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Skift Global Forum 2015 opens today.

We wanted to build something that showed the business and creative potential of the world’s largest industry. Take a day or two out, come, sit back, and listen, and we will promise you the best creative brainfood for the year.

This is year two, and we have grown exponentially since last year. The 2014 event was one day and 400 people, while today is two days and 800 people.

The people who will take the stage today and tomorrow are a showcase of the industry’s most creative, curious, and compelling voices; people who think about the future as much as we do every day. The audience is just as creative, too.

We work very hard with each speaker to get the best talk out of them — literally hours and hours are spent with each speaker. Last year there were 25 speakers and this year we have 37, spread over two days, each a rapid-fire session to keep the talk distilled to the best learnings out of it.

Where to Follow It

If you want to experience it live, we’ll see you at next year’s event. We’ll also be posting videos and excerpts of the event on over the coming months.

For today, we will have extensive editorial coverage of the Forum sessions and social activity.

  • For online coverage, go here on We’ll be posting highlights from each session.
  • For social coverage on Twitter or Instagram, check out the hashtag of the Forum #skiftforum. We’ll also be retweeting social activity through our Twitter feed.

The full schedule for the Forum is below:

October 14th Schedule
Session TitleStart TimeEnd TimeDescription
Doors & Registration Open7:30 AM
Breakfast7:45 AM8:30 AM
The Fault Lines of Disruption In The Global Travel Industry9:00 AM9:30 AMOpening Introduction by Rafat Ali, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Skift
Reversing Your POV: A New Perspective on Hospitality9:30 AM9:50 AMMark Hoplamazian, President, Chief Executive Officer
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Future of Tourism Marketing for Iconic Tourism Brands9:50 AM10:05 AMFred Dixon, President, Chief Executive Officer
NYC & Company
The Happiness Halo: The Unexpected Benefits From Applying Behavioral Science to Experience Design10:05 AM10:25 AMRick Wise, Chief Executive Officer
Understanding the Socio-Cultural Impact of Travel on Societies10:25 AM10:45 AMGeoffrey Kent, Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Abercrombie & Kent
Moderator: Wendy Perrin, Founder,
Networking Break10:45 AM11:05 AMSponsored by Yahoo!
Special11:05 AM11:15 AMHate Selling: A Love Story
A Sketch by Skift Comedy Troupe
Building a Travel Company Using Crowd Funding11:15 AM11:30 AMDiego Saez-Gil, Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder
Loudsourcing, the Inside World of Online Reviews11:30 AM11:45 AMCamilla Vasquez, Ph.D., Discourse Analyst & Sociolinguist
University of South Florida
Why the Right Kind of Travel Agent Survived and Thrived11:45 AM12:05 PMMatthew Upchurch, Chief Executive Officer
Brand Talk
Sponsored by: MasterCard
12:05 PM12:20 PMTo Make Cities Better and To Make Better Cities
Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer
Lunch Break12:30 PM2:00 PMWorkshop sponsored by: Mindtree
The Connected Traveler: How Digital is Transforming the Traveler Experience
Paul Gottsegen, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Mindtree
Scott Nason, Travel, Transportation and Hospitality Consultant and Retired Vice President, American Airlines
Reinventing The Business of Tours For the Experiential Travel2:00 PM2:20 PMDarrell Wade, Chief Executive Officer
Intrepid Group
Moderator: Jason Clampet, Co-Founder, Head of Content, Skift
The Future of City Branding2:20 PM2:40 PMIssam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer
Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing
Art, Culture & the Experience Economy: Learning is the New Luxury2:40 PM2:55 PMCraig Greenberg, President and Alice Gray Stites, VP, Museum Director
21c Museum Hotels
Why Visuals are the New Language of Engagement for Consumers2:55 PM3:10 PMJeremy Jauncey, Founder
Beautiful Destinations
Brand Talk
Sponsored by: Adobe
3:10 PM3:20 PMCreating the Next Golden Age of Travel
Michael Klein, Head of Industry Strategy, Travel & Retail, Adobe
Networking Break3:20 PM3:40 PMSponsored by National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
Building an Airport for the Future of Travel3:40 PM3:55 PMKim Day, Chief Executive Officer
Denver International Airport
Building a Culturally Relevant Brand By Changing The Cultural Discussion3:55 PM4:20 PMJonathan Mildenhall, Chief Marketing Officer
Moderator: Rafat Ali, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Skift
Brand Talk
Sponsored by: Amadeus
4:20 PM4:30 PMA Conversation About the Future of Travel
Scott Alvis, Chief Marketing Officer, Amadeus and Rafat Ali, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Skift
Why Conversion is the Most Important Metric in Travel4:30 PM4:55 PMPaul Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer
Moderator: Dennis Schaal, News Editor, Skift
Closing Remarks4:55 PM5:00 PMRafat Ali, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Jason Clampet, Co-Founder, Head of Content, Skift
VIP Cruise5:30 PM9:00 PMSponsored by Hornblower Cruises, Adobe & SapientNitro
*Ticket Holders Only*


October 15th Schedule
Session TitleStart TimeEnd TimeDescription
Doors & Registration Open7:30 AM
Breakfast7:45 AM8:30 AM
Day One Recap and Day Two Introductions9:00 AM9:30 AM
How to Build an Airline Brand by Not Participating in the Premium Rat Race9:30 AM9:50 AMCraig Kreeger, Chief Executive Officer
Virgin Atlantic
Moderator: Henry Harteveldt, Founder, Atmosphere Research Group
Why Obsessing Over Details is the Only Way to Build a Hospitality Brand9:50 AM10:10 AMIvanka Trump, Executive Vice President
Trump Organization
Moderator: Greg Oates, Senior Editor, Skift
Building a Tourism Brand Around Big Events (World Cup & Olympics)10:10 AM10:30 AMVinicius Lummertz, President
Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur)
Moderator: Jason Camplet, Co-Founder, Head of Content, Skift
Networking Break10:30 AM10:50 AM
Reinventing Cruises Through Exclusivity and Customization10:50 AM11:05 AMEdie Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, President
Crystal Cruises
The Right Way to Talk to Different Demographics Across the Guest Journey11:05 AM11:25 AMEric Pearson, Chief Information Officer
InterContinental Hotels Group
On the Importance of Middle America that Travel Brands Ignore11:25 AM11:40 AMJosh Lesnick, Chief Marketing Officer
Wyndham Hotel Group
Changed Nature of Travel PR & Communications in a Digital First World11:40 AM12:05 PMKevin Shinkle, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer
Delta Air Lines
Nancy J. Friedman, Founder & President
Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations
Moderator: Rafat Ali, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Skift
Brand Talk
Sponsored by: Travel Channel
12:05 PM12:15 PMMoving Images: Upping the Creative Game in Travel Video
Ross Babbit, Senior Vice President, Programming
Travel Channel
Lunch12:30 PM2:00 PMWorkshop sponsored by: Underline Communications
Engaging Travelers with Personalized Messaging
Luke Daigle, Principal & Creative Director, Underline Communications
Brian Lenhart, Director, Digital Marketing, American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services
The Growth Hacks that Turned Startups into Giants2:00 PM2:15 PMSasha Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer
Fuzzy Compass
Gillian Morris, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
The Evolution of the Travelogue, 1950’s and Into the Future2:15 PM2:35 PMChris Collins, Co-Founder/Executive Producer
Zero Point Zero
Why Dining and Food is the Next Frontier of Disruption in Travel2:35 PM2:50 PMGreg Hong, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
On the Growing Global Community of Black Travelers2:50 PM3:10 PMZim Ugochukwu, Founder
Travel Noire
Brand Talk
Sponsored by: Criteo
3:10 PM3:20 PMHow the Mobile Revolution is Disrupting the Travel Industry
James Smith, Executive Vice President, Americas
Networking Break3:20 PM3:40 PMSponsored by Sabre
Emerging Worlds of Corporate and Leisure Travel3:40 PM4:00 PMNinan Chacko, Chief Executive Officer
Travel Leaders Group
Moderator: Andrew Sheivachman, Reporter, Skift
Digital Habits of Air Travelers and What Brands can Learn From Them4:00 PM4:25 PMMichael Small, Chief Executive Officer
Moderator: Henry Harteveldt, Founder, Atmosphere Research Group
Creative Chaos: The New Future of Travel4:25 PM4:45 PMNick Gray, Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Museum Hack and Company
Closing Remarks from Skift Founders4:45 PM5:00 PMRafat Ali, Chief Executive Officer and Jason Clampet, Head of Content
Closing Reception5:00 PM6:00 PMSponsored by Gogo\

And thanks to all the sponsors that made the Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.