Women in Travel: Companies Can Benefit From a Leadership Team Mirroring their Greatest Consumer
Industry veteran shares her perspective on diversity in the industry, and what travel and work-life balance in a COVID-19 world may look like
Alexandria, Virginia (December 15, 2020) In the final 2020 session of its Collaboratory webinar series, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the world’s largest business travel association – welcomed Arlene Coyle, Vice President of Commercial Corporations for Amadeus to discuss her career journey and the importance of having women in influential leadership roles.
For this WINiT recommended session, GBTA Interim Executive Director Dave Hilfman served as moderator and discussed with Coyle her 20 years of experience in the managed travel and technology industry and how the individual – led by technology, convenience and lack of time – will play a key role in managed travel of the future. Highlights of their discussion included:
- 37 of the Fortune 500 companies are now run by women – a record. More than half the population is women so, according to Coyle, it’s fundamental to have women at the top of organizations, where decisions are made. If you don’t, you’re effectively ignoring more than half your customers.
- 47 percent of women travelers are traveling for business. “Women travelers have different considerations or concerns than their traveling male counterparts,” said Coyle. “We may think twice about the location of a hotel or whether it’s safe to rideshare. Having women at the top of your travel organization can bring an alternative voice, resulting in better relationships with customers.”
- It’s important that companies’ leadership and employees echo the values of gender, age and culture of the community, but attitude and empathy matter too, according to Coyle. “If a team doesn’t have the right attitude or doesn’t gel, it won’t work. When I hire, I look for diversity but also people with a commonality in attitude.”
- The pandemic has brought turmoil to the travel industry, but some positives have been able to shine through. “This period has shown us we can’t control everything and taught us how to adapt and be more resilient,” said Coyle. “It has also served as a reminder of the importance of personal connection and that technology can’t replace everything.”
- Travel industry work and innovation hasn’t stopped. “At Amadeus, we’ve used this time to find ways to work smarter and quicker, and focusing on some big projects,” said Coyle. “We’ve seen a huge demand for technologies that will drive efficiencies as travel rebounds – touchless solutions at airports and hotels, travel identity services – anything that can accelerate frictionless travel.”
“Work in the travel industry has changed but it hasn’t stopped, with more entities working together to create a safer travel environment,” said Coyle. “I’m excited to see what it looks like as it returns.” And for professionals just entering the travel industry, as a mentor Coyle often offers these words of wisdom: “Don’t get caught up in the speed of corporate life; find what gives you balance and keeps you grounded.”
This webinar, “Women in Technology,” sponsored by Chrome River, was one of many presented by GBTA as part of the Collaboratory 2020 series. For the recording of this session and more information on future webinars, visit gbta.org. A continuation of this Collaboratory webinar series will be coming in 2021.
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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 www.gbta.org.