Life is getting harder for meeting planners in North America as clients become more demanding and venues become less responsive.

This week we asked a few planners about how their year has gone so far and their outlook for business in 2020. They are not optimistic.

We’ve also got a look at what hotels are pledging to do to reduce the amount of plastic they discard and the latest on Marriott’s financial prospects, which took a hit last quarter.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at as@skift.com or tweet @sheivach. Also, if you’re going to be at IMEX Frankfurt next week and want to meet up, let me know.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor

The Future of Events and Meetings

Meeting Planners Anticipate Rough Year in 2020: Tight budgets, competition, needy clients, last-minute requests, and unresponsive venues rise to the top of the list of challenges planners need to tackle in 2019. They anticipate tougher times next year.

What Happens When Hotels Pledge to Reduce Plastics? It’s one thing for a hotel to join a coalition and promise to reduce its plastic footprint, and another to make measurable progress.

Marriott CEO on Cancer Diagnosis: ‘We Are Going to Soldier On’: Arne Sorenson thanked all his well-wishers Friday but then got right to business. Marriott had a so-so quarter but held out great promise for its expanded homesharing business. But you’ll have to wait until 2020 to see any results.

Around the Industry

International Inbound U.S. Travel Growth Stuck in Slump: Beyond a slump for travel, it appears that experts expect a global economic cooldown to happen in coming years. People will always need to travel, but stagnant growth will present a problem for the industry in North America.

Choice Hotels Looks to High-End Travelers to Boost Revenue: Choice knows where the money is, and right now it’s not in midscale brands. Will upgrading Comfort Inn be enough to lift room rates?

Beverage Brands Get In on Growing ‘Sober Curious’ Movement: If a bar doesn’t serve alcohol, is it really a bar? If a beer doesn’t get you buzzed, is it really a beer? As alcohol purveyors and entrepreneurs seek to cash in on the trend of healthy beverages, twists on nonalcoholic adult drinks are popping up everywhere.

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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: PyGrunn is the "Python and friends" developer conference with a local footprint and global mindset hosted in Groningen. Mark Vletter / Flickr