GBTA Convention 2021 Sets The Pace For Business Travel’s Return

Industry comes together at event for the first time in over two years with a focus on business travel recovery as well as the future of work, sustainability, diversity and inclusivity, and wellness

Business travel is on the road to recovery, as evidenced by the forecasts, insights and turnout at the Global Business Travel Association’s 2021 Convention held last week in Orlando, FL.   

After navigating months of pandemic-related planning, the event—the world’s largest business travel expo annually—attracted over 3,500 registered professionals from more than 20 countries, and featured 170+ travel industry and expert speakers, 50 education sessions and 200+ exhibitors. The state of the industry, the future of work, sustainability, diversity, equality and inclusion, and wellness were prominent themes and topics of the convention, mirroring the evolution of the industry.  

“This was certainly a GBTA Convention like no other, in a year that’s been like no other. But what was clear is that we’re getting back to business and getting back to travel,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA. “There were challenges due to the pandemic, but I am delighted to say that the event surpassed our expectations especially in light of current circumstances. The convention marked a very positive step and we are now looking forward to our next in-person events such as the GBTA Europe in Berlin in December.” 

Industry forecasts, data and insights 

  • GBTA released its latest Business Travel Index 2021-2025 (made possible by HRS) revealing travel spending is forecast to surge in 2022 with full recovery expected in 2024–ending the year back to 2019 pre-pandemic global business travel spending levels of USD $1.4 trillion.   
  • The GBTA-CWT Global Business Travel Forecast 2022 showed global travel pricing increases are ahead–in 2022, flight prices are expected to rise 3.3%, hotel rates 13% and ground transportation 3.9%. This will be primarily driven by increasing demand, capacity constraints and travelers’ sustainability demands, plus increased labor and fuel costs.  
  • During GBTA Media Day, industry leaders announced news and industry firsts, while the GBTA Broadcast Studio hosted almost 40 executive interviews from some of the leading and most innovative companies in business travel and beyond. 

Recognizing outstanding GBTA contributors 

GBTA named its annual award winners and introduced a new association recognition: 

  • Direct Member of the Year Award winner: Carol Fergus, Global Travel Manager, Fidelity  
  • Allied Member of the Year Award winner: Gary Murakami, Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations, Teneo Hospitality Group 
  • President’s Award winners: The GBTA Bylaws and Ready Safe Travel Task Forces 
  • Dave Hilfman Leadership Scholarship winner: Beth Kinerk, Senior VP, Sales, Avis Budget Group, for this new award that will be given annually through 2023 

Looking ahead to 2022 

GBTA revealed its theme for 2022 including next year’s convention: “(Re)Connect, (Re)Imagine, (Re)Create.” Sign up to receive alerts about registration, sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities for GBTA Convention 2022, August 14-17 in San Diego, CA.  

Catch GBTA Convention 2021 on-demand  

There’s still an opportunity to access the best of Convention 2021 on-demand.  

  • Non-attendees can sign up for GBTA Convention Replay to view the five Main Stage sessions and 25 educations sessions from November 29 to January 28, 2022. 
  •  Registered attendees can watch anytime via the GBTA Convention app by going to “My Convention Planner,” clicking the session of their choice, and scrolling down to the “Handouts” section to view. 

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