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Check in with Suzanne

Hi everyone –

The lifecycle of an association like ours depends on strong member participation, dedicated sponsors, relevant programs and good governance. And so, my topic this week combines all of those – around our elections. This is a bit of a GBTA civics lesson.

What’s the background?

Just a few weeks ago, the Board asked for more insight into aggregated voter participation in the two spring Bylaw votes. While each of those amendment votes met the required 10% threshold for eligible voter participation – with overwhelming “yes” responses in each – the overall participation rate of 16% and 11% could have been better. At the Board’s urging, we’ve made that detailed voter participation information (by country and member type) available to all candidates running for open Board seats. And now I’d also like to share a summary of the voter participation information with you – our members and sponsors – with the intent of spurring more of you to actively engage in voting and to share your voice.


Why are we sharing this information this year?

Online voting is quite new at GBTA. And this is the first time GBTA has asked for access to more detailed voter participation data around any election. We are sharing it to ensure transparency and a level playing field among all candidates, as well as to build awareness among our member base.


What are the details on the spring Bylaw votes?

  • Sixteen percent (16%) of eligible members (Direct only) voted in the Bylaw Set 1 vote.
  • Eleven percent (11%) (Direct and Allied) voted in the Bylaw Set 2 vote.
  • We understand this to be within the norm of trade associations of our size and scope:
    • Our 3rd party Election Services partner indicates this range is among their top performing association customers.
    • MCI, the association outsourcing and consulting company with whom GBTA contracted for an extensive audit in 2020, indicates that their association customers range from 7-41% participation rates. (27% is their customer average)
    • ACTE, whose certain assets GBTA purchased late last year, had an average member voting participation rate of 13-20%, depending on region.


The summary by region for each of the GBTA Bylaw votes is detailed below:


Membership by Region

at time of Bylaw Votes 

    Avg %
voting member by region
vote 1 vote 2
EMEA 40% 7.66% 6.62%
U.S. 53% 21.67% 14.84%
LATAM 0.72% 4.70% 0.5%
APAC 1.30% 15.87% 1.0%
Canada 5% 19.18% 14.29%


What are the key take-aways?

While it’s “good enough,” we aren’t satisfied with 11-16% average voter participation – and want to ensure we beat that over the next few weeks while board elections are actively underway. We also want every region to play an important role in deciding the future of our association.

With the most candidates (24) ever running in a GBTA election this year – and the most geographically diverse pool of candidates in GBTA’s history – we believe there is a lot of excitement about the future of the association at this moment in time.

In fact, our goal is to get to 25% average eligible voter participation through July 19 when these board elections end. Member engagement makes our association a vibrant and evolving professional body – every member vote counts. It’s time to Get Out the Vote!


“Get out the Vote” Voter Contest

  • We are running a contest amongst GBTA’s five designated regions to encourage active member voting (Europe, Canada, LATAM, APAC, U.S.).
  • All voting members will be entered into a random drawing for the chance to win one of five $1,000 USD equivalent in GBTA vouchers.*
  • Winners will also earn $1,000 USD of GBTA vouchers towards their chapter or regional entity (their “home base”) to be put toward the unit’s education goals.
  • Before the end of July, Election Services will pick the five winners at random from amongst all voters. GBTA will announce the winners in a Daily News Brief.

*GBTA vouchers can be used towards any GBTA direct expense, including convention, regional conferences, education or membership. Vouchers will expire 2 years after issued.


So – how do you vote in the GBTA board election?

Elections opened on Monday, June 21 and will close Monday, July 19 at 5 p.m. EDT. Members should have received an email from Election Services – one vote/email per member. If you didn’t receive your email, please contact Shane Downey from GBTA at [email protected].

Results of the elections will be announced on Tuesday, July 20 at the Virtual Annual Business Meeting and Mid-Year Summit. Be sure to register and get the results first-hand.

What board positions are open?

  • President
  • Vice President
  • One (1) Direct Member at Large
  • One (1) Direct Member Regional European
  • One (1) Direct Member Regional Canadian
  • Three (3) Allied Members at Large

Who can vote, and why is it so important for members to vote this year?

GBTA members have voted on two sets of Bylaw changes over the last few months to change how the association is governed. Now, for the first time in history, GBTA Allied and Direct members have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process and cast their vote for EACH of the open positions.

Following the changes in the Bylaws there is an unprecedented number of open positions, and new global representation at play. This is an opportunity for members to determine the future of GBTA, to make their voice heard and to help shape the future of GBTA by voting for the candidates you believe will best lead our organization

Why is the GBTA Board so important?

The GBTA Board of Directors serves as the governing body and is responsible for establishing the focus and direction of the association, playing a critical role in shaping our industry.


News to Know

U.S. Financial Execs Project Business Travel Rebound: In a recent survey, 34 percent indicated either their organizations already had reached pre-pandemic levels of business travel or would by year-end, with another 29 projecting they would in the coming 12 months. This is promising data, as these respondents make up key leaders within businesses – CEOs, CFOs, controllers and other senior-level executives – who hold policy- and budget-making powers. Meanwhile… U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced, “I’m doing everything I can as an advocate to open key corridors for business travel internationally,” without offering any specifics, but saying “I’m hopeful that post-Labor Day we will see a nice uptick in business travel and international travel.”

European Region’s COVID Restrictions Are All Over the Map: Last week, the UK government added more countries to its green list and Switzerland announced it is relaxing entry restrictions and will allow people traveling from the Schengen area to enter without a quarantine requirement. Meanwhile, the Government of Sweden extended its entry ban on travel from EU/EEA countries until August 31, except for those who are fully vaccinated, can present a negative COVID-19 test result or a certificate confirming recovery from COVID-19.

More Advancements in LATAM: LATAM Airlines announced last week that they will restart flights to Paris on July 3, with three flights per week between Santiago de Chile, São Paulo and Paris, with plans to soon increase their presence in Spain. And the Tocumen International Airport in Panama saw a 24% increase in passenger traffic last month – 145,014 more travelers than during the previous month.


GBTA News & Reminders

GBTA France Hosts First In-Person Event: In a “win” for the restart of business travel, 95 participants, including 35 buyers, came together to learn from experts from Egencia, Air France, Accor, and others about the restart of business travel and meetings and events. The day concluded with a networking cocktail session with lots of personal interaction! Thank you to the GBTA France Advisory Board and Valérie Golléty, regional manager for GBTA France, for organizing such an outstanding event.

GBTA LATAM Adds Guadalupe “Lupita” Gomez to the Team: Please join me in welcoming Lupita, who comes to GBTA with more than 35 years of experience in the business travel industry and will be working with Candela Fernandez Wyngaard to help strengthen our efforts in Mexico and the entire LATAM region. If you’d like to send her a hello message, she can be reached at: [email protected].

Finally, there are two important reminders I’m asking you to take action on:

  • Board of Directors Election: Make sure your voice is heard. Please, take a few minutes to vote in the very important Board of Directors election.
  • Mid-Year Virtual Summit and Annual Business Meeting: Register today for this important July 20 session to hear results of the Board of Directors election and learn more about issues and solutions around crisis recovery, new post-COVID best practices and operational excellence, and the future of travel and well-being.