Skift Global Forum, Day 1
Skift Global Forum, Day 1

For the second consecutive day on the Brooklyn waterfront, the Skift Global Forum is on. The “TED of travel,” as it’s been billed, has for the second year brought a collection of some of the top minds in travel to New York—and this year, the action is at Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse. It’s a tremendous space, in its second life as a venue after presumably sheltering ships and naval supplies. Today, beneath a deluge of natural light and a trickle of Skift yellow, big travel ideas are being shared.

Among the highlights for me from the Skift stage:

  • Geoffrey Kent, Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Abercrombie & Kent (Day 1) — Talked about the founding of Abercrombie & Kent, collaborating with the Kenyan government to ignite safari tourism, and how he handpicks guides for new destinations from his own travels (Palau is next)
  • Fred Dixon, President, Chief Executive Officer, NYC & Company (Day 1) — Talked about the process of marketing New York City and shared a killer Taylor Swift anecdote
  • Rick Wise, Chief Executive Officer of Lippincott (Day 1) — Talked about applying behavioral science to brand experience, specifically in regards to “afterglow” innovation (ex: Black Tomato tours gives departing guests credits for laundry service and takeout to ease the transition back home)
  • Jonathan Mildenhall, Chief Marketing Officer, Airbnb (Day 1) — Talked about Airbnb going forward and navigating demand on scale in the face of pushback
  • Paul Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer, (Day 1) — Talked about the Priceline family’s OTAs and couldn’t talk about other things; I like Paul, who I Iast met at the Booking Summit in Amsterdam
  • Ivanka Trump, Executive Vice President and simply Ivanka Trump, Trump Organization (Day 2) — Talked about her role at the hospitality giant and leveraging celebrity
  • Chris Collins, Co-Founder/Executive Producer, Zero Point Zero (Day 2) — Talked about introducing the world to its beloved Anthony Bourdain and the story of No Reservations
  • Zim Ugochukwu, Founder, Travel Noire (Day 2) — Talked about her incredible story, modestly about her incredible achievements and in tangible terms about the opportunity (missed so far) to engage travelers of color
  • Ninan Chacko, Chief Executive Officer, Travel Leaders Group (Day 2) — Talked eloquently to Skift reporter Andrew Sheivachman about the inherent humanity in travel and made, to me, a resounding case for the travel agent in today’s travel space
  • Michael Small, Chief Executive Officer, Gogo (Day 2) — Talked about in-flight Wi-Fi now and going forward as well as Gogo’s new 2ku Wi-Fi technology
  • Nick Gray, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Museum Hack and Company (Day 2) — Talked about a staggeringly elaborate and creative cruise experience he had with friends that inspired his group’s innovative take on museums; second act was a hilarious mini-musical about travel today


Update: It’s over. Skift Founder and CEO Rafat Ali just announced that the 2016 Skift Global Forum will likely be in this same space, which is good news for me. I had a great time, and I live 15 minutes away by foot. Thanks, Skift!


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