As a kombucha-swigging, esports-loving millennial, I’m of two minds on the role of technology during events. Part of me wants to unplug and immerse myself in what’s going on, while another deeply craves the freedom to stare at my phone whenever I want.

This week we asked some event professionals about the challenge of using technology to enhance an experience without distracting from it.

We also have the latest on technology trends and meeting design from across the sector.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at as@skift.com or tweet me @sheivach. I’ll be at C2 Montreal for the rest of the week — if you’re around, let me know.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

The Future of EvenTs and Meetings

Planners Conflicted Over Mobile Technology as Tool or Distraction: The growth of mobile meeting apps presents planners with a dilemma filled with irony. Are the apps — aimed at facilitating and enhancing the meeting experience — actually diminishing the kind of face-to-face interactions that are the very purpose of on-site events?

Marriott Integrates Facebook Messenger Into Its Tours and Activities Offering: Everyone wants to get in on the tours and activities market, but very few can or have succeeded in the space.

Global Brands Are Betting on Experiences: Some of the world’s biggest media conglomerates are using events to extend the reach of their brands in a way that is actually profitable.

How to Grapple With Voice Commands: Here’s an in-depth look at how companies and innovators are working to develop voice-powered solutions for customers.

Around the Industry

Miami Wants Giant Mall Complex to Help It Grab Tourists From Orlando: The idea that this mall — indoor ski slopes, water park, and all — could make Miami competitive with Orlando on the theme park front is ludicrous. Miami has cultural riches, natural treasures, and plenty of places to shop and eat. It doesn’t need more traffic jams, which this project will inevitably bring.

The Rationale Behind Commission Cuts: With InterContinental Hotels Group recently jumping on the commission cut bandwagon, here’s another look at the disruption hitting the meetings sector.

How to Invest in Design Thinking: This rundown of takeaways from the latest Experiential Marketing Summit shows how planners are grappling with the challenges posed by more powerful technologies.

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Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [as@skift.com] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Photo Credit: Two attendees take a selfie at the Web Summit. Planners are still figuring out how much technology is too much. Web Summit / Flickr