March 19, 2015: Jaguar Plans High-Wire Stunt With Car, See AT&T's Giant Eyeball Antenna, How Airbnb Hopes to Attract More Corporate Groups

1. JAGUAR PLANS HIGH-WIRE STUNT WITH CAR: It's certainly one way to attract attention: Next week Jaguar is planning to show off its redesigned 2016 XF luxury sedan by driving it across tightropes in London. The stunt will be streamed live to the Web. Forbes: "The new XF—built with extensive use of lightweight aluminum—will be driven across a still unspecified body of water using two 1.3-inch/diameter wires and is claimed to be the world’s first high-wire crossing above water ever attempted in a car."

2. SEE THE GIANT EYEBALL ANTENNA AT&T BROUGHT TO SXSW: Wonder why the masses at South by Southwest are able to take all those selfies, experiment with Meerkat streaming, and fill the Twittersphere with thousands of posts without causing major network problems? A big white sphere known as the Luneberg Lens is boosting cell capacity. And it's what AT&T refers to as a giant eyeball antenna. Fast Company: "The technology might not be new, but AT&T seems delighted by how large and attention-getting the Luneburg Lens is: SXSW is the third deployment of the lens, after the Chicago Air & Water Show and Coachella, with the Final Four event in Indianapolis next on the agenda."

3. HOW AIRBNB HOPES TO SERVE MORE CORPORATE GROUPS: After launching a strategy to work with more corporate travelers, Airbnb is looking to better automate the accommodations-booking process for companies and provide data for tracking. And already the website is serving tech firms, nursing agencies, and consulting companies. In an interview with Business Travel News, Airbnb business travel lead Marc McCabe says, "To give corporate clients visibility, we have created corporate account codes that businesses pass on to employees to use at the Airbnb checkout page. That means we can share the data back to the customer. We have also created a business search portal to weed out inappropriate properties so they only have entire properties and houses with Wi-Fi. ... We’re just at the beginning. For instance, we can potentially show properties to travelers that their colleagues have already booked. Business trips are trips people have to take, so to give them something that suits their tastes is very valuable for a travel program."

4. THE SCIENCE BEHIND TED TALKS: Author and communication coach Carmine Gallo argues that the TED Conference’s trademark talks are actually scientifically proven to engage an audience. Forbes: "I’ve analyzed more than 500 of the most popular TED talks, interviewed some of the most famous TED speakers, and poured over hundreds of pages of research from prominent neuroscientists in the field of communication. Based on all this research I can confidently say that the TED style is effective because it’s consistent with how our brains are wired to receive information. ... The TED event organizers have found that 18 minutes is the ideal amount of time to have a substantive discussion without putting people to sleep. As it turns out, there’s also solid science behind the time restriction. In the Department of Communication Studies At Texas Christian University, researchers are studying 'cognitive backlog.' It’s a fascinating field of study showing that listeners can only retain so much information before losing everything they’re supposed to retain. Content is like piling weights—if you add too much at once you’ll drop everything."


BOSTON:  Kane’s Donuts has opened a Boston outpost. The bakery can provide breakfast, lunch, or snack platters for groups of as many as 200 guests, and menu items include custom-decorated baked goods.

CHICAGO:  InterContinental Chicago has completed a renovation on its Executive Tower. The $13 million renovation targeted the tower’s 315 guest rooms and corridors.

Prairie Grass Cafe will host a benefit for Chicago Latin Fusion on April 24. The event will include Cumbia and Bachata dance lessons as well as performances by Chicago Latin Fusion.

CLEVELAND:  On April 18, Paul McCartney will induct Ringo Starr into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony, which will take place at Public Hall, will also include Patti Smith, Stevie Wonder, Fall Out Boy, and John Mayer. The Los Angeles Times:

LAS VEGAS:  MGM Resorts International has launched MGM Connections, a free service that enables small groups to organize events with the help of a dedicated professional. Press release:

STK Las Vegas will celebrate its four-year anniversary on March 30 with a James Bond-theme event dubbed "004: STK Royale." The Belvedere Vodka-hosted party will include a black carpet, shadow box dancers, e-cigars, and Belvedere's new 007-branded vodka martini.

LOS ANGELES:  The Art Directors Guild Awards will be held January 31 at the Beverly Hilton.

The L.A. Festival of Books is April 18-19 and will include a one-on-one conversation with Malcolm Gladwell, panel discussions with Cesar Chavez biographer Miriam Pawel and crime novelist Kem Nunn, and chef Ludo Lefebvre on the Cooking Stage.

Heidi Bergos has been named the new director of sales and marketing at Hotel Irvine, a recently reopened and renovated 536-room Orange County hotel owned and operated by the Irvine Company.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  AIDS Walk Miami is scheduled for April 26 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

NEW YORK:  Billed as the first global trade show series for the service robotics industry, MecklerMedia's RoboUniverse New York will be held May 11-13 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. In the plans for the event are a driverless car conference and a robotics start-up competition. Other events in the 2015 RoboUniverse series will take place in Seoul, Tokyo, and San Diego.

At its annual meeting, NYC & Company announced plans to reach a goal of 67 million annual visitors by 2021. That includes attracting major sports events, like the 2016 N.C.A.A. Wrestling Championships and the 2016 and 2017 N.C.A.A. Men’s Basketball Championships, the "Make It NYC" meetings campaign, and developing tourism in emerging international markets such as China, India, Brazil, and Spanish-speaking Latin America.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

SAN FRANCISCO:  Villa Florence, a boutique hotel in Union Square, is in the midst of a $15 million renovation. The hotel has added seven new guest rooms, and the second phase of renovations will target the lobby and meeting spaces.

TORONTO:  The lineup for "October's Very Own," a three-day music festival that will run August 1-3, has been announced. Acts will include Drake, J. Cole, and Kevin Hart.

VANCOUVER:  Speakers for the Art of Marketing Vancouver on April 15 include Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Chip Heath, Danish brand consultant and 2009 Time 100 honoree Martin Lindstrom, and customer loyalty expert Jackie Huba. Vancity Buzz:

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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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