Each of the event industry’s many different sectors are represented by our exhibitors and visitors. This gives us a unique perspective on the industry, as we often hear the biggest stories and learn about the latest trends, straight from the ‘horses mouth.’ Here we cut through the noise to bring the hottest topics to you.
Can hospitality live up to the hype?
After a downturn during the recession, where hospitality in general was considered a little too extravagant, we’re seeing demand for hospitality – especially sports-based – recover. Russia 2018 – the FIFA World Cup brought the focus of sports hospitality back to the fore, with some paying up to $4,600 per person for semi-final hospitality packages right up to the last few days before the games. Sporting corporate hospitality is big business, but could you make a return on that?
No matter how enticing, organisations host events because they want to see a financial return and corporate hospitality is no exception. So, how do you quantify it?
This will depend your objectives. For example, if you’re looking to achieve increased market share or expediate profit growth, these are measured differently. A new trend is to apply a simple strategy and formula, be specific about who you invite, and what you expect to gain from hosting them and then use a spend/gain formula – e.g. for every Euro spent on hospitality, we want five back.
Exhibitions make a difference
Farnborough International Airshow, one of the largest air shows in the world, largely due to its major aviation trade exhibition is attracting investment and has put Farnborough on the international business events map and will have a real impact on Hampshire.
“There is no doubt that the media profile of the Farnborough Air Show significantly highlights the town of Farnborough and the County of Hampshire and also brings with it a lot of business interest in the facilities at Farnborough International Event and Conference Centre in the build-up, during and after the show,” Explains Shirley Pinn, Events Director at Hampshire Conference Bureau. “Due to the air show, aerospace and defence are without doubt a first-tier target sector for the region. The next step is to capitalise on this opportunity and further develop Farnborough and the county of Hampshire as business event and incentive destinations, further aligning with Farnborough Airshow and the other industry sectors it attracts, such as digital technology.”
Will avatars attend meetings on our behalf?
New artificial intelligence options are being developed for meetings that could mean you no longer need to attend in person. Silicon Valley-developed AI – Eva – takes notes, identifies the meeting’s actionable items and actually makes simple decisions, supposedly freeing the humans in the meeting to spend more time thinking about strategy and vision. Others are developing AI that can attend a meeting instead of you to ensure you don’t miss anything – handy if you’re running late or have a last-minute issue that prevents you from attending the meeting yourself. It’s even feasible that AI could soon be used to recognise when all the meeting’s salient points have been made – or when one person is dominating – and end the meeting to stop attendees becoming bored and frustrated.
Your hotel room wants to talk to you
With the onset of voice controlled smart devices, such as Google’s Alexa and Amazon Echo, it was always only a matter of time before someone used similar technology in a hotel room. As far as we can tell, first to give this a try is InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. Via a collaboration with Chinese artificial intelligence specialist Baidu, IHG has fitted two hotels in China with AI Smart Rooms. The technology in the rooms enables guests talk to their hotel room. It’s not just idle chit chat, guests can to their rooms for plenty of reasons, such as to play music, to switch the room’s ambience from ‘work’ to ‘leisure’ mode, and to order room service.
These AI Smart Rooms have been initially made available at the InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun and InterContinental Guangzhou Exhibition Centre however, if successful, you can be confident they will spread quickly to just about every hotel bed room, meeting room and other hotel and venue spaces on the planet.
Development, innovation and the opportunity to have amazing experiences in fascinating places continues to keep the sector fresh and energised, as has always been the way. The true test for these new and resurgent opportunities is value – if they create more successful event outcomes in the long term they will become mainstream, fail at that and their light in this world will quickly flicker out.
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