The 10 Most Impactful Skift Events

Skift Take

We’ve hosted countless programs around the world, so choosing just 10 was not an easy task. Here are some of our favorites from over the years.

Known as the leading creative business events in the global travel industry, our Forums bring together global travel executives to celebrate the moments that inspired us, share the insights we’ve gained and ideate the innovation to come – through an unmatched series of interviews, panels, workshops, networking and more.

Back in 2014, our first-ever event Skift Global Forum gathered 250 attendees for one day in NYC. As we look forward to this year’s Global Forum – anticipating three times the attendees and days of programming – it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. Not only in attendance numbers, but also as a team. That first conference was organized by a lean-but-mean team of just 14, which has since grown to 60, hosting 10+ annual events around the world with over 20,000 alumni attendees.

As you may have heard, we’re celebrating 10 Years of Skift this month. In honor of this milestone anniversary, here’s a look back at our 10 most impactful Skift events. Cue all the nostalgia.

2015: Skift Global Forum 

With over 800 attendees and 37 incredible speakers convening for two days in an industrial corner of Brooklyn, Skift Global Forum 2015 upped attendance by almost 70% from the previous year and doubled the amount of programming. This was the first event to really set the stage for the huge productions SGF would become.

2016: Skift Global Forum

Skift Global Forum 2016 took place at the magnificent Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. Attendees hailed from over 450+ leading companies in travel and technology. We also introduced a slew of new onstage formats, including more one-to-one Q&As, larger panels and audience Q&A time for all sessions, which we still include in every forum both in-person and online today.

2017: Skift Forum Europe

After three successful Skift Global Forum gatherings in New York City, we decided to expand to other key regions of the world, starting with Europe. In April 2017, we hosted our first-ever Skift Forum Europe in London – bringing together the same mix of business, tech, and creative executives folks had come to expect from our events. This time with a European focus, of course. Looking at big-picture issues defining the future of travel in Europe. 400 attendees and 22 amazing speakers – 15 of whom were CEOs from major travel companies – drew inspiration from one another at this incredible 1-day inaugural event.

2018: Skift Forum Europe

Coming off the heels of a fantastic first Skift Forum Europe, we returned to the region the following year to keep the tradition alive – in the vibrant city of Berlin.  Taking the stage were speakers like Airbnb Managing Director For Europe, Middle East, and Africa, the CEO of Thomas Cook Group, and the Global Brand Officer for Marriott International – discussing the challenges, trends, and opportunities ahead for marketing travel more seamlessly across the worldly spectrum. 

2018: Skift Tech Forum 

Skift Tech Forum was the first of its kind. In June 2018, we took over Silicon Valley to talk all things tech. We met with 20+ all-star executives from iconic companies like Hilton, United and Kayak to discuss personalization opportunities, distribution, and digital strategies. 

2019: Skift Forum Asia

In 2019, our sixth year of hosting Skift Forums, we took our programming around the world – quite literally to the other side of the world: Singapore.  Skift Forum Asia was certainly one for the books, held at the incredible Equarius Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa, with high-level executives and travel-minded folks from 120 companies. All came together to listen in as 20+ onstage speakers participated in a mix of TED-style talks and fireside chats with Skift moderators.

2019: Skift Forum Europe

Despite the many issues facing humanity, tourism continues to expand at an impressive speed. International arrivals are increasing 6 per cent in 2018, hitting the 1.4 billion mark, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

It’s both an impressive and alarming figure, given how fast the middle class is growing in countries like China and India.

That’s one of the reasons why we entitled 2019 Skift Forum Europe: Defining the Future of Responsible Travel. With that in mind, we discussed key trends that were shaping travel at that moment, like tourism costs, benefits, collaborative approach opportunities, and how information empowers the everyday tourist. 

2019: Short-Term Rental Summit 

In 2019, we brought together leaders in the rapidly-expanding short-term rental ecosystem for our first-ever Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in NYC. This highly successful sold-out event was a hit with our audience, who joined us for a day of deep-dives, data presentations, tactical roundtables and networking breaks.

2021: Skift Global Forum

After a year-long break from in-person events, Skift Global Forum returned in-person (as well as online) in September 2022. We chose to host our comeback event in the awe-inspiring, jet-age classic TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport. Over 300 attendees joined us to hear global industry leaders discuss travel’s great comeback, making this Forum the most consequential in its history.

2022: Skift Forum Europe

Returning to London in person for the first time since 2019, Skift Forum Europe was back – and better than ever before. For the main event, we headed to the spacious new boutique Londoner Hotel in the heart of London’s West End, for 30+ insightful sessions, along with 200+ attendees to discuss what lies ahead for travel’s future in Europe, and ultimately to understand what consumers are seeking as the region reopened. 

What’s next?

SGF 2022:  September 19-21, The Glasshouse, NYC

Ready to see what all the Skift Live buzz is about firsthand? 

Join us in NYC on September 19-21 for our next and biggest event of the year – Skift Global Forum.  As you now know, this year marks 10 years of Skift – and with this huge anniversary, we’re planning to pull out all the stops. We already have an unmatched lineup, with speakers from top travel brands like Marriott, Disney, and Booking Holdings, among others, with a whole lot more to be announced.

Make no mistake: If you want to know where the industry is headed, SGF 2022 is not to be missed. See you in September!

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