A widespread tech upgrade is just what the industry needs, and it might be right around the corner.
Attending IMEX America in Las Vegas this past week would be enough to make anyone optimistic about the events industry. As always, the floor was packed with booths, where planners displayed, sometimes quite lavishly, their vision for their company’s future. There was no shortage of after-work parties, and Skift even announced that it was acquiring EventMB, the largest online media resource for trends, technology, innovation, and education in the industry.
Technology was a big reason for the pervasive optimism at the conference. In recent years, the sector has gained the ability to more accurately track attendee engagement, although only very few companies have started to use it. Now, event software companies and planners alike are sure the sector is on the brink of widespread change, as more and more companies begin to incorporate this technology.
Brexit, as well as trade tensions between the U.S. and China, were the only stumbling blocks attendees at the conference anticipated. Skift was on the ground at IMEX America to learn about the most important trends in the meetings and events industry for the upcoming year.
Check out this story, and many more, below.
— Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter
The Future of Events and Meetings
Events Sector Feels Poised for Tech Explosion: The future looks good for meetings and events. That was the vibe coming out of IMEX America in Las Vegas last week, even as some planners worry about trade tensions and a looming economic downturn.
Marriott and Expedia Exclusive Agreement Will Retake Control of Wholesale Rates: In an I-just-saw-an-elephant-fly moment, Marriott International will be directing businesses to Expedia Group to access certain Marriott wholesale rates. Bedbanks, tour operators, and smaller online travel agencies that play games with room rates are put on notice.
Amoma.com Troubles May Delight Hoteliers That Hate Its Rate Discounting: Hoteliers probably disliked Amoma.com more than any other online travel agency in the past few years. Amoma often undercut hoteliers on price. Now its reported troubles may have repercussions across the hotel and online travel industry for companies like Hotelbeds, Google, and Booking.com.
Beekeeper Raises $45 Million for Online Chat for Non-Desk Hotel Workers: To understand the startup Beekeeper, think of workplace communications tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. The service helps hourly workers without desktop computers, such as housekeepers, stay up-to-date. The fresh funding underscores a recent boom in hotel tech investment.
Around the Industry
Wholesaler Hotelbeds Cuts Ties to Booking Sites That Break Hotel Distribution Rules: The collapse last week of Amoma suggests that an industrywide crackdown on online travel agencies that violate hotel contracts is getting serious. For example, many hoteliers have wanted Hotelbeds to crack down on bad behavior by some agencies. The distributor of wholesale rates has responded by taking action.
Skift Global Forum Preview: Vacasa Dominates Vacation Rentals With Acquisitions and Digital Tech: The hospitality industry is still working to figure out the vacation home rental market. Vacasa, the market leader in the space with respect to total managed properties, may just have a leg up on the competition.
Embracing the Role of Romance in Luxury Marketing: Romantic love and a night at the opera might seem the stuff of chick flicks and cheap paperbacks sporting Fabio’s bare chest. But one expert says luxury marketers should pay heed to both subjects if they want to build deep and lasting relationships with their clients.
Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.
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Photo Credit: Event attendees meet at company booths. IMEX America 2019, Sands Expo, Las Vegas. Travel management companies are overdue for tech disruption. Isaac Carey / Skift
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