Nearly a year after launching a dated widget, Airbnb is acquiring its way into the meetings sector by purchasing Gaest, a platform for booking meeting space based in Europe.

The move is right out of Airbnb’s traditional playbook: Book other people’s space with a clean interface, while giving hosts strong tools to better monetize and market their venues. And hey, one day you’ll likely be able to book places to stay and activities on an integrated platform as well.

Check out the news below. (I’ll have some thoughts on the deeper meetings distribution challenge Airbnb isn’t tackling in a story later this week.)

We’ve also got a fresh set of data from Cvent, showing a potential slowdown in future event bookings. It could be macroeconomic issues, budget problems, or hesitation following commission cuts.

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

— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor

The Future of Events and Meetings

Gaest acquired by airbnb meetings

Airbnb Buys Gaest to Push Further Into Meetings: Airbnb’s move to offer more meetings spaces represents an example of one of Skift’s 2019 Megatrends, as many giant online booking companies are looking for their next phases of growth by expanding into new areas.

Hotel Direct Booking Efforts Create Lasting Loyalty: Two years in, it appears that consumers didn’t just sign up for the loyalty programs to get a discount. Or even if they did, they’ve also come to realize the additional benefits of booking direct.

Cvent Data Show Potential Group Booking Slowdown: Advance bookings on the Cvent platform seem to be lagging, which could indicate either a downturn in event bookings or simply the fact that event organizers are booking closer to the time of the actual event.

Around the Industry

Progress Finally Being Made on a Single African Passport: Will 2019 be the year that the African Union passport is made freely available to the continent’s 1.2 billion citizens? Probably not, but technocrats at the 55-nation union say progress is being made.

Premium Mediocre Goes Mainstream: Despite what the name might suggest, premium mediocre isn’t necessarily something bad. It’s just that after a while consumers are going to cotton on to the fact that simply adding avocado to every meal doesn’t always make it more luxurious.

The Existential Climate Change Fears Hit Major Hotels and Airlines: The details included in these reports are chilling, with many corporations citing severe weather events as certain to occur.

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

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Photo Credit: Attendees in the crowd at a TED event. TED Conference / Flickr