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November 15, 2016
Posted by: Michele Smith, Senior Vice President, Vistatec

I had the recent opportunity to attend the Skift Global Forum in NYC where the overarching theme was that we as humans crave experiences and human interaction. There is a quote floating around the travel scene that ‘traveling leaves you speechless and tells a story.’ Everyone is now looking to ‘experience’ and to then tell and share their story with friends, family, and co-workers.

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When I think of this I always go back to the 5 Steps of travel that was put together by 'Google' with the thought in mind of Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Experiencing, & Sharing.

The Skift Global Forum and the speakers took that concept to the next level to talk about what that really means five years from now and how technology seems to be the key component to creating these experiences.

It was interesting to see the Skift's travel tech ecosystem visualization, (which is a visual map with the traveler at the center) showing where companies are categorized in the travel cycle. In reading this map it can get complicated but to put in into simple terms it is showing that travelers are looking for more experiences with hotels, airlines, & cruise lines and when given the choice to customize, consumers will and are craving the opportunity to do so. Therefore for the OTAs and travellers in the world the experience of being able to see full seat details, and what type of aircraft they are flying in has suddenly become very important to the overall human experience and this is a trend that is not going away.

This ties into the ease of experience, of checking into the hotel with your mobile app, allowing consumers to choose their room location prior to arriving at the hotel, as well as creating that luxury lifestyle vacation with which we start the dreaming process.

There were several key speakers that spoke about this path and how they were seeing this trend for the travel consumers to want more and to be able to experience more.

The highlight of the show was the opportunity to participate and be featured in the Skift Traveler Manifesto as a 'Super Traveler' where Skift sees super travelers as a mirror to the larger changes happening in consumer behavior, especially digital habits and how they get reflected and fulfilled in travel.

It was pleasure working with CEO and Founder Rafat Ali and the Skift team and to be featured as a 'Super Traveler'. I always enjoy anything that this group of people put together and the forum allowed me to network and meet with other C-level executives to talk about the challenges and the innovation in travel.

I look forward to attending the European version of Skift in London this coming April.​