How Where-to-Go Lists Get Made

You should really think about going to the South Bronx this year. Or Dubrovnik, Croatia. Don’t forget Egypt. And also Canada — all of it.

If those places sound familiar, you were probably reading travel stories in Bloomberg or The New York Times recently. Every year, these and other publications come up with lists of places to visit that get dissected and discussed at length — including at Skift.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about a very specific form of travel advice — the where-to-go-in-the-coming-year list — and what goes into making them.

Our guests today are Dan Saltzstein, a travel editor at The New York Times who organized the 52 Places to Go in 2017 project. And we also have Nikki Ekstein, travel editor at Bloomberg Pursuits, who oversaw Bloomberg’s Where to Go in 2017 list.

They joined Skift podcast host and editor Hannah Sampson and editor-in-chief Jason Clampet.

 

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How Travel Companies Can Win the Hearts of Supertravelers

Skift has been thinking a lot about supertravelers, those discerning frequent fliers who travel regularly for business or leisure and have strong points of view about the experience.

Research director Luke Bujarski led a team last year to put together a 10,000-word Supertraveler Manifesto packed with interviews, results from online surveys, insights from focus groups, and a list of maxims of the super traveler mindset. Those maxims include the need for authenticity and trust in travel advice sources; real rewards vs gimmicks; the right amount of tech and connectivity; and a human element among all that technology.

Supertravelers also had a voice at the Skift Global Forum last year during a discussion moderated by Bujarski.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’ve got that conversation for you. Our panelists were Alexandra Wood, chief operating officer at Wearable Experiments; Jalak Jobanputra, founder and managing partner of Future\Perfect Ventures; Colin Nagy, head of communications strategy at creative agency Fred & Farid, and Leonard Brody, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

 

 

 

 

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SXSW and Superfly Pros on Making Events Better

Conference organizers everywhere would probably like the secrets to hosting a buzzworthy event like South by Southwest or Bonnaroo.

Our guests Mike Shea and Rich Goodstone aren’t giving everything away, but they were willing to share some insight during the Skift Global Forum earlier this year.

Shea, chief logistics officer and partner at South by Southwest, and Goodstone, co-founder of Superfly, the production company behind Bonnaroo, spoke at the forum about using data for personalization, integrating technology and the effect of big events on a destination.

And they joined us backstage in the Skift Take Studio to talk about bringing fun to events that could be boring, the way attendee behavior is changing, and why selfies are getting in the way of experiences.

Shea and Goodstone spoke to editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

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Google Travel VP on the Power of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Google has been making big moves in the travel space since last year. The search engine launched the Google Trips app earlier in 2016 and hosts booking for some hotel and airline partners.

Skift reported this year that the company’s revenues from travel advertising likely top $12 billion.

That’s a lot to dig into, so we were glad to have Oliver Heckmann, the vice president of engineering who heads Google’s travel product, with us at the Skift Global Forum in September.

He joined us backstage in the Skift Take Studio to talk about how user behavior is changing with the shift to mobile, Google’s efforts to move toward an assistant-driven environment, and the potential for virtual and augmented reality.

Heckmann spoke to Skift contributing writer Jeremy Kressman.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

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Booking.com CEO on Taking a Mobile-First Approach

Anyone who has traveled has likely found — or at least searched for — a room on Booking.com.

The site has more than a million accommodations to choose from in more than 93,000 destinations across the globe. It’s the largest and most important brand in Priceline Group, and we were happy to have CEO Gillian Tans on stage at the Skift Global Forum in September.

She joined for a follow-up conversation backstage in the Skift Take Studio to talk about last-minute behavior, direct bookings, advertising, new search methods, and more.

Tans spoke to Skift contributing writer Jeremy Kressman.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

 

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Lola CEO on Why Messaging Matters

Kayak co-founder Paul English used to devote his focus to helping travelers plan and book their own trips online. These days, the serial entrepreneur is trying to provide users with a lot more one-on-one help.

His latest startup Lola Travel is a travel agency messaging app meant to give travelers a way to book trips without doing their own legwork.

At the Skift Global Forum in September, English spoke about artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, and taking Lola global. He joined us backstage in the Skift Take Studio to talk more about the inspiration for his new company, how he is trying to improve the tools that travel agents use, and why messaging is more popular than talking.

English spoke to editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

 

 

 

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TripAdvisor CEO on Setting Realistic Expectations

They may not know his name, but millions of travelers are familiar with Stephen Kaufer‘s work. He is the CEO and co-founder of TripAdvisor, which gets 350 million average monthly unique visitors and hosts 385 million reviews.

The site goes beyond just reviews: TripAdvisor fully rolled out instant booking early last year and has been branching out into restaurant reservations, vacation home rentals, and tours and activities with acquisitions over the past couple of years.

Kaufer spoke in September at the Skift Global Forum and joined editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson backstage in the Skift Take Studio to talk about the threat of competition, the new ways consumers are using the site, challenges for instant booking, and what is still left to review.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SilverRail CEO on Tackling Trains in a Digital Age

Aaron Gowell sometimes describes himself as the “token train guy.”

He is accustomed to trains getting short shrift from the traveling public, especially in the U.S., but the CEO and co-founder of  SilverRail is on a mission to make it easy to book train travel online by building a digital infrastructure for the global rail industry.

At the Skift Global Forum in September, Gowell talked about the difficulty in booking travel across multiple platforms and modes of transportation. He joined Skift editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson backstage in the Skift Take Studio for an encore discussion that touched on American attitudes toward train travel, the investments other countries are making in rail, and recent breakthroughs with online travel agencies.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today! Subscribe via iTunesSoundCloud, or RSS.

 

 

 

Frits van Paasschen on Being Your Own Disruptor

Starwood Hotels & Resorts was all over the news in 2016 as various companies battled to acquire it. Frits van Paasschen, the former Starwood CEO, watched with interest and some nostalgia throughout the process, which ended when Marriott finally closed the deal in September.

Van Paasschen, who has since left the company, is now an investor, advisor, and author of a book called The Disruptors’ Feast.

He spoke in September at the Skift Global Forum in Manhattan and afterwards joined editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson backstage in the Skift Take Studio to talk about his reaction to Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood, whether a 30-hotel-brand portfolio makes sense, and what kind of disruption hotels should be worrying about.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

 

 

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today! Subscribe via iTunesSoundCloud, or RSS.

 

 

Club Med President on the Future of All-Inclusive

Club Med has an iconic name and decades of history, but the company has been forced to adapt for modern millennial travelers.

President Henri Giscard D’Estaing spoke at the Skift Global Forum in September and joined Skift editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson backstage in the Skift Take Studio for a follow-up discussion.

The conversation touched on the future of the all-inclusive model, growth markets for the company, and what he expects the next generation of guests will find as Club Med continues to evolve.

This mini-episode is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at the Skift Global Forum. The Skift Take Studio Series is presented by Mastercard, a payments technology company that is enabling loyalty, security and data solutions for the global travel industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today! Subscribe via iTunesSoundCloud, or RSS.