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Happy belated New Year.

We’ve got the latest on leadership changes at Aventri this week. Former CEO Oni Chukwu is moving to the company’s board of directors. As the event technology company aims to gain ground on its rivals, perhaps leadership from outside the sector will come in handy.

Also check out the latest on the backlash to destinations hosting events at plantations in the U.S. South and the unpredictable rise of Dubai as a hub for wellness events.

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.

Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Enterprise Editor

The Future of Events and Meetings

Aventri Goes Outside Event Tech for New CEO: New leadership comes to Aventri as it continues to battle rival Cvent in the event tech marketplace. Perhaps a view from outside the sector can pay dividends as the tech provider works to further refine its platform.

The Megatrends Defining Travel in 2020: From the new role of subscription travel to the importance of urban living innovations and the impact of Gen Z, these are among the megatrends in travel we’re watching in 2020.

Minor’s NH Swoops Up Portfolio Paving Way for More Anantara Hotels in Europe: Getting not one but eight fancy hotels in prime locations in Europe in one fell swoop is a rare deal, and Thailand’s Minor International is off to a good start in 2020 with this coup by its subsidiary NH Hotel Group.

Airbnb Goes Hollywood to Amp Up Party House Crackdown: Airbnb chose Tinseltown to audaciously begin cracking down on party houses. Good PR. Expect to see more adjustments in Airbnb policy as it moves forward with an emphasis on community safety and standards.

Plantation Backlash Forces Destinations in U.S. South to Rethink Marketing: Many destinations in the South lean heavily on plantations to attract events and tour groups, but the tide is slowly turning. Many people would now rather pursue truth and reconciliation instead of romanticizing the places where slavery took place.

Around the Industry

Dubai’s Demand for Niche Spiritual Retreats on the Rise: Spiritual retreats have become all the rage in Dubai as the wellness travel industry continues to grow, particularly across developing markets. Tailored experiences may be the key to the growth of this niche market, as more mindful travelers are now seeking exclusivity and holistic healing methods.

Will Marriott and British Airways Ever Pay Those Huge Proposed Data Breach Fines? Those headline fines were pretty jaw-dropping, but it seems more than likely that they will be massively reduced whenever they are finally rubber-stamped.

2020 Greets Biz Travel Managers With Cheap Airfares: Expensive flights will remain an issue for travel managers going forward. Deals can be had, however, especially in the regions most important to global commerce.

The Best Of EventMB

The Best of EventMB is our newest section, giving you a look into key 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.

Third-Party Planner Commission Cuts: Where Are We Now? Many big hotel chains made headlines in 2018 when they decided to suddenly cut their group commission rates, affecting both event planners and their clients.

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Senior Enterprise Editor Andrew Sheivachman [as@skift.com] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Photo Credit: WebSummit Lisbon 2019. Shown here is Pavilion 1 on day four at the Samsung booth. Technology is becoming more intergral to events. Web Summit / Flickr