This 90-minute SGF opening event will feature each speaker in discussion with Skift CEO and founder Rafat Ali, and editor-in-chief, Tom Lowry. We’ll cover the future of the industry and opportunities for travel out of this crisis with Barry Diller, and then address the pandemic’s impact and potential paths forward for testing or a vaccine with author Laurie Garrett. For the second half of this opening event, we’ll explore the strategies to adapt to this new remote work world with Darren Murph and close with stories of three small business founders in travel from across the globe who have had to manage and adapt to this crisis.
Tourism is at the heart of the pandemic’s impact on travel and as destinations face a daunting challenge of balancing demand, safety, suppliers, and economic growth, the big question is: what will this next decade look like? In this deep dive, we will hear from destinations, marketing experts, and operators who are planning for travel’s return and the constant shift in traveler interests.
Consumer behavior in recent years has increasingly demanded new integrations of technology, data, personalization, AI, and mobile-first approaches in the travel industry. This crisis has only increased the need for that shift and as companies work rapidly to re-architect their backend systems and finally enter the 21st century. Though the costs and hurdles involved in building these systems are significant, it’s clear that the ones that are able to successfully connect our digital, always-on world with travel’s inherently physical attributes will emerge as leaders in the industry out of this crisis. Join us as we hear from leaders who are imaging the future of travel and their companies through this transformation at scale.
Beyond safety and cleanliness, technology that has existed for years in the travel industry is now coming to the forefront as we enter a new standard of contactless travel. Re-imagining the end-to-end travel experience for a post-pandemic world, suppliers across the industry are now tasked with seamlessly connecting every touch point, from booking to transit to stays, in an efficient, low-contact manner. In the end, it’s about improving the human travel experience and the ways in which contactless will accelerate the industry’s shift to a traveler-first, consumer-centric mindset, giving rise to more choice and replacing outdated systems. It won’t be easy, but through this deep dive, Skift will present both new research and editorial interviews with the leading minds driving the contactless experience forward.
In addition to brand trust, loyalty and incentivizing travel out of this crisis may be one of the key factors for consumers as they consider traveling again. Or will it? More than just a tool for earning points, loyalty is entering a new era for airlines, hotels, and credit cards alike, as they react quickly to keep consumers engaged, capitalize on future travel aspiration, and reconsider what value they may bring through guest experience once travel does return. It’s the Wild West of loyalty right now, and almost anything goes as travel brands test the waters with consumers in a race to remain relevant.
Will business travel ever return to pre-Covid levels or has the way we work virtually changed so dramatically that companies will completely change the way they book corporate travel? Will new opportunities open up for remote work and managed travel? Not all business travel is equal and a significant amount is non-discretionary, so many feel this sector has resilience, but it will shift. While leisure travel needs to return first, it’s clear that the future of business travel will weigh heavily on the entire industry’s future; from air travel, to travel advisors, hospitality, and loyalty. This deep dive will explore the latest thinking and posits on where corporate travel may change and how the broader industry will need to adapt with it.