As destinations compete for the attention and dollars of meeting planners, some have turned to technology gimmicks or splashy marketing campaigns to differentiate themselves.

Many, though, are more focused on building relationships and partnerships to appeal to the planners they need. Check out our story below on how North American cities big and small are dealing with shifts in the sector.

We’ve also got the latest on how wellness has become a South by Southwest staple and Marriott’s ambitious growth plan, which seems even more ambitious than usual considering it has fallen short of its expansion goals lately.

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

Destinations Still Rely on Relationships to Attract Events: Some convention and visitor bureaus have turned to technology gimmicks and other new methods to highlight their destination’s finest attributes, but personal relationships and experience remain vital. Relationships really do matter.

The Rise of Wellness at South by Southwest: The dramatic uptick in companies that want a space at South by Southwest’s Wellness Expo reflects the rise of the industry and shows how brands are increasingly trying to reach this wellness-minded audience.

How Marriott Plans to Supercharge Growth Starting With 1,700 New Hotels in 3 Years: Marriott says you really can have it all when it comes to a hotel company — both scale and quality. But can you really do that without sacrificing one for the other? Guess we’ll find out over the next three years.

Around the Industry

What a Breakup of Big Tech Could Mean for Travel: Going down the rabbit hole and considering the effect of a big tech crackdown in travel, Google and global distribution systems have perhaps the most to lose. It’s likely, though, that few, if any, of Elizabeth Warren’s proposed restrictions will ever become U.S. law.

Mexico’s Mystifying Tourism Move Leaves Competitors Ready to Pounce: Mexico’s new government has priorities for tourism, but that doesn’t include a tourist board. Will other destinations seize the opportunity?

Ireland’s Tourism Success Is Under Threat by Brexit: Whatever happens over the next few weeks, months, and years, Brexit has brought back some unpleasant memories and risks damaging the very united tourism that the north and the south in Ireland have worked so hard to build.

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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 at The Conference 2013 in Sweden. Personal relationships between destinations and planners are key. Media Evolution / Flickr