Flexible meeting spaces are all the rage these days, even if they end up contributing to increased costs for meeting planners. Check out our story below on how planners and venues approach bringing an interesting new wrinkle to events.

We’ve also got the latest on how the future of automated hotels is being built in China and Disney’s move to ban smokers and strollers from its parks.

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.

Oh, and if you’re a corporate meetings person at the ACTE conference in Chicago next week, drop me a line. Let’s meet up for some deep dish.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor

The Future of Events and Meetings

Demand for Flexible Meeting Spaces Increases, But Who Can Pay for Them? Venues are enticing meeting planners with innovative and technology-driven flexible meeting spaces. Meeting planners have embraced these creative spaces but a major challenge remains: budget.

China’s Alibaba Is Shaping the Future of the Machine-Driven Hotel: Chinese e-commerce players are racing among themselves to provide technology solutions to hotels. Alibaba fires the latest salvo with a prototype of the future hotel, FlyZoo.

Disney Gets Tough on Strollers and Smokers to Prep for Star Wars Crowds: Disney is clearly awaiting a flood of visitors in the coming months, and high prices alone won’t keep crowds in check. Now in-park smoking areas and extra-large strollers have to go.

Around the Industry

Airbnb Will Invest Up to $200 Million in India’s Budget Hotel Chain Oyo: So it’s finally confirmed. Airbnb is investing up to $200 million in India’s budget hotel chain Oyo, a deal that India Oyo observers say has big upsides for both companies.

Airplane Crashes, Boeing and the Age of Permanxiety: While plane crashes are rare, travelers worry about them to an extreme extent. Boeing needs to be transparent about how it has failed the traveling public and reassure travelers this will never happen again.

Elton John Backs George Clooney’s Boycott of Brunei-Owned Hotels: It’s likely that many hotels have owners with offensive ideas. But situations like this are so clear cut it’s easy to get behind a boycott.

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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: Part of the flexible meeting spaces at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal. Andrew Sheivachman / Skift