August 8, 2018: Airbnb Rises in Popularity for Business Travelers, Tokyo to Use Facial Recognition for Security at 2020 Olympics, What a Post-#MeToo Miss America Might Look Like

By Ian Zelaya August 8, 2018, 9:30 AM EDT

1. AIRBNB RISES IN POPULARITY FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS: Airbnb’s business travel feature Airbnb for Work, which the home-sharing company launched in 2014, now accounts for 15 percent of bookings. The company recently announced that close to 700,000 companies have signed up for and booked the feature. TechCrunch: “Interestingly, the breakdown of companies working with Airbnb for traveler lodging are pretty diverse—employees from large enterprise companies (5,000+ employees) and employees from startups and SMBs (one to 250 employees) take a 40-40 split, with the final 20 percent of Airbnb for Work bookings going to mid-sized companies. In July of 2017, Airbnb started making its listings available via SAP Concur, a tool used by a large number of business travelers. Airbnb says that this integration has been a huge help to growing Airbnb for Work, with Concur seeing a 42 percent increase in employees expensing Airbnb stays from 2016 to 2017. Moreover, 63 percent of Concur’s Fortune 500 clients have booked a business trip on Airbnb. One interesting trend that Airbnb has noticed is that nearly 60 percent of Airbnb for Work trips had more than one guest. ‘We can offer big open areas for collaborations, while still giving employees their own private space,’ said David Holyoke, global head of business travel at Airbnb. ‘We think this offers a more meaningful business trip and it saves the company a lot of money.’ Given the tremendous growth of the business segment, as well as the opportunity it represents, Airbnb is working on new features for business travelers. In fact, in the next week, Airbnb will be launching a new feature that lets employees search for Airbnb listings on a company-specific landing page.”

2. TOKYO TO USE FACIAL RECOGNITION FOR SECURITY AT 2020 OLYMPICS: The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be the first to use facial recognition to increase security around venues. Reuters: “Games organizers have linked up with Japanese telecommunications and information technology giant NEC to develop the first system of this kind to be implemented at an Olympics. The technology, which was demonstrated to the media at an event in the Japanese capital, will use IC chips within identification cards to automatically verify the identity of those entering over 40 venues. More than 300,000 athletes and Games staff will have to submit photographs to a database before the Olympics start in July 2020. ‘Every time they enter the facility, they have to do a security check,’ explained Tokyo 2020’s head of security Tsuyoshi Iwashita. ‘Tokyo’s venues doesn’t always have enough space for the security check or even space to wait for the security check. When the events are happening, we expect many people to come and the weather will be very hot. This is why we introduced this facial recognition.’ The system will not be aimed at spectators and will instead concentrate on strengthening security and decreasing waiting times for athletes.”

3. WHAT A POST-#METOO MISS AMERICA MIGHT LOOK LIKE: The recent decision to eliminate the swimsuit competition from Miss America—one made at the organization's annual meeting, where seven of the nine board members are women and former titleholders—leaves contestants and fans wondering what the revamped event will look like. Gretchen Carlson, the head of Miss America, was largely responsible for the change, being a high-profile advocate of the #MeToo movement. Elle: ‚ÄúSince the board’s decision, the CRDA has come back on board, pledging $4.3 million, and the marketing company Young & Rubicam has agreed to work on repositioning the organization, pro bono. The new idea, Carlson says, is for the competition, set to air September 9 on ABC, to play out as if it is a day in the life of a successful woman. 'You might be casual when you introduce yourself in the morning,' she says. 'Then you put on a business suit and do an interview. Then you go out and do what you’re passionate about, which is your talent. And at night, you put on your evening attire.' ... 'This will silence the critics,' Carlson said during one of her post-GMA interviews. 'What are they going to criticize now about empowering women and giving them leadership skills?' It turns out there were lots of things. Some argued the swimsuit competition had been useful in showing how contestants could manage uncomfortable situations. (As last year’s judging manual read, 'A beautiful and physically fit contestant who is nervous and shaking on stage may not be able to handle the job you are trying to fill.') Some said it helped imbue participants with confidence. Some believed Miss America should be judged on her appearance. 'We have to remember this is the Miss America competition,' says Betty Cantrell, Miss America 2016. 'This isn’t some regular competition. She’s the ideal. She embodies beauty, grace, poise, and intelligence.' Most thought judges would still take appearance into account. 'So they’re not in itsy-bitsy bikinis and high-heeled shoes,' says Blain Roberts, a history professor at Fresno State. 'The focus is still going to be on the body.' Others felt the new board didn’t go far enough. 'Taking swimsuit away makes it less sexualizing,' says Susan Bordo, a professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Kentucky. 'It doesn’t do anything to break into the association that being a woman is first and foremost, as [novelist] John Berger put it ages ago, to be seen.' (Regarding the show presenting a day in the life of a successful woman, she said, 'What a load of crap.')"


BOSTON:  Oath Pizza has partnered with food service provider Aramark to expand to exclusive locations nationwide, including university campuses, sporting arenas, and hospital cafés.

CHICAGO:  Hilton has opened its first tri-brand hotel at McCormick Place. The hotel is comprised of Hilton Garden Inn Chicago McCormick Place, Hampton Inn by Hilton Chicago McCormick Place, and Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago McCormick Place. 

Hotel Julian Chicago will open in the Atlantic Bank Building this fall. The hotel, which is managed by Oxford Hotels & Resorts, will have 228 guest rooms and About Last Knife, a modern steakhouse with indoor and outdoor seating.

DETROIT:  The Events Industry Council will lead Michigan’s first Sustainable Event Professional Certificate training at Cobo Center September 11-12.

LOS ANGELES:  Insomniac’s eighth annual Halloween-theme dance music festival Escape: Psycho: Circus will take place October 26-27 at NOS Events Center in San Bernardino. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  W Miami in Downtown Brickell will open its new restaurant, Addikt, on Thursday. The 15th-floor restaurant will feature globally-inspired cuisine from a menu led by executive chef Christian Quiñones.  

NEW YORK:  Friedmans Restaurant Group has announced it will open a new Friedmans eatery in the Upper West Side September 18 and a new Pastrami Queen location in the Theater District November 6. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

PHILADELPHIA:  Daniel Caesar, Pusha T, Tekashi 6ix9ine, and Lil Skies have been added to the Made In America festival lineup. The festival takes place September 1-2 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

Vision Furniture, a Chiavari chair manufacturer and rental company, has opened a 2,100-square-foot paint refinishing workshop in Wissinoming. 

SAN DIEGO:  The 114-room Bristol Hotel has completed a $7 million renovation that added three new suites, a fitness center, and a new restaurant and meeting space. The renovation was inspired by the 1960s, with mid-century modern touches and bright colors throughout, plus artwork from Lichtenstein and Warhol.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Mobile food provider Off the Grid has launched custom catering services for events. Press release:

Greystone Hotels has named Brian Barden its San Francisco Area operations manager.

TORONTO:  The 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will debut its Country Music Culinary Festival November 1 in partnership with Boots and Hearts musical festival. The culinary festival will showcase country musicians as well as veteran and up-and-coming Canadian chefs. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The 10th annual The Atlantic Festival will take place across Penn Quarter October 2-4. The festival will feature speakers, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum head Ellen Stefan, author and civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, Glossier C.E.O. Emily Weiss, and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams.

LTD Hospitality Group and Sefira Capital have acquired the 152-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Columbia, Maryland. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Kristine Liao in New York.

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