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.


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.


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.



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.





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.





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.





Are You Ready for the Next Wave of Chinese Travelers?

China had roughly 130 million outbound travelers last year — that’s more a third of the entire population of the U.S. — and the number is only expected to grow. Add growing domestic tourism and it’s no wonder major players in the travel industry are clamoring for a piece of the market.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re discussing Chinese travelers, what they want, who is trying to deliver it and what it all means to the rest of the world.

Joining us are Adam Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises. The company is sending a brand new ship to Tianjin in June; it will be the fifth Royal Caribbean ship based in China. We also have Michael Zakkour, a consultant at Tompkins International here in New York who co-authored the book China’s Super Consumers: What 1 Billion Customers Want and How to Sell it to Them.

They’re here with Skift podcast host Hannah Sampson, alongside Skift editor Andrew Sheivachman.



How Business Travel Is Trying to Become More Traveler-Friendly

In 2016, business travel spending is expected to increase to $1.25 trillion. It’s a massive industry that’s going through big changes: Safety is a top concern because of world events, and even while companies want to control costs, surveys show they care more than ever about traveler satisfaction.

Helping us sort through what’s real, what’s hype and what’s important in business travel is Mike McCormick, Executive Director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association, and Evan Konwiser, VP Digital Traveler for American Express Global Business Travel.

The guests are joined by Skift Podcast host Hannah Sampson and news editor Dennis Schaal.



Creating a Better City With Bike Shares And Smart Payments

For this episode we’re focusing again on cities and talking to our friends at MasterCard about how technology companies are looking to urban areas to develop smarter, more seamless environments.

In the first part of this podcast, we tackled how to create the smarter city for tourists and locals alike. In this week’s followup, we discuss smarter and more efficient bike-share programs, how wise cities set aside politics for transportation progress, and the ways contactless payments make everything easier for tourists.

Joining us is Hany Fam, a 20-year veteran of MasterCard and its President of Enterprise Partnerships, and Seth Schultz, Director of Research, Measurement & Planning at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Skift co-founder Jason Clampet is back, too, sitting in for host Hannah Sampson alongside Senior Editor Greg Oates.