Skift Take

When it comes to meeting spaces, ambience is becoming almost as important as functionality. As event organizers move away from generic conference rooms, boutique event companies like Etc. Venues and Convene are starting to expand.

The boutique hotel trend has started to reach the events industry over the past couple years. It’s no stretch to assume that planners and attendees alike are sick of huge, fluorescent-lit conference centers and generic board rooms. More event professionals are looking for modern, offbeat places to impress their guests, as well as food that’s fresh and local.

This has provided a space for boutique venue providers to grow. Companies like London-based Etc. Venues and New York-based Convene are carving out a niche for themselves, leasing unique meeting rooms, redesigning them, and providing high-end food and tech support for planners. The niche is starting to get crowded, though, as competition heats up globally.

Etc. Venues recently made its first step into the U.S. market, with three New York venues slated to open sometime next year. The company will be competing directly with Convene, and believes it can succeed by focusing exclusively on small and midsize meetings in select cities.

Nick Hoare, chief operating officer of Etc. Venues, talked to Skift about the differences between the events industry in Europe and the United States and how the company plans to grow beyond New York.

Check out this story, and many more, below.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at or tweet @ikcarey.

Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

The Future of Events and Meetings

Pitching Personalized Boutique Meeting Spaces Over Cavernous Convention Halls: As the boutique trend sweeps the events industry, a handful of venue providers are jostling for top spot. London’s Etc. Venues thinks its “laser focus” will allow it to stand out in the United States, but will it be able to compete with more established U.S. players like Convene?

Marriott’s Mission: Make W Hotels Cool Again: W Hotels were once the hottest hangouts in town but two decades after its creation, it has been overshadowed by its younger competitors. Marriott inherited the W Hotel brand when it bought Starwood in 2016. Now it’s up to Marriott to make the W brand shine again.

Is Singapore’s New Hotel Guest Authentication Just Creepy Surveillance? Self check-in by facial recognition at hotels is unlikely to be an industrywide reality anytime soon in Singapore — and that’s not exactly bad news.

Around the Industry

Check In, Check Out Anytime You’d Like at These Hotels: The latest perk hotels are offering guests: flexible check-in and checkout. Some charge a fee. But some are granting it for free. It’s an interesting play to attract more loyal customers who will book directly with the hotels and not with online travel agencies.

Airbnb Chief Operating Officer to Leave Her Post on the Cusp of Going Public in 2020: It’s all about its anticipated public offering at Airbnb these days. Shore up the plethora of safety issues, make peace with regulators, and bring in seasoned operational executives that the Wall Street crowd will look favorably upon. Was Belinda Johnson a casualty in that push?

Oyo’s Widening Losses and Other Financial Takeaways From Its Latest Filing: Oyo has disclosed a surge in losses in documents related to its $1.5 billion in new funding. The hospitality company claims it will turn profitable three years from now, yet Skift Research dug beneath the headlines to deliver analysis substantiated by its latest income statements.

The Best Of EventMB

The Best of EventMB is our newest section, giving you a look into the most important and interesting content from EventMB, whether it be reports, articles, or resources for planners. EventMB joined the Skift family in September and is the largest online media resource for trends, technology, innovation, and education in the events industry.

The Top 25 San Francisco Venues for Events in 2020: Discover the top 25 San Francisco venues for events in 2020. With this list, you can consider the best options for corporate events, private parties, music venues, and more.


Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Tags: boutique hotels, convene, meetings, meetingsiq

Photo credit: The lounge at Etc. Venues' Fenchurch Street property in London. Etc. Venues

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