Twenty-five-year hospitality industry veteran Ted Davis may have a long resume, having worked for companies that have included Hilton, Wyndham, the Flamingo in Las Vegas—at the time the largest hotel in the world—and Noble House, but his gaze is always on the future.

Davis was instrumental in developing IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future project, which places a big emphasis on the technology and space flexibility demanded by today’s planner and attendee, and also leading Benchmark’s charge in offering destination content that augments the individual digital presence of its properties, as he knows that destination selection is a key factor in site selection.

“Technology is leveling the playing field to communicate to a broad base of people,” Davis said. “If you have a good technology backbone you open yourselves up to many opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t.”

Davis believes in an “inverted pyramid” philosophy when it comes to creating attendee engagement and dynamic meetings.

“You can create tremendous engagement if you start from the bottom and work up, by finding ways to have table breakouts, panel discussions, surveys—engaging the audience is much more important than in the past,” he said. “You better be a pretty dynamic speaker if you’re going to talk for an hour and not have everyone in the audience glaze over. And all through the process, too, when you’re announcing the event, recruiting attendees, the arrival experience, what happens after the conference, all of those things are important, and giving planners tools and the rich content to see what’s available is very important to us.”