Message From the Office of the GBTA President – June


*This post was also distributed as an email to GBTA members.*

Can you believe that Convention is less than three months away? Time is flying by and of course GBTA is working hard to get ready for the 50th Annual GBTA Convention. Below is a brief update on what we are working on.

GBTA Convention
The 50th Annual GBTA Convention 2018 will be held this year from August 11-15 in beautiful San Diego. We recently announced two of our keynote speakers for Arena Stage.

Billie Jean King, sports icon, pioneer for social justice and entrepreneur will be a featured speaker on Monday, August 13 on Arena Stage. Billie Jean King epitomizes excellence, leadership and grit. She was named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine and was a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I have no doubt that her experience and vision will inspire our attendees.

Kevin O'Leary, investor on ABC's Shark Tank and chairman of O'Shares ETF Investments Financial Group will be the featured speaker on Tuesday, August 14 on Arena Stage. Kevin O'Leary, better known as Mr. Wonderful, is celebrated as one of North America's most successful business entrepreneurs as well as being a bestselling author. Attendees will benefit from his business experiences and insights and delight in his lively personality.

We also just announced two of our Center Stage panels this week. I am very pleased to announce our opening session, Successful Women Leading in Business Travel, will be moderated by my fellow GBTA Board member Dorothy Dowling, SVP & CMO, Best Western. It will feature three senior leaders in business travel as they give their unique perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing the industry today. The panelists will be Jodi Allen, CMO, Hertz; Melissa Maher, SVP, Global Partners, Expedia; and, Traci Mercer, SVP, Lodging, Ground & Sea, Sabre.

Monday's second session, The Challenges of Security in Today's Volatile World, will feature top security officials discussing their roles in keeping a country's borders and infrastructure safe and secure. Kevin McAleenan, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and David Pekoske, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will discuss the challenges in balancing security and passenger facilitation while integrating innovative new technologies that could revolutionize the traveler experience.

Committee Highlight: Meetings Committees
GBTA's Meetings Committees provide leadership to GBTA members and the global business travel community through meetings management guidance, education and innovation. They serve as the preeminent source of knowledge, resources and strategy on the state of meetings management for the global business travel industry. The Meetings Committees are set up in the U.S. and Europe, encompassing a broad range of volunteers.

The Committees recently created a Speaker Resource Guide with a focus on key industry related topics: Strategic Meetings Management 101, Integrating Transient Travel Group Programs and Risk Management. From that, they have also created education sessions for each of those topics that are available to GBTA Chapters and Affiliates to share with their members. The Committees are also currently working on a Meetings Toolkit, based on feedback and information gathered in a 2017 survey to GBTA buyer members. The Toolkit will share best practices, basic guidelines, hints and tips in meetings planning.

At the most recent GBTA Europe Conference, the committee delivered a popular session which provided practical experience for travel managers who have taken on the responsibility to manage their organization's meeting spend and success of it.

GBTA Research
GBTA will be unveiling a half dozen research studies between now and Convention. Some highlights include top safety concerns for women travelers. This interesting and revealing research will highlight the intrinsic dangers that female road warriors face while traveling and what travel programs do to ensure the safety of their female business travelers. The five business travel payment trends survey will reveal a few things that we already know (travel payment is going virtual) and some things that may surprise us (ride-sharing is gaining overwhelming acceptance). Additionally, GBTA will release a first-of-its-kind study to explore project-based business travel in the United States. While project-based business travel is extremely diverse, there are key underlying trends revealed in this study that marketers, suppliers and travel buyers can use to increase revenue, cut costs and improve traveler satisfaction.

As a GBTA member, you can download all GBTA research free of charge on our GBTA Hub, and use it to power your travel program and grow your career.

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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