Check-In with Suzanne

Learning” Is Our Middle Name at GBTA 

One of our guiding tenets at GBTA providing meaningful learning opportunities for industry professionals throughout their career. That’s why you’ll find “Learning” among the trio of priority pillars of GBTA’s new brand. But most importantly, it is also our promise to you, our industry and how we’ll build the road to our collective future. 

Every year, the GBTA Convention presents the largest, most impactful opportunity where commerce and learning come together all in one place within the business travel industry. And every year, we need your ideas, perspectives and “many voices” to deliver the best learning programming for our community. Yesterday we announced the opening of our Call for Proposals for Convention 2023.

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New this year, we’ve streamlined the proposal process with more time to deliver your submissions. As in prior years, proposals will be peer-reviewed by a group of unsung heroes – volunteer business travel practitioners representing every sector of our association, who give generously of their time in evaluating and selecting sessions based on key considerations such as relevance, learning outcomes, and format. Get started on your Convention proposals – all the details are here and January 13, 2023, is the deadline. 

I am also a big proponent of learning by listening and engaging with each other whenever we get together. While in Washington D.C. last week, I connected with our DC-based GBTA team and as a global team, we did a deep dive on the recent GBTA Recovery Poll learnings. I also had the opportunity to meet with Kerry Cosover of the NFL and Tony Bonanno of Marriott, chairs of our GBTA Sports, Media and Entertainment Committee to discuss their feedback on how GBTA can continue support them and other committees along their volunteer journeys. (Thanks, Kerry and Tony, for your time and passion to make GBTA better.) 

Finally – I’d like to give a shout-out to the insights and learning from a lively panel during last week’s ATPCO Elevate event, discussing the “Corporate Travel State of Play.” Our GBTA Business Travel Index and recent polling results set the mood for the discussion amongst panelists Glenn Hollister of United Airlines, Nick Vournakis of CWT, and moderator Donna Airoldi of The BTN Group. Glenn shared that in the course of the first day at GBTA’s recent Convention, United Airlines quickly became oversubscribed on the amount of SAF they have been able to procure for 2023, indicating strong corporate demand for SAF. Nick shared that TMC services have become even more strategic in making travel with intent an actuality for companies returning their employees to “the road” while balancing sustainability concerns. And Donna guided our discussion into balancing economic and pricing headwinds with the need to convene.  

I know you are sharing insights and best practices with each other regularly, as well. Thank you to all for making this such a collaborative community for learning, building careers, and creating meaning within the business travel industry. 


News to Know:

Europe and Southeast Asia Open Skies to Fuel Airline Expansion

The European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have signed a new open skies agreement aimed at recovering and expanding airline links between the two regions. The agreement is unique as it covers two blocs of countries — the EU has 27 members and ASEAN 10 — rather than two countries or between the EU and, for example, the U.S. The agreement, unveiled Monday, will drop all restrictions on flights between the EU and ASEAN for airlines based in either region. It goes into effect immediately. (Skift)

Bookings and interest surge as Japan fully reopens to tourists

Japan reopened to independent, inbound tourism on Oct. 11, one of the last countries to reopen in the Covid era and more than two and a half years after first closing its borders in March 2020. Travelers will still need to show proof of three doses of an approved vaccine to avoid inbound Covid testing. Unvaccinated travelers are allowed entry but must submit a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure. Japan has typically been an expensive holiday for American travelers, but with the yen at its weakest value in decades, combined with the dollar’s strength, advisors say now is the time to go. (Travel Weekly)

Senator Wants Travelers to Complain to FAA About Smaller Airplane Seats

United States Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer encouraged travelers on Sunday to tell the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) they do not want smaller airplane seats. According to the New York Daily News, Schumer is concerned that FAA officials will approve a proposal from airlines to make the minimum approved size of seats on commercial planes even smaller, making passengers even more congested while in flight. Schumer said travelers have until November 1 to voice their concerns to the FAA. (Travel Pulse)

Industry Expects Progress on Improving Hotel Virtual Card Use

While hardly a new technology, virtual cards are poised to become a much more dominant force in the payment sphere in the coming years. A recent Juniper Research report projected that there would be a total of 28 billion virtual card transactions around the world this year, and by 2027, that volume will be more than 121 billion. By then, the U.S. alone will generate $71 billion in B2B virtual card revenue, representing nearly three-quarters of total global revenue. (BTN)

GBTA News and Reminders:

WINiT Gala

The goal of the WINiT Awards is to recognize the women, men, and companies who together are driving positive change for the career mobility of women in the travel-related industries. Winners will be honored at the Gala. We hope you can join us at the GBTA WINiT Gala to celebrate the industry-leading work done by individuals and companies that support the WINiT mission.

GBTA Conference 2022 – Brussels in Partnership with VDR

GBTA Conference 2022 – Brussels in Partnership with VDR on 8-10 November is Europe’s largest conference for business travel and meetings management professionals. It is important now, more than ever, that we come together to design and devise new strategies to protect our industry. The heart of our industry’s growth is the value of our relationships. Whether you’re a Buyer or a Supplier, innovating together will drive our industry forward. Attend GBTA Conference 2022 – Brussels in partnership with VDR and you’ll return to your organization armed with new knowledge, expertise, and impactful best practices to move forward successfully as we continue to push and prepare for a strong return of business travel.

GBTA Sustainability Summit

GBTA will be hosting its first-ever Global Sustainability Summit on 8 November 2022 in Brussels, focusing on Driving Action on the Race to Net Zero. This one-day, high-level event will bring together experts, industry, and policy leaders to outline concrete solutions to decarbonize business travel, in alignment with the Paris Climate Goals – and concurrently to the 27th UN Climate Summit (COP 27), taking place in Egypt from 7 to 18 November.