Skift Data & AI Summit 2024: The Next Wave in Travel Innovation

Event Recap

Published: June 6, 2024

Updated: June 7, 2024

Discover insights from the Skift Data & AI Summit 2024, where travel industry leaders explored the transformative power of data and AI. Learn about the latest trends and how Gangverk can help you harness these technologies to revolutionize your business.

Unleashing the Power of Data and AI in Travel

On June 4th, 2024, leaders and innovators from across the travel industry gathered in New York City for the Skift Data & AI Summit. This groundbreaking event brought together data and AI experts, as well as data-driven commercial leaders from various travel sectors, to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the industry.

Event Overview

The summit featured well-organized sessions with speakers from Marriott, KAYAK, Expedia, KLM Airlines, and venture capitalists from Thayer, who invested in Sonder. Attendees experienced demos of working applications like “Ask KAYAK,” along with discussions on potential applications and trends.

Ask KAYAK Beta Feature on


Ask KAYAK Beta Feature on

With the growing trend towards First Party Data and owning your data, there was significant interest in developing solutions for amassing “Zero Party Data.” This data is voluntarily offered by users, such as when submitting a photo for a review or providing an email address.

"The level of innovation we saw from all the presenters was very impressive. We’re excited about the vast amount of opportunities that AI has opened up."-Jeff Galusha

Key Highlights and Insights

Zero Party Data and Gen Z

Stephanie Daniel, CEO of Legends, discussed the importance of Zero Party Data. Her company encourages customers to connect their photo albums, calendars, and other personal information. Research shows that 83% of Gen Z travelers are willing to share their information in exchange for discounts and travel perks, highlighting a massive opportunity within the travel industry. More insights can be found on the Travel Tech Insider Podcast - Exploring AI in Travel.

AI in Conversational Assistants

The most common AI applications at the conference were conversational assistants and itinerary travel planners. Some attendees voiced concerns about AI replacing human travel advisors. However, the sentiment pointed towards AI assisting travel advisors rather than replacing them. The complexities around travel and the value of human concierges make complete replacement unlikely in the short term. This perspective aligns with the Skift article "Meet Your New AI Assistant," which discusses the potential and limitations of AI in travel.

Plum Guide's AI-Driven Success

Plum Guide's CCO, Graham Foulds, presented their AI-driven content curation and inspection system. Using their historical data to train their content engine, they significantly increased their go-to-market strategy by over 50%, and their NPS score hit an all-time peak. This success led customers to frequently ask if their chat representatives were real people or bots, to which the answer is both.

Destination Canada's Data Initiative

Meaghan Ferrigno from Destination Canada discussed the Canadian Tourism Data Collective. This initiative works with 40 Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and serves over 200,000 businesses. They source and standardize data from multiple organizations, providing census-quality tourism data and saving over 500 business days of labor through AI. The data quality assurance process, assisted by AI, ensures that organizations can now act on high-quality, integrated data. Ferrigno emphasized that "better data leads to better insights, which results in better decisions," underscoring the importance of investing in strong data foundations.

Gangverk's Perspective

Jeff Galusha, Gangverk’s Head of Sales (Travel & Hospitality), shared his experience: “The level of innovation we saw from all the presenters was very impressive. We’re excited about the vast amount of opportunities that AI has opened up. We understand that the foundational layer of good data is important to get right as the old adage goes, garbage in, garbage out. We look forward to helping the travel industry lead the way.”

The Path Forward: Realizing the Power of Data and AI

The Skift Data & AI Summit underscored the critical role of a strong data foundation in unlocking the full potential of AI. Companies that invest in high-quality, integrated data across sources and teams will be better positioned to train AI models effectively and stay ahead of the competition.

At Gangverk, we are committed to empowering organizations through strategic and technological solutions. Whether you are in the travel industry or any other sector, we invite you to reach out to us to discover how we can help you navigate the complex landscape of data and AI, revolutionizing your customer experience and ensuring your business's success.



Jaki Levy

Business Development

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