Sustainability, Traveller Wellbeing and the Latest Innovative Solutions, Were the Hot Topics of GBTA Conference 2019 Munich in Partnership with VDR


Munich, Germany (21 November 2019) – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and German business travel buyer association VDR – wrapped up their sixth successful joint conference in Europe this week with record-breaking attendance and top-notch education.

The conference opened with a keynote address from Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5 on leadership in times of pressure. Centre Stage hosted two few thought-provoking industry sessions– Aviation Hour started with an interview with Randy. J. Tinseth, VP Commercial Marketing, The Boeing Company and Richard Tams ex BA executive and Director of Tailwind Advisory Ltd. In this one-to-one interview Tinseth shared his perspectives on the future strategy of The Boeing Company, the outlook for the aviation sector and the latest update on the Boeing 737 Max.

The interview was followed by a panel discussion in which Tams was joined on stage by Thomas Haagensen, Group Markets Director of easyJet Europe and Jürgen Siebenrock, Vice President Sales and Services Home Markets & Global Key Account Management Lufthansa Group. A wide range of topics was covered including easyJet’s Sustainability plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 and Lufthansa’s latest update on NDC .

The accommodations panel followed and included Executives from HRS, Booking.com, Accor and BWG Hotel Group to discuss how this sector is evolving. Moderated by GBTA president Bhart Sarin, the panel discussed how this sector is evolving to cater for the new business traveller considering changing demands in terms of content, consumerisation; personalisation and the need for simplification. The panel included Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at BWH Hotel Group, Xavier Fluitman, Regional Director of Booking.com, Daniela Schade, Managing Director, Accor hotels and Tobias Ragge, CEO at HRS Group.

The Arena Luncheon featured keynote speaker Andreas Ekstrom, award winning Swedish journalist, author and digital futurist who shared his view of the digital revolution in an insightful keynote – Seven Ways to Own the World.

The interactive Big Idea session explored the issues around sustainability and how the business travel industry can address the challenges as buyers, suppliers and business travellers.

The educational program offered business travel professionals more learning opportunities than ever before with thirty break-out sessions over the three days. Attendees were treated to high-level education sessions covering everything from creating a sustainable travel program to traveller engagement and NDC updates.

The conference concluded with an insightful talk by Amadeus’s Svend Leirvaag on how the business travel world is changing followed by a Q&A session with Russell Patten CEO of GBTA’s advocacy firm Grayling Brussells. This was followed by a panel on Corporate Centricity, showing how travel must align with the strategic goals of other departments in order to deliver more value. BCD VP for Global Marketing, Anja Turner was joined by Ralf Uwe Schmitt Corporate Head of Sustainability, Getinge and Ralf Kania, Director, Head of Corporate Benefits, Merck KGaA.

The Expo featured more than 50 exhibitors and several suppliers made breaking news announcements as part of our Media Reception. The Knowledge Bazaar featured a wide range of topics, allowing travel buyers to participate in the sessions interesting and relevant to them.

The last night was host to the “Big Night Out”, GBTA’s very own Novemberfest, a Bavarian evening with live band, slap dancers and whip cracking display; a great way for travel industry professionals across Europe to network in an informal setting.

“The theme of this years’ conference was ‘evolve’ and our programme was designed to show how the world and our industry is evolving and what business travel professionals must do to respond to that. We had almost 100 speakers from all over Europe who shared their insight and experience to deliver our best conference yet. Keynote speakers from the British Secret Service to digital futurists and communication specialists gave all delegates useful and actionable learnings to take back their office. “commented Catherine Logan, Regional Vice President – EMEA GBTA.

“More than 1,000 participants, top-class speakers, the latest topics from the world of business travel, exciting breakout sessions and satisfied exhibitors have made the sixth joint conference of GBTA and VDR the most successful so far. The event was once again an expression of the strong partnership between the two associations with the aim of helping to shape the framework conditions for business mobility today and in the future,“ said Hans-Ingo Biehl, Executive Director of VDR.

GBTA and VDR look forward to hosting the conference again next year and to welcoming the business travel professionals from all over Europe in Frankfurt – Wiesbaden, 3-5 November 2020.

For more information about the GBTA Conference 2019 Munich go to http://www.gbta.org/europeconference

About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit gbta.org.

About VDR
The German Business Travel Association VDR is the business travel association in Germany. It represents the interests of German business enterprises with regard to the framework and competitive conditions for business travel and mobility. The VDR is committed to efficient, economical, safe and worldwide travel opportunities for companies. With its more than 560 member companies, it stands for a total turnover in the business travel sector of more than twelve billion euros annually.

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