For our first conference, we gathered 25 speakers, seven moderators, 10 sponsors and nearly 400 attendees who are passionate about travel.
Topics ranged across strategy, marketing, tech, and digital, and tried to both inform and inspire the crowd. We published a series of posts with top quotes from each speaker that made us think.
On Twitter, #skiftforum generated conversations one day before the event and is still taking place after its close. More than 3,000 tweets were published related to the event. Here’s a quick recap:
Reporters like Michelle Grant from Euromonitor (a Skift content partner) was the most active person on Twitter through her real-time coverage. Other guests rose to the social occasion and included Nicole Merrill, Travel Writer; Matt Stiker, CMO, cityPASS; and Lauren Knudsen, J Public Relations, as well as Henry Harteveldt for hosting three conversations with Marty St. George, SVP, Commercial, JetBlue; Kevin Krone, Chief Marketing Officer, Southwest; as well as Ben Orson, Managing Director, JPA Design who spoke at the Forum and live tweeted between sessions.
— Michelle Grant (@EMI_MichelleG) October 8, 2014
One of our early morning speakers, Sree Sreenivasan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art rallied the Twitter storm before, during, and after his presentation about reinventing attractions and museums for the digital age. He put together a photo gallery tweet of the program and his opinion about the overall look and feel of the conference.
— Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) October 9, 2014
— Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) October 9, 2014
The guests stood in the lobby where our sponsors like MasterCard, Gogo, CheapOair, cityPASS, and Boxever had their booths.
Technically, this is an Instagram post, but since it was auto-fed to Twitter, we grabbed it anyway.
The two Damos reunited at the #SkiftForum…it’s only been 4 years @damienzou! Good to see you buddy! #TimesCenter #TimesSquare #NYC.
This was the crowd right before the first session started.
— Rafat Ali (@rafat) October 9, 2014
After Phil McAveety, Chief Brand Officer, Starwood Hotels and Resorts; Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Fred Reid, Founding CEO, Virgin America spoke, Wendy Perrin, TripAdvisor’s Travel Advocate tweeted about her take on our conference. It got retweeted and repurposed so much on social that guests were describing it to us verbally.
— Wendy Perrin (@wendyperrin) October 9, 2014
Following this presentation, Christopher Nurko, Global Chairman of FutureBrand deconstructed the elements of the 1960s cartoon show, “The Jetsons” and hit the crowd with eight insights into the millennial mind.
— Skift (@skift) October 9, 2014
The second half of the morning session continued with talks about destinations and tourism boards’ evolving role in corporate responsibility and reaching locals and international travelers. It ended with the backstory of Southwest Airline’s branding story before breaking for lunch.
During a sit-down meal sponsored by Amadeus, Nick Gray, Founder of MuseumHack blew away the audience by presenting a disruptive alternative of experiencing art in the most unassuming and most impressionable way. Melanie Panton at Hearst was struck by MuseumHack’s presentation.
— Melanie Panton (@MelaniePanton) October 9, 2014
Throughout the day, guests were connecting with each other on Twitter and meeting during the breaks. TheDesignAir (another Skift content partner) was a huge fan of Christopher Nurko’s slide and later its brand connected with him and tweeted a shoutout.
— TheDesignAir (@thedesignair) October 9, 2014
The afternoon sessions were focused on deepening customer experience, maximizing actionable insights from large data points, and the future of transactions. Towards the middle of the afternoon, creative storytelling, and airline and hotel design were also topics discussed. Dae Mellencamp, President of Vimeo opened the second half with a visually arresting video. Attendees like Robert Patterson at MMGY Global, marveled over it and sought the link out to share it with the rest of us.
— Robert Patterson (@robertpatterson) October 9, 2014
After this video, the Twitter activity peaked again. The audience’s attention was sustained for the last half of the afternoon and reached another climax when Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality, Airbnb, quoted Ghandi. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” was the quote that had drove social activity up because it was contentious.
Drawing parallels between Ghandi's struggle with AirBnb's is a bit of a stretch. #skiftforum
— Gillian Morris (@gillianim) October 9, 2014
Skift co-founders Rafat Ali and Jason Clampet returned to the stage and ended the conference by giving their thanks and left the audience with a video that represented the passion behind Skift. Although Ali told the crowd they didn’t have to stay for this video, they watched and tweeted about their experience.
— Suzanne Howley (@suzannehowley) October 9, 2014
The following day, our conference was still fresh on attendees’ minds. It is quite a compliment to read tweets that likened our conference to TED and SXSW. With that said, we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.
TED meets SXSW. Leaders across all segments of the travel industry sharing insight in one room for one day. Brilliant! #skiftforum
— Kim Gray (@kimberlyanngray) October 10, 2014