Skift Take

Our storytelling ambitions at Skift are growing bigger, and this year we've leaned into these big editorial projects in a big way. The key animating function for us is understanding the big picture around travel that you otherwise won't read in other travel or mainstream media. Expect deeper reporting from us over the coming year as well.

Journalistically, 2016 has been a landmark year for Skift. Our storytelling ambitions around travel and its place in the world are growing bigger.

Our coverage grew exponentially and the editorial and research teams took on more than ever before. These are our biggest projects from 2016 that helped us define the future of travel. Look for more before the year is out, and great things to come in 2017 as well.

» The Definitive History of Online Travel 
Executive Editor Dennis Schaal spent four months doing exhaustive interviews with legendary online travel founders for this unprecedented, book-length piece of reporting. But really, it was 20 years in the making, and Schaal’s career breaking news about online travel brought it all to light in 65,000 words. Read it here.


» Mapping The Travel Tech Ecosystem: Skift Travel Tech 250
Skift’s research department, headed by Research Director Luke Bujarski, created our first travel industry mapping project. Its goal? To demystify and dejargonify the travel industry. This new map identified and characterized the 250 most influential travel brands on the market today, based on two months of data-mining and years of tracking the industry. Read it here.


» The Supertraveler Manifesto: What Supertravelers Want From the Travel Industry
This research-editorial project took an unapologetic look at how the travel industry is failing its most experienced and loyal customers, and suggested a historical solution in the form of The Hero’s Journey. This humanist approach has roots in ancient ideas, but to apply it to the modern-day travel industry feels revolutionary. Read it here.


» Travel Is Now the Geopolitical Center of the World. Deal With It.
At this year’s Skift Global Forum, Founder and CEO Rafat Ali declared that travel is now the geopolitical center of the world, and it’s about time the industry started acting like it. Every geopolitical issue has travel at its heart: Zika, Brexit, human migration, global warming, and so much more. Read it here.


» Iceland and the Trials of 21st Century Tourism
Skift sent reporter Andrew Sheivachman to Iceland for a week to investigate overtourism in a country that crash-landed onto the travel scene after the 2008 global recession. He interviewed the country’s top tourism executives, toured the hot spots, and worked for the next month solid — the result was a 12,000-word deep dive that examined this volatile travel market, warts and all. Read it here.


» A Full Year of Marriott-Starwood Coverage
Associate Editor Deanna Ting lives and breathes the hospitality industry — her exhaustive, news-breaking coverage of the epic Marriott-Starwood merger defined our hospitality coverage in 2016. With the merger’s incredible complexities and unexpected twists, Ting dove into every aspect, and her Marriott-Starwood stories were among our most popular all year. Read them here.


» Future of Passenger Experience: International Airline CEO Series
Reporter Brian Sumers covers the aviation industry from Los Angeles, and in this project he asked the CEOs of major airlines outside the U.S. some difficult questions, among them: How can airlines actually satisfy their weary, sometimes-cynical customers? These interviews include the CEOs of Emirates, Etihad, Norwegian Air, Virgin Australia, and more. Read them here.


» Corporate Travel CEO Listening Series
Associate Editor Hannah Sampson and Reporter Andrew Sheivachman interviewed top executives in corporate travel to gather insights on how corporate travel impacts and lags behind the rest of the industry. Furthermore, these interviews examine how travel management companies can improve the business traveler’s experience without ignoring the bottom line, and where the industry can find inspiration. Read them here.


» What Keeps CMOs Up At Night? A Skift Interview Series
Members of the editorial team conducted one-on-one interviews with 25 chief marketing officers at major travel brands, and they opened up about their fears, mistakes, and most valuable lessons. These interviews include CMOs from JetBlue, Etihad, Wyndham, Hilton, Hyatt, and more. Read them here.


» The Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016: Skift Magazine, Issue 3
This annual package illuminates 15 big-picture megatrends for the upcoming year in global travel, and 2016 was a big one. Among the most prophetic was our analysis that the direct-booking and distribution conflicts were reaching full bloom, and the fact that the industry finally adopted a 360-degree view of the contemporary traveler. Read it here.


» DATA DECK: The State of Global Travel 2016
Assessing the state of global travel was a tall order, but our research department was up to the challenge. Using mountains of data, we wrote over 130 pages, drawing from our daily editorial coverage and network of expert data analysts to examine all corners of the industry. Read it here.

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Tags: ceo interviews, iceland, marriott, otas, overtourism, starwood, supertravelers

Photo Credit: Skift's Definitive Oral History of Online Travel was the largest of a number of in-depth series and stories this year.

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