Telum Talks To… Raini Hamdi, Editor-at-Large, Skift (Singapore)

Raini Hamdi, Editor-at-Large at Skift, shares her insights on the future of the industry and what communication practitioners can do, with Telum.

  • Skift was set up with an aim to provide business intelligence on the shifts and the future trends in travel to the global travel industry. This has become essential today when people need the right type of news and information.
“Travel is one of the world’s largest industries… Yet, the coverage of travel as a business was still very old-school and was not anywhere near the depth or the width that such a consequential industry deserved. That is where we are right now.”
  • With the boundless spread of COVID-19, the travel industry has transformed drastically, and the industry went from over-tourism to no-tourism in no time at all. For Skift, when tourism came to a complete halt, instead of a dearth of news, the tourism narrative became overwhelmingly bigger.
“Even without COVID-19, there was a lot of cover because the industry was growing so fast and customer behaviours were changing so rapidly… (Travel bans) quickly became the norm and we were under rapid-fire – we still are – to cover the impact on all the sectors.”
  • Among many factors, Raini credits Skift’s editorial leadership for the publication managing the current COVID-19 crisis well.
“In short, I guess it is leadership, quick action on how best to serve the industry, all hands on deck, monitoring vigilantly the right news and simply by being useful – that’s how Skift has been managing the news.”
  • Though Skift covers negative news like closures, losses and layoffs, it reports on triumphs during this time as well. Raini explains that it is more important that they report on the good, bad and ugly – documenting accurately what is happening – with a mixture of scepticism and optimism.
“It is not our job to be cheerleaders of the industry, but it is also not our job to be negative. Our job is to tell the truth and to help the industry decipher the future of travel. I understand that it is hard for communications practitioners who want their clients featured positively, but there are opportunities being the first mover in understanding current trends is a key.”
  • Notwithstanding, Skift has been helping companies in the industry cope with the challenges that come with this tough period. Raini elaborated on Skift Research that carries out relevant and much needed studies and Skift X which does sponsored content like helping travel brands with the right messaging.
“We have also created a series of online summits, with the overarching theme: travel’s path forward. We had for example, Skift Airline Weekly and Skift’s Aviation Editors discussing and rethinking airline fleets, routes and loyalty. We are also taking the global forums… starting with the Skift Forum Europe.”

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