Check-in with Suzanne

Hi Global Colleagues:


I’m “checking in” today, full of anticipation as I look forward to my first official Member Listening Tour session… kicking off today with session #1 in Europe. Thoughtful Q&A prompted by your write-in questions and a conversation moderated by Mark Cuschieri today will set the tone for the rest of the sessions in our series this month. (Register for next week’s US east coast region session here).  I can’t wait to hear from you!


What we discuss today will be added to the growing pile of learnings from eloquent member and sponsor conversations which I’ve already had in my first 3 weeks as CEO… as well as from the ten hours of GBTA-ACTE Project Unite focus group sessions (whose summary of learnings we will be releasing soon):


  • Members and sponsors want GBTA to mind the lessons of our past – but to focus intently on the future by improving our Core… driving change and transparency along the way. If we do this well, it will be evident through a recovering industry, a healthy two-way marketplace, better learning, and smarter networking.


  • Volunteerism is alive and well – with a passion! I’m in awe as individual members give hundreds of collective hours for governance reviews, education programming, committees/standards, innovation exploration, and local/regional chapter programming.


  • Our industry needs a strong(er) collective voice. There continues to be a huge need for organized government/policy advocacy at a national and international level.


  • The association – and industry – are going through a reset. We will come back better, with stronger guardrails to guide us.


  • Convention in Orlando in July is on everyone’s mind as an important step toward that recovery and reset. As we start to measure attendee sentiment to attend in person or virtually, I am hearing of buyers who are vaccinated and eager to see what suppliers, travel management companies, and tech entrepreneurs have been working on – and how to get their travelers safely and successfully back out there. (Please watch for upcoming and regular flash surveys from GBTA so we can use the best available data to plan our event wisely.)


Business travel’s coming back “better” was the topic of my conversation with New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo in his opinion piece that was published late last week.


As I close out this week, I just wanted to make sure you’d seen the news that my home town, New York City, opens for quarantine-free visits beginning on April 1 – which is an amazing milestone after this great city-of-the-world saw some of the worst of the worst a year ago at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The news has sparked a lot of joy for many I know who want to get back to work here as tourism and business travel returns. And for all of us, it’s a sign that normal is getting closer, for all to enjoy very soon. But we also need to remind ourselves to maintain public health diligence so that these hard-fought returns aren’t eroded by upturns in COVID. Vigilance is key – we need to keep mitigating risk, even as we cannot completely eliminate it.



More News to Know


U.S. COVID Stimulus Bill Signed Into Law: Last week, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. While the package includes several programs and offerings that will help the travel industry in recovery, including $14 billion in direct aid to airlines for payroll support programs, industry groups – GBTA included – agree that more needs to be done to help our industry get back on its feet. Click here for more details.


United Kingdom Government Announces Travel Certification Coming Soon: The UK government’s Global Travel Taskforce will make public on April 12 their report that will provide recommendations for opening up travel. According to the Secretary of State for Transport of the United Kingdom, the government will also introduce a form of travel certification. Read more here.


German Business Travel Association (VDR) Calls for Airlines to Adopt “Pay at Check-in” Model: VDR says the system is ripe for a reboot and that currently low travel volumes make this an ideal time to move away from the current credit model. Click here to read more.


LATAM Hotel & Airline Prices Are Down: While the pandemic is responsible for a significant decrease in business travel in LATAM countries, signs of life are starting to show, particularly in sectors like oil and gas, health care and telecom. To read more about the latest data from Carlson Wagonlit Travel in LATAM, click here.


Canada Health Officials Continue to Urge Caution, Even for Vaccinated Individuals: Some health experts in Canada are pushing back on the government’s recommended safety rules for individuals, saying those in Canada who are vaccinated should get more freedoms. This comes on the heels of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing more relaxed guidelines for Americans who have been vaccinated. Read more.


GBTA News & Reminders


Update on Project Unite (ACTE Integration): Last week, five regional meetings were held during which over 60 volunteers provided feedback. A key takeaway was that GBTA should emulate ACTE’s more inclusive education session planning process. I’m pleased to tell you that we’ll be “Re-en-ACTEing” our education planning process, beginning with our Canada and Europe Conferences. Look for more details to come.


Ready. Safe. Travel. Training Program – Register Today: This entirely virtual 4-week training program begins May 5 and is designed for all levels of business travel professionals, both buyers and suppliers. Sessions will provide essential information to help transition business travel beyond the pandemic, including emerging tools, government regulations, supplier advancements, and more. Upon completion of the program, you’ll become a Ready. Safe. Travel. Specialist. Register here.


GBTA Mexico Conference 2021 – Ciudad de Mexico: GBTA LATAM is gearing up for its annual Conference, October 6-7 this year. Proposals for education sessions are being accepted until April 30; click here to submit a proposal. GBTA LATAM is taking added precautions to ensure the health and safety of all attendees. Conference information, registration and future updates to health and safety precautions can be found here.


GBTA Supplier Summit 2021 Coming Up March 24: This year’s complimentary summit for existing and potential exhibitors and sponsors will be held virtually. Join industry peers as we share the needed planning tools for GBTA Convention 2021, including a virtual tour of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, new plans and protocols in place for safety, and more. Click here to register.


Career Builder From GBTA Europe Begins in April: In partnership with Dr. Lucy Rattrie, GBTA Europe is offering a 21-day program for travel and aviation industry professionals to rebuild their confidence, gain clarity and pave the way for a thriving career in an upside-down world. For more information on the program and to register, click here.


Stay well – and don’t forget to check in with someone else whom you haven’t heard from in a while!





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