Message From the Office of the GBTA President – February

*This post was originally sent as an email to GBTA members.*

Although February is the shortest month, at GBTA we still have a long list of things we are working on. Here are some of the major happenings.

GBTA Leadership Summit
We recently held the 15th Annual GBTA Leadership Summit in Portland, OR. The Summit was the largest ever, with more than 170 chapter and affiliate leaders in attendance. These volunteers from all parts of the country benefited from two exciting days of professional development and networking. I am excited to see the positive impact these leaders will have on their local chapters and affiliates.

New: GBTA Launches Podcast
GBTA will be launching a new podcast series beginning on March 7. Titled “The Business of Travel,” it will feature weekly episodes each containing several short interviews with industry experts and thought leaders on a range of key issues affecting the industry. More information on how to tune into our first podcast will be available shortly on the GBTA Blog.

State of the Industry

Seven years ago this month, we changed our name from the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). With that name change, we effectively broadened our mission from a domestic focus to an international scope. Making that change was a momentous decision.  As your current GBTA President, I am committed to strategically planning and focusing on the global aspect along with education to serve you best.

Today, the business travel marketplace has become truly global in scope and GBTA must continue to evolve to meet the everchanging needs of our members. GBTA will continue to support this global community with one single brand on our newly launched digital platform. This will enable us to deliver a consistently high-quality, customer experience to meet your needs no matter how you interact with GBTA.

Aviation Committees
Our volunteer committees continue to be active in identifying and addressing many of the key issues facing our industry. This month I want to highlight the work of our two Aviation Committees—one based in the United States and the other in Europe.

The Aviation Committees serve as GBTA’s primary mechanisms for gathering and disseminating information about business travel issues within the airline industry. As every travel buyer knows, effectively managing air travel expenditures can be very tricky. To help manage the process, the Committees will be launching a new and improved Airline Program Management Toolkit at this year’s Convention.

Formally known as the Airline RFP Toolkit, it is a comprehensive end-to-end program designed to help you manage your airline program more efficiently and strategically. The toolkit has been designed to assist in program performance and optimization regardless of the size of your program. Two separate sessions at Convention – both on Sunday, August 12 – will explain the toolkit in much more detail.  Be sure and mark your calendars as you will not want to miss these sessions!

The Committees also have developed a white paper titled “Clear to Land” as a guideline on the airline distribution changes in business travel. GBTA will offer a series of webinars prior to Convention to help members get up to speed on NDC before arriving in San Diego. Convention itself, will feature more in-depth sessions on this topic.

Knowing the numerous hours involved in creating the Airline Program Management Toolkit and “Clear to Land” white paper, I am extremely grateful to all the members of both of the Aviation Committees.  Their hard work, dedication, and focus on global will equip travel managers with the necessary tools to create a “best in class” program.  Thank you all!

As always, thank you to our members for your continued support and commitment. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have.

Christle Johnson currently serves as the Vice President of Travel & Business Services for Johnson Downie, a boutique executive search firm that specializes solely in partners of law firms. In addition to overseeing the meetings and travel for the employees, recruiters, candidates and firms they are working with, she is also tasked with the development and implementation of their travel program. Christle launched her career in the travel industry 23 years ago as a Sales Manager for a large regional travel agency before spending almost 15 years with National Car Rental as a Director, Strategic Accounts. Always seeking to improve her knowledge in the industry, Christle earned her Certified Corporate Travel Manager (CCTE) designation from GBTA and Cornell University (2007), her Certificate of Professional Development for completion of The Global Leadership Professional Program at The Wharton School (2009), her Global Leadership Professional (GLP) Designation from The Wharton School (2010), and her Global Travel Professional (GTP) Certification (2012). She has received numerous awards including the GBTA Business Travel Professional Service Award in 2009, the GBTA Foundation Scholarship Recipient in 2007 and was both the Austin BTA Allied Member of the Year and a Texas BTA Allied Member of the Year Nominee in 2003. She was elected to serve as President of GBTA during the 2015 Special Election and will serve a two-year term.

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