May 10, 2017: Grammys Officially Returning to New York in 2018, Why More Hotel Companies Are Diversifying Portfolios, Apple Sends Out Invites to W.W.D.C.

By Ian Zelaya May 10, 2017, 12:42 PM EDT

1. GRAMMYS OFFICIALLY RETURNING TO NEW YORK IN 2018: After months of rumors, the Recording Academy has confirmed that the Grammy Awards will return to New York in 2018 for the first time since 2003. Billboard: “Next year's main event, which will be its 60th edition, is set to take place on Jan. 28, 2018 at Madison Square Garden, and will once again air on CBS. Throughout much of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the Grammys essentially rotated back and forth between New York and Los Angeles, before setting up shop long-term at the Staples Center in L.A. beginning in 2004. The effort to bring the event back to NYC in 2018 was the result of a years-long process that began as early as 2014, and kicked into high gear over the past year. 'It had always been something I had thought was of interest to us; it was really all about the details,' Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, told Billboard. 'We've been in L.A. for many years; we used to bounce back and forth from time to time. With the East Coast being the home for half the membership of the Academy—certainly there's a very vibrant, vital part of the music industry on the East Coast and in New York—and given that this is an anniversary year for us, it's a special chance to celebrate.' According to the Mayor's office, the Grammys are expected to bring $200 million in economic benefits to the city—$82 million in direct spend and $120 million indirectly—as well as an additional several hundred million in tourism. As part of the announcement, the Academy worked with Spike Lee and creative agency TBWAChiatDay to create a video, which can be seen below, which a press release calls 'a musical tour of the city.'”

2. WHY MORE HOTEL COMPANIES ARE DIVERSIFYING PORTFOLIOS: Hotel companies such as Marriott International and the Wyndham Hotel Group seem to be constantly increasing and diversifying their portfolios. By acquiring more brands, hotel chains are aiming to meet the needs of a variety of travelers. The New York Times: “The proliferation of brands under one parent company is a byproduct of hotel company consolidation, the introduction of new brands and the creation of so-called soft brands that gather a group of similar independent hotels into a collection. Companies have aided in the expansion, in some cases, by licensing their names rather than owning each property. Travelers’ needs vary over time—with travel for business and leisure, alone or with family, locally or internationally, and requiring a short stay or extended stay—and hotel companies want to capture them all. 'We want a brand for each price point and each occasion,' said Patrick Pacious, president and chief operating officer of Choice Hotels International. The company, known for economy and midrange brands like Comfort Suites and Econolodge, is expanding its Cambria upscale brand. Hotel company expansion and diversification is also a strategic defense against online travel services like Expedia and Airbnb, which offer thousands of varied listings in one place. Like such aggregators, more hotel companies can offer their own spectrum of listings, from a basic night’s stay to a luxury resort. Some hotel buildings now house multiple brands under one roof. Hotels near hospitals and military bases often have a mix of overnight and extended-stay guests, Mr. Pacious said. So within the same building, his company might have a Sleep Inn for short-term guests and a MainStay Suites for longer stays. The two sets of guest rooms would share a lobby, housekeeping services and back-office staff.”

3. APPLE SENDS OUT INVITES TO W.W.D.C.: Apple sent out media invites to its 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Tuesday, with a somewhat cryptic message about technology. CNBC: “This year's keynote will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, which we learned when Apple announced WWDC back in February. Apple typically holds its big keynotes at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The original WWDC invite to developers said 'Technology alone is not enough. Technology must intersect with the liberal arts and the humanities, to create new ideas and experiences that push society forward. This summer we bring together thousands of brilliant minds representing many diverse perspectives, passions, and talents to help us change the world.' It suggests, perhaps, that there needs to be a more human element to our technology. This could mean the obvious: that it wants to continue to meet with and cater to developers. Or maybe there's something deeper here. Does Apple have big plans to merge the real world and the digital? That could point to augmented reality, which Apple has said is important to its plans moving forward. Or perhaps we'll hear about a smarter version of Siri, one that lives on an Amazon Echo-like device. Apple's also expected to unveil its latest product software during the keynote, including iOS 11, the latest version of macOS, and updates to watchOS and tvOS."


Etouches, a cloud event management software and sourcing solutions provider, has been acquired by middle market private equity firm H.G.G.C. Press release:


CHICAGO:  The Chicago Margarita Festival will take place July 8-9 at Navy Pier. 

LOS ANGELES:  The 42nd annual Gracie Awards will take place June 6 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Hosted by The Real's Jeannie Mai, the event will honor Debbie Allen with the Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as recognize 2017 Gracie Award winners including America Ferrera, Samantha Bee, Drew Barrymore, and Mariska Hargitay. 

The American Film Institute will honor actress Diane Keaton with the 45th A.F.I. Life Achievement Award at its Gala Tribute, taking place June 8 at the Dolby Theatre. 

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

NEW YORK:  GLSEN, a national education organization focused on ensuring inclusive schools for all students, will host its GLSEN Respect Awards—New York on May 15 at Cipriani 42nd Street. Jill Biden will make opening remarks at the event, which will honor Ann Clark, Ryan Pedlow, Roland Park elementary and middle schools, and First Data. 

The 28th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival will take place June 9-18. Co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and I.F.C. Center, the festival will screen 21 documentaries. 

American Cake Decorating magazine and New York Cake Show founder Lisa Mansour will host the inaugural Golden Tier Awards on June 10 at iPic Theater. The awards ceremony will recognize achievements of notable cake decorators from around the world.

Buster, a website that offers ground transportation for events, has launched a new online reservation feature that will allow event planners to book multiple vehicles for multiple events at the same time. 

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

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  MegaCon, which takes place May 25-28 at the Orange County Convention Center, will host Love Is Love events that will let comic fans pay tribute to the victims of last year's Pulse Nightclub shooting and raise money for Equality Florida. The events are part of MegaCon's partnership with DC Comics' Marc Adreyko's Love Is Love comic book anthology. 

TORONTO:  Operanation, the Canadian Opera Company's 13th annual fund-raiser, will take place May 25 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The event, which has “A Night of Curiosities” theme, will include a performance by Kiesza. 

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

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