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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Carnival Corp. CEO on Exceeding Expectations

We had the opportunity to interview some of the travel industry’s top CEOs and other executives during the Skift Global Forum this year — so many, in fact, that we’re delivering some of those one-on-one discussions in the form of podcasts.

The first is from our talk with Arnold Donald, the CEO of the world’s largest cruise company, who also kicked off the forum this fall. He joined us behind the scenes in the Skift Take Studio to talk about Carnival Corporation’s efforts to reach new travelers, the company’s expansion into China, and what the future holds for cruising.

Donald 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.

 

 

 

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

The Serious Business of Modern Theme Parks

Roller coasters, thrill rides and life-sized cartoon characters might seem like child’s play, but theme parks are serious business.

According to an outlook from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, global theme park spending reached nearly $40 billion in 2014, and worldwide attendance topped 950 million.

North American companies are finding new audiences in burgeoning markets like China, and homegrown operators are investing overseas as well, even as top players in Orlando and California keep upping their game.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the business of theme parks: How they’re trying to reach broader audiences, use technology to personalize visits, and raise the bar in the park experience as they raise prices.

With us in the Skift office is Martin Lewison, a professor of management at Farmingdale State College in New York who studies the theme park industry. And joining us by Skype from Pasadena is Robert Niles, founder and editor of the website Theme Park Insider.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Black Travel Has Become a Movement

The travel industry has historically been dominated by white men, but over the past few years, travel companies created by and for black Americans have thrived.

Last year brought a flurry of media coverage of the burgeoning black travel movement thanks to groups including Nomadness Travel Tribe, Travel Noire, and an active social media community. But the challenges for black travelers haven’t disappeared, and the group is still underrepresented in leadership and media.

On this episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the contemporary black travel movement in the U.S., how it’s evolved, and what the future looks like for the community.

Our guests are Evita Robinson, founder of Nomadness Travel Tribe, a travel-centric community of more than 13,000 people, and Shannon Washington, co-founder and director of Parlour Magazine, which focuses on travel and style for black women.

They join associate editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson and editorial assistant Sarah Enelow.

 

 

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