Skift Take

After a failed initial public offering, PSAV is now in the hands of Blackstone. Time will tell if the move ends up increasing costs for event professionals as PSAV inevitably looks to expand its scale in the marketplace. The competition between hotels selling their own offerings and companies like PSAV will be fascinating to watch.

Better technology has transformed the event experience, but everything comes with a cost.

Skift Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill examined the strange case of event technology leader PSAV being scooped up by private equity giant Blackstone. The move hints at even more consolidation in the sector, and Blackstone is making a big bet that outsourcing event audiovisual production is a business that will continue to scale globally. PSAV has been gobbling up competitors regularly, and now it will have a big war chest to continue doing so.

Hotels in North America are enjoying strong demand and pricing power, and are eager to force events to pay for their in-house technology services instead of outsourced options like PSAV. PSAV’s strongest growth, though, has been in North America. This will be an interesting battle to watch going forward.

We also have a look at how Singapore wants to capitalize on the popularity of “Crazy Rich Asians,” which is resonating with global moviegoers. Right now, 35 percent of travel to Singapore is for business while the destination is gaining a reputation as perhaps Asia’s foremost conference destination. As tourism and business travel grows to the small island nation, it has the infrastructure to take advantage.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out to me via email at [email protected] or tweet me @sheivach.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

The Future of Events and Meetings


Blackstone’s Acquisition of Audiovisual Firm Shines a Spotlight on Event Production: Roll up, roll up, roll up! No, that’s not a lyric from a song by either The Struts or Fitz and the Tantrums. That’s instead the call of Blackstone, which bought events tech provider PSAV with a likely plan of creating more roll-up mergers with similar vendors.

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is Potential Bonanza For Singapore: Many destinations or small towns aren’t prepared for waves of tourism after a box office hit makes travelers want to visit, but not Singapore. The island nation has been expanding its airport, hotels, stopover program, and luxury offerings for years as it waited for its turn in the spotlight with U.S. travelers.

Torrid Growth Projected for Business Travel Despite Tariffs and Trade Wars: It looks like 2018 could be the year that business travel growth truly peaks. With the specter of trade wars, Brexit, and financial instability on the horizon, the sector’s financial outlook may change in a hurry.

Around the Industry

7 Issues Confronting the American Society of Travel Agents: In its rebrand to the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA wanted to keep the acronym as is. But is “Society” really a gateway to the future? The success or failure of the move may hinge on the effectiveness of the organization’s new marketing campaign. We can’t wait to give it a look.

Marriott and Starwood Face Speed Bumps in Loyalty Merger: The planned integration of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards did not go entirely smoothly this weekend. Some members were not shy about expressing their unhappiness.

Denmark Is Heading Toward a Record Year for Tourism: Denmark ticks a lot of boxes for visitors, so it’s not a big surprise to see the industry booming. But the country should be careful what it wishes for, given the problems elsewhere in Europe with overtourism.


Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [[email protected]] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Tags: event technology, meetings, meetingsiq

Photo credit: Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, Reddit, on the Center Stage at Collision 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Diarmuid Greene / Collision

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