#NLEDonthescene: Summer Edition

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Happy Summer from your pals at Next Level!

If your summer is anything like ours, you’re hoping to cut out of the office a little early to enjoy an evening on a patio, or finally take a stroll along The 606! Perhaps you’re also counting down the days until you can turn on your Out of Office saying, “Unfortunately, I am out of the office stranded on a towel in the sand catching up on a good read while drinking a beverage out of the shell of a fruit – with limited access to the internet!” Yep, we are right there with you!

While we are busy trying to enjoy the summer, we’re also busy finalizing details for some events coming up in the fall including a building opening on the beautiful University of Chicago campus, another great Tech conference with our friends at i.c.stars, and cooking up some delicious food in the Culinary Pavilion at the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) trade show at McCormick Place – just to highlight a few! Additionally, if you were to hang around the office for an afternoon, you would be highly entertained as our conversations fluidly jump between Steampunk culture, dinosaurs, mega-conferences, beer gardens, molecular gastronomy, ponies, executive one-on-one speed-dating, and pet crocodiles… for petting… Fortunately, not all for the same event, but the combination of all of these ideas has been influencing some pretty intense dreams!

Recently, members of the Next Level team attended the Industry Xchange (#IXChicago15), one of our favorite summer industry events. Spending an afternoon amongst top industry leaders and peers discussing current trends, challenging the status quo, and answering some hard-hitting questions only gets better when it is followed by a delicious reception on the Rooftop at Navy Pier with a perfect view of the fireworks. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday afternoon!

This year’s theme focused on Disruptive Technology and how it’s impacting the way we do our jobs. The keynote speaker, Mike Dominguez, SVP for MGM Resorts International, simply put it: “If you’re not disrupting, you’re being disrupted.”

We focused most of the discussion on the “shared economy” apps we are all becoming very familiar with. For instance, going back to the daydreams of your vacation… will you be hailing a cab or using Uber to get to the airport? Are you staying in a hotel or getting a more local experience using Airbnb? Flip back to work… Would you book ground transportation for your executives and/or attendees using Uber, or are you still booking through a trusted car service directly? Are you using a familiar hotel chain to book your exec’s accommodations and meetings or are you booking a luxury private accommodation with a kitchen fully-stocked with their favorite health-conscious foods? Have you even begun challenging the way you do business with these emerging trends, of which you are likely already adopting on a personal level?

Whichever side of the argument you land on, the shared economy is actually helping neutralize the current record-breaking needs of the meetings and event industry. According to Mr. Dominguez, the industry is no longer “recovering” from the recession, but is exceeding all past records to the point that our demand is exceeding current supply. Statistics show people are traveling more, meeting more, spending more, and in general, using more of what our industry has to offer – both for business and leisure. (Note to clients: this is causing pricing to increase, decreasing negotiation power and our favorite high-demand properties are selling out much further in advance.)

Shared economy apps are just the beginning of the disruptive technology affecting the event industry; wearable technology, crowdshaping, augmented reality, iBeacons, and the endless social media and event-specific apps are all changing how we do what we do. However, you’ll have to wait for future blog posts before we dive further into all of those topics!

Speaking of, below are links to the past couple Next Level posts in case you missed Nelly’s latest embarrassing story about being “Perfection-ish” as well as Cory’s post about “Telling Your Story” which helps clarify why we hear him periodically wandering through the office humming “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The team here at Next Level raises our summer cocktail with you, our colleagues, clients, vendors and friends – to finding time this summer for taking a break, rejuvenating, going exploring, spending evenings on patios with friends both new and old, and to creating new memories worth Tweeting about as you hop in that Uber on your way to that beautiful place you found on Airbnb!