On October 14th and 15th, Skift held their annual celebration of the travel industry - the Skift Global Forum - now in its second year. For two days, speakers from across all sectors and from all across the globe convened in Brooklyn to talk about their plans and hopes for the future of travel.
Head to Skift for complete coverage of the event. Summaries of the panels are below:
“The best management responses to negative reviews come from companies that view them not as merely solving a problem but view the written management response as a way to reinforce the brand.”
"Startups can take more risks than established, global brands and push out experiments much faster. In these tests, the products don’t have to be perfect. The downside is low and the upside potential can be tremendous."
"When the day comes that air travelers don’t have to pay $37 for Wi-Fi on a long-haul flight, then that will be a good thing for both airlines and passengers."
Public relations’ fundamentals have changed, but the basics such as public relations representatives needing to forge relationships with reporters for effective coverage, remain consistent.
"For corporate travelers, there needs to be more transparency and better established roles of responsibility for open bookings. On the leisure side, travel agencies need to be easier to find based on their areas of expertise."
"Millennials want spontaneity, community and an authentic experience. They’re going to travel however they want to, regardless of how legacy travel brands want them to."
"People of color are 38% more likely to make a purchase if advertisements are reflective of them, so that should be a wake-up call to travel companies worldwide."
"Dining will be the last form of live entertainment. As we start to digitize experiences, we are going to yearn for authentic experiences where we can break bread together."
The people in a place make it what it is. “We succeed and fail based on that. It is a testament to the location and people we work with that are so integral in telling a story of a place.”
“All economy hotels are not created equal. Customers believe there are multiple categories within the economy space, a notion that helps create great growth potential for hotels looking to explore the economy space.”
"Travel brands need to engage guests throughout the entire guest journey, while focusing on three core brand principles related to guest communication: Make it meaningful, respectful and relevant."
"Luxury is all about personalization. Every member of a luxury company needs to understand the brand’s ethos and deliver that experience."
"Brazil has an opportunity to present itself as a mature tourism brand during the 2016 Summer Olympics and it’s already taken measures to ensure it becomes an even larger hub for Latin American travel."
Customer service "magic" is about empowering employees and being willing to back them up.
"Simplicity and personalization are the answers to unlocking the future of conversion on the mobile web experience."
Mildenhall explored how Airbnb plans to take its brand beyond the homes of hosts around the world and into community spaces where travel actually happens.
The travel industry has been the second slowest industry after financial services to adopt Instagram - confusing, because Instagram is social and inspires travel. "Every brand should be active on Instagram."
"Technology will soon revolutionize the flyer experience while in airport terminals. Smart notifications, pre-purchasing and personalized flight notifications will make the travel experience less stressful for tech-savvy travelers."
"Visit Dubai is laser focused on mobile as the primary engagement platform to connect with travel consumers."
The foundations of the thriving hotel business for tomorrow may be built on ideas that go beyond art, beyond design and beyond new technology, to products, services, themes, or approaches to hospitality that have not yet been tried.
“Hotels spend an awful lot of time and money to make sure the experience is the same as the last time they were there and that it’ll be the same the next time they’re there. We’re almost the exact opposite, we have a formula for our values but we’re thinking how can we make things different each time.”
"Rumors of the demise of the travel agent have been greatly exaggerated."
“Be transparent. Now people want to be part of the process. Young people prefer brands that take themselves less seriously, and when you open yourself you make people part of the process, and they not only become your customers, they become your allies.”
Sustainability is vital to the future of travel: “We’re losing one elephant every four hours; we’re losing a rhino every eight hours. The market for rare animal parts, specifically ivory, needs to be disrupted to protect endangered animals.”
“Destination marketers need to let go of their brand image and their brand voice. In today’s connected world, you can’t control your brand messaging anymore, and trying to do so is a disservice to the community.”
“What if hotels treated guests like hosts? What if hotels checked into guests’ lives instead of guests checking into hotels?”
“Who doesn’t want a surprise? Brands who go the extra step to put that smile on a traveler’s face are the ones getting ahead.”
The most retweeted tweets from the event:
We also took all the tweets tagged with #skiftforum from the 2-day event and parsed them for a sense of what was talked about most. Feel free to share!