July 23, 2014: How Concerts Are Embracing Event Technology, Why Big Events Hurt Business Travel, Pizza Hut’s Wacky Comic-Con Stunt

By Beth Kormanik July 23, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT

1. HOW CONCERTS ARE EMBRACING EVENT TECHNOLOGY: From wristbands that allow cashless payments to live streaming performances, concerts have become the epicenter of experimenting with technology at live events. NBC News: “Nick Panama, co-founder of music label-turned event technologies company Cantora, gave the example of an artist releasing a new track only to those fans who stood in the first few rows of recent concerts—effectively rewarding superfans who could evangelize for their brand, the same way tech companies incentivize early adopters. … Cantora is developing an as-yet-unnamed software that ‘takes the ebbs and flows’ of an audience to alter the physical venue. The technology is set to be unveiled at a musical event in a major New York City museum at the end of 2014.”

2. WHY BIG EVENTS HURT BUSINESS TRAVEL: Inflated hotel rates because of big events are pushing businesses to move their meetings to other cities, according to Kevin Maguire, former director of travel for intercollegiate athletics at the University of Texas at Austin. Business Travel News: “Event planners share some of the blame, with overestimates on attendance resulting in an overinflation in rates. Here in Austin, at the South by Southwest music festival, planners made plans for a huge number of rooms but ended up with a 30 percent attrition rate. … Some hoteliers are starting to get it. During the 2012 Olympic Games in London, hotels followed a model in which they left a certain percentage of their rooms available for corporate negotiated rates and agreed to keep rate increases at bay. We're seeing hotels in Brazil do a similar thing for the upcoming Summer Olympics. The plan makes sense—it keeps prices reasonable, and more people are willing to come and pay the rate—but it only works if you can get hotels to buy into it.”

3. SEE PIZZA HUT’S WACKY COMIC-CON STUNT: To promote a partnership with the new movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pizza Hut will bring a tank-like vehicle that throws pizzas to International Comic-Con in San Diego. The Hollywood Reporter: “The food chain and Paramount Pictures have partnered to bring what is described as ‘an enormous live-action Pizza Thrower’ to Comic-Con, standing an impressive 12 feet tall and 9 feet wide, with a tower that rotates a cannon 16 feet long through 180 degrees allowing Con-goers to, yes, shoot pizzas at stand-ins for the Ninja Turtles’ enemies (OK, so they're fake pizzas, but still).”


The Convention Industry Council and Social Tables have launched a free app for event planners called the Pocket Planner, which is compatible with Android and IOS devices.


COAST TO COAST:  The first Global Virtual Reality GLBT Travel Expo is November 15-16.

ATLANTA:  KR SteakBar has begun construction on a 45-seat private dining room set to open in mid-October.

BOSTON:  Bastille Kitchen will open in Fort Point on Monday. The 240-seat French restaurant will offer private dining, and its menu offers onion soup, vanilla-butter-poached lobster, and a “Bastille Burger” with onion strings and bacon jam.

CHICAGO:  The Second City will double its current footprint at Piper’s Alley by taking over the space that formerly housed a four-screen movie theater. The new space will have student facilities and two large spaces for special events.

The fifth annual Ed’s Fest, celebrating the restaurant Ed Debevic’s, is Saturday. The luau-theme, family-friendly event will feature a charity dunk tank, ice-cream-eating competitions, and games.

LAS VEGAS:  Actor Anthony Anderson will appear at an event today to promote the new books Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What? and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? at the Foundation Room in Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

LOS ANGELES:  Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey will host the Teen Choice Awards, held August 10 at Pauley Pavilion.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Madison Square Park Conservancy and New York Life are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Madison Square Park September 6 with the event Md. Sq. 200, which will include historically themed activities and performances, music, and food highlighting the eras of 1814 and 1914, followed by a contemporary art party.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  The former downtown Orlando Marriott is undergoing a $17 million renovation and will reopen as Renaissance Orlando next year. Orlando Sentinel:

TORONTO:  The sixth annual Unity Festival starts today and runs through Saturday. At venues including the Mod Club and Yonge-Dundas Square, the festival will feature break dancers, MCs, spoken-world artists, beatboxers, and bands.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The fifth annual Cosmo Couture Fashion & Design Event returns to Artisphere on September 18 and will have a theme of “President of the United States,” with each design team assigned a different president to inspire their collection. The Washington Metro City Center of the International Interior Design Association's Mid-Atlantic chapter produces the event.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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