What Happens When Travel Meets Politics and Global Unrest

Last year, 75 million international tourists visited the U.S., and spending by domestic and inbound visitors amounted to nearly $950 billion.

But the travel and tourism industry still has challenges, notably fears about terrorism in the wake of attacks in Paris and Brussels and the massacre in Orlando this month — which took place after the recording of this podcast.

Also potentially discouraging international travel are long security lines at airports, resistance to thevisa waiver program, and the uncertainty of a looming — and often nasty — presidential election.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking politics: What is the legacy of the Obama administration when it comes to travel, what hasn’t yet been accomplished, and what’s at stake for the industry as the country prepares to elect a new president?

Our guest is Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. He sat down with Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson in New York City at the site of the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, where he was a speaker.

 

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Understanding the Needs of Modern Budget Travelers

Online travel agencies make it easy to search by the lowest price. There are targeted websites like cheapair.com, cheapoair.com, insanelycheapflights.com, and eurocheapo.com to navigate. And the sharing economy lets travelers crash on couches, take over apartments, use someone else’s car, or borrow a bike.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking cheap travel: Who does it, how travel companies are providing budget-friendlier options, and what travelers might give up to save some bucks.

Joining us in the Skift office are Dan Saltzstein, a travel editor at The New York Times, and Tom Meyers, founder and editor of the booking and advice site EuroCheapo.com.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and editor Andrew Sheivachman.

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What Keeps Travel CMOs up at Night

Modern marketing in travel comes with modern difficulties: the rise of social media, new technology, shifting consumer tastes, and uncertainty over what drives the most business.

As part of our CMO interview series, Skift has been talking to chief marketing officers across the travel industry about the challenges they face in their jobs, where they get insights, what helps them make smarter decisions, and what keeps them up at night. On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re exploring those topics — and hearing firsthand about what works for our guests. Hint: It helps if someone who lives near the city you promote makes a video that goes viral on social media.

With us this week are Rich Fontaine, CMO of small-ship expedition company Lindblad Expeditions, and Noelle LeVeaux, CMO of Visit Dallas. They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and reporter Dan Peltier.

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The Invention of Online Travel, and How it Changed The Future Of Travel Forever

Travel went online 20 years ago, and the industry was never the same.

The new Definitive Oral History of Online Travel, researched and written by Skift news editor Dennis Schaal, features never-before-published stories from the early days that include a surprising amount of back-room drama.

Luckily, Schaal recorded the interviews with early players including Expedia founder Rich Barton, Priceline founder Jay Walker, Expedia, Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi,  TripAdvisor CEO and co-founder Stephen Kaufer, and Alex Zoghlin, the first employee of Orbitz.

This week on the Skift podcast, Schaal joins host Hannah Sampson — and audio clips from several of those interviews — to talk about the oral history, what surprised him about the project, and what innovations he thinks will shake up the industry next.

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Why New York’s High Line Became the Attraction Smart Cities Want

Anyone who knows New York City has probably heard of the High Line, a public park created out of an abandoned elevated rail line on Manhattan’s west side.

Fifteen years ago the elevated and abandoned railway was slated for demolition, but today, the High Line draws more than seven million visitors a year and is credited with sparking economic activity in the neighborhood worth billions of dollars. In addition to retail and restaurants, a new modern art museum and an outpost of the Standard Hotel chain act as additional anchors. Those numbers are inspiring cities around the world to develop similar “rails-to-trails” projects — or at least think twice before tearing down relics of the industrial past which could easily be turned into magnets for visitors and locals alike.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the creation of the High Line, its legacy and the quest to create the next big thing in parks.

Joining us is Adrian Benepe, who was the New York City parks commissioner when the High Line was being developed and first opened in 2009. He’s senior vice president and director of city park development at The Trust for Public Land now. We also welcome Meg Daly, founder and president of Friends of the Underline in Miami, which aspires to be a 10-mile linear park and urban trail.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and senior editor Greg Oates.

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The Relevance of Travel Media in an Age of Media Abundance

Today, travelers might still turn to a magazine for help planning a trip. But they are also likely to find inspiration in an Instagram post, Facebook feed, or reality TV show.

For travel publications, that means competition is growing and the days when efforts were focused on a monthly issue are long gone.

There are still subscribers and advertising revenues to consider for those who work in print, but also search engine results, mobile-optimized content, video content, branded content, user-generate content, and a whole universe of social media platforms to grasp.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the changing role of travel media, how publications are adapting to shifting consumer habits, and what that means to the travel industry as a whole.

Our guests this week are Nathan Lump, editor of Travel + Leisure, and Pavia Rosati, founder and CEO of the travel website Fathom. Both of them bring years of experience on both the print and digital side of travel media at multiple brands and startups.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and co-founder and head of content Jason Clampet.

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Busting The Myths Of Bad Travel Advice

What is it about travel that encourages such bad advice from so-called experts? And what is it about the travel industry that makes it so susceptible to confusion?

Fortunately, there is common knowledge and then there is reality. On this episode of the Skift podcast, we welcome some travel experts to help us bust myths, check facts, and answer frequently asked questions about an industry that too often benefits from consumers’ confusion.

Our guests this week are George Hobica, the founder of Airfarewatchdog, who has written extensively about deals, loyalty, and industry trends, and Scott Mayerowitz, the Enterprise Airlines Reporter at Associated Press, where he reports on both airlines and the travel industry at large.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and reporter Dan Peltier.

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What Do The World’s Wealthiest Travelers Want?

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about what it takes for travel companies to reach the 1 percent — and keep them happy.

Luxury travel is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry. From packages that offer round-the-world travel for brands such as Four Seasons, Abercrombie & Kent, National Geographic, and others, to a suite of luxury properties in New York, London, Dubai, and other destinations. But it’s not without its bumps, of course. Challenges in Russia have led to downturns in markets including London and Miami, and the price of oil has led to more restraint in the Gulf states, as well as destinations where oil money fueled expansion.

We are joined by Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal Cruises, which is growing fast and venturing beyond ships. Also with us is Doug Gollan, co-founder of Elite Traveler magazine, who writes about ultra-high-net-worth individuals and consults with companies trying to get more business from the very rich.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and senior editor Greg Oates.

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When Everything Is An Adventure, What Happens to Adventure Travel?

More than a quarter of U.S. travelers are adventurers or adventure enthusiasts, according a survey from the Adventure Travel Trade Association. But that doesn’t mean they’re all rock climbing and cave diving.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about who can claim to be an adventure traveler, how the word is used (or overused, in our guest’s opinion), and how social media is a blessing and curse for operators.

We are joined by Bruce Poon Tip, founder and CEO of G Adventures. Also with us is Casey Hanisko, VP of marketing for the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

They join Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson and editor Andrew Sheivachman.

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Do Tourism Slogans Matter In Modern Marketing?

The tourism marketing slogan presents challenges.

Like any other brand that tries to sell its benefits with a catchy phrase, destinations have to grab consumers’ attention and get an idea stuck in their brain so the next time they start planning a trip to someplace historic, Greece’s “All Time Classic” may be stuck in their head or when they want to hit the beach, they think Fort Lauderdale’s “Hello Sunny.”

But for every iconic slogan like “I Love New York” there are examples like Edinburgh’s “Incrediburgh” or Ohio’s new “Find It Here” that miss the mark.

Luckily that’s not a problem for this week’s Skift Podcast guests. We are joined by Virginia Tourism Corporation President & CEO Rita McClenny. Virginia lays claim to “Virginia Is for Lovers,” which has served the state well for 47 years and has become one of the more iconic taglines in all of advertising. We are also joined by Arnie DiGeorge, Executive Creative Director of R&R Partners‘ Las Vegas account, which was behind what is also becoming an iconic tagline, “What Happens Here, Stays Here.”

This week Skift co-founder Jason Clampet sits in for Hannah Sampson. He’s joined by Skift editor Andrew Sheivachman.

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