at scale using artificial intelligence. The co-founders of Sciensio explain. Read more at Skift

Tech Adoption for Event Organizers Is Spotty: While event planners are using technology in some aspects of the event lifecycle, they haven’t embraced these tools across the board. For example, only 20 percent of respondents said they used a venue sourcing tool and just seven percent use a Strategic Meeting Management program. Read more at Skift

Deconstructing the Executive ‘Dating’ Algorithm for C2 Melbourne: Martin Enault, COO of C2, asks: “The best way to network and meet someone is to connect on common ground, and connect as humans and not as executives. So what if we took a dating approach to matching executives, and find better ways to connect two executives together rather than looking at their title and their industry?” Read more at The Age

Influencer Marketing in the Meetings & Events Industry: As the meetings industry begins to experiment with using influencers to drive engagement, there needs to be a greater understanding of how brands target influence at specific segments. The industry also needs to establish better metrics, and pony up the fees that real influencers deserve. Read more at Padraicino

How IBM Watson Attempts to Improve Event Marketing Materials: IBM Watson collaborated with the U.S. Open to collect the best moments of play across the full slate of tennis matches. Using a feature called Cognitive Highlights, Watson analyzes statistics, sounds from the audience, and the facial expressions of players as they react to shots. That data then rank the shots to narrow down the moments that will resonate most with viewers. Read more at PCMA

The Why of Burning Man

How Burning Man Became a Destination For the International Style Set: Best line ever about the future of event design and audience engagement: “At Burning Man, the audience is the show, the boundaries between stage and public overlap and melt.” Read more at British Vogue

The Data Behind the Gentrification of Burning Man: While median and high-income Burners increased their presence at Burning Man, low-earning Burners decreased in their ranks. In 2006, 14 percent of surveyed Burners listed their 2005 personal income as $100,000 or more. By 2016, that had risen to 27.4 percent. The number of attendees who listed their income as below $25,000 went from 27.5 percent in 2013 to 21.9 percent in 2016. Read more at Salon

See an Installation at Burning Man With 138,000 LED Lights: The interactive Tree of Ténéré art installation from Symmetry Labs was programmed to react to the movements, voices, and biorhythms of artists and festival-goers in the heat and dust of Nevada’s Black Rock desert. Read more at BizBash

Skift Global Forum 2017

This Is Not a Freakin’ Trade Conference: Year Four: Skift has lined up one of the biggest gatherings of CEOs and founders in the travel industry, ever. Check it out, and join us September 26-27 if you can. Read more at Skift

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

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Photo Credit: C2 Melbourne 2017 is stealing dating tips to improve attendee matchmaking. C2 Melbourne