Nominations are now open for the 12th Annual EEAs!
It's time to make your mark. Nominations are now open for the 12th Annual Event Experience Awards!

What's New in Event Venues: 2024 Travel Trends, Luxury Outdoor Lodging, and More

BizBash rounds up the latest news from hotels, convention centers, meeting spaces, restaurants, and other event venues around the world.

Event Venue News for March 2024
Recognizing the modern traveler's desire for unique experiences, Hilton has announced a partnership with outdoor hospitality company AutoCamp, which offers custom-designed Airstreams, spacious cabins, luxury tents, and other unique accommodations, all centered around communal fire pits, group meeting spaces, and more. Scroll down to read more.
Photo: ©2024 Hilton

In Case You Missed It
BizBash's editorial team has been rounding up the buzziest new venues for events in cities around the country. So far, we've headed to AtlantaBoston, Chicago, Miami, Nashville, and New York—with many more stops to go in the coming weeks. In honor of Presidents' Day last month, we also explored five presidential libraries that make impressive event venues, and took a look inside the stunning Dune: Part Two premiere party at the new wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

Here are five more things to know this month... 

1. Today's travelers are ready to spend money.
American Express Travel released its 2024 Global Travel Trends Report this week, and it has some good news for the hospitality industry: 84% of respondents plan to spend more or the same amount of money on travel this year as they did last year. But travelers are discerning: 77% of them care about spending money on the right travel experience. What does that mean? Some major trends driving booking decisions are a rise in solo travel—76% of millennials and Gen Z respondents are planning on taking a solo trip in 2024, for example—plus an interest in flexible itineraries that leave room for spontaneity; a desire for major, expedition-style, once-in-a-lifetime adventures; and trips planned around live sporting events. (The top cities for sports-related travel this year? New York, Miami, London, Las Vegas, and Paris.) Check out the full report here

2. Sustainability is top of mind.
While not a new trend, it's a welcome one—and properties continue debuting creative eco-friendly measures. The publication Hospitality Design recently rounded up five upcoming hotels that are pioneering new sustainability initiatives, including the world's first carbon-positive hotel (opening in Denver this spring); an Anguilla property that runs entirely on solar energy; and a Colombian hotel constructed from sun-dried, compressed earth bricks made on site. Check out the full article here.

Another property taking its efforts to new levels is the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. In addition to expanding its robust recycling program for clients and events, the venue is working to ensure the majority of the building materials cast off during current renovations will not end up in landfills. The center has already diverted 84% of the waste produced during the project’s first stage, according to a recent report. Of roughly 550,000 pounds of construction waste during a three-month span, 461,650 pounds of waste was diverted from landfills. The center also recycled masonry, lights, scrap, cardboard, and plastic as much as possible, sending the discarded materials to local vendors and recycling companies.

"Our hope is that, by sharing our recycling goals, processes, and results, we will inspire other companies and facilities to expand their own recycling efforts and sustainability programs and practices," said the convention center's president and CEO, Michael J. Sawaya. (Related: Check out our recent Q&A with New Orleans & Company about how the city diverted 10 tons of waste during last month's Mardi Gras.)

3. Hilton is now helping facilitate luxury outdoor stays near national parks.
Recognizing the modern traveler's desire for unique experiences, Hilton recently announced a partnership with outdoor hospitality company AutoCamp. AutoCamp stays will be bookable on Hilton’s direct channels in the coming months, giving Hilton guests direct access to outdoor hospitality that the brand argues goes beyond “glamping." AutoCamp offers custom-designed Airstreams, spacious cabins, luxury tents, and other unique accommodations, all centered around a social hub that offers F&B options, merchandise, and retail items, along with communal fire pits, swimming pools, group meeting spaces, and other common areas. 

Hilton Honors members will be able to earn and redeem points and exclusive member benefits while experiencing AutoCamp locations in Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Russian River in California; Zion, Utah; Cape Cod, Mass.; and Catskills, N.Y.—with Asheville, N.C., and Sequoia, Calif., opening this summer and Texas' Hill Country in 2025. Event Venue News for March 2024“We know today’s travelers are craving adventures when planning their next trip, and that’s why we look for innovative and like-minded partners like AutoCamp,” said Chris Silcock, Hilton's president of global brands and commercial services. “This is the first time a major hospitality brand and outdoor lodging company have come together in this way to create even more choices for travelers while redefining the outdoor hospitality experience.”Photo: ©2024 Hilton/Matt Kidisay

4. A new tech update may help independent venues save time and money.
AmptUp, an all-in-one platform that claims to “cut the event booking process down from three weeks to three minutes,” has debuted its new Payouts feature. The feature aims to carry venues and talent through the entire booking process, from the initial contract to payment, without having to juggle various email threads and calendars. The platform creates a centralized hub for all contracts, marketing materials, and event information, and venues can track the status of a booking in real time, receive artist assets at the time of booking, and easily calculate payouts. On the flip side, musicians and other talent can ensure they have all the right equipment, tech setup info, house rules, and more.

“We've done heavy research into the artist experience, and a lot of artists have a story about managing payouts at 2 a.m. or while racing to catch a plane, only to find out that they aren't getting paid what they expected,” explained AmptUp CEO and co-founder Holly Hagerman. “This is almost always due to an unclear contract or paperwork getting lost in the shuffle. Independent venues and artists rely on each other, and AmptUp’s new Payouts feature helps maintain these symbiotic relationships by ensuring that everyone is clear on the terms of the deal with a total sellout potential number shown in writing.” 

5. Marriott and Cathay have teamed up to offer expanded travel benefits.
Marriott International has expanded its Marriott Bonvoy travel program through a collaboration with the Cathay Membership program, the loyalty program of Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific. The partnership gives Cathay’s 11 million members access to Marriott's 8,800 hotels and resorts around the world, where they can access benefits like hotel stay redemptions, two-way points transfer, and enhanced flight and travel package experiences.

“Together with Cathay, the expansion of our global airline partnership program presents an opportunity to engage more members in the region as they go even further and explore new destinations around the world," said Alison Yang, Marriott's vice president of revenue strategy, loyalty, and partnerships for the Greater China area. "By unlocking a new wealth of rewards and privileges with both loyalty programs, members are encouraged to partake in a broader variety of experiences and benefits, while forging genuine connections with people and places as they learn more and feel more deeply in their next adventures.” 

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