Dave Hilfman’s Monday Memo to GBTA Members

Dear Friends and Colleagues:


Last night I took part in a U.S. tradition with my son Marshall: watching the Super Bowl. While my favorite team wasn’t playing, it felt good to enjoy an annual event that was fun and celebratory. Plus, I love the commercials. I’m hoping for more of these experiences this year, as we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel in this pandemic.


In GBTA news, last week we held one of our most popular webinars of the year: The Business Travel Index (BTITM) Outlook. Nearly 1,200 attendees joined, including many journalists from around the world, to hear an analysis of 2020 challenges for the business travel industry as well as a recovery forecast for 2021 and beyond. Highlights of the study include:


  • The impact of COVID-19 on business travel has varied by region, with North America and Western Europe experiencing the sharpest declines in business travel spend (79% and 77% respectively, for the period of April 2020 – December 2020).
  • The magnitude of these losses and their impact on travel suppliers is unprecedented: the 2020 business travel spending losses are expected to be 10 times larger than the impact of either 9/11 or the Great Recession of 2008.
  • Business travel will begin to increase starting this year, with a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels expected by 2025.


GBTA members can view the recorded webinar and download a full copy of the BTI Outlook.


To our members in Europe and Canada, make sure you attend your upcoming Town Hall sessions (Europe on February 16 and Canada on February 24) to receive additional data and findings specific to your region.


Ready. Safe. Travel. Summit – Registration Now Open


Last fall, we launched the GBTA Ready. Safe. Travel. campaign to advocate for a safe and responsible restart of business travel. Join me for the next phase of this campaign: The Ready. Safe. Travel. Summit being held virtually on February 17, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET.


We have several impressive panelists lined up to discuss and offer advice on the factors that continue to challenge our industry: government response to COVID, vaccine distribution, new virus variants, global entry policies and quarantine rules, to name a few. Panelists will also participate in a Q&A session. Space is limited so make sure you register for this complimentary webinar today.


Project UNITE Update


We’ve had an overwhelming response from members who want to participate in the integration process (Project UNITE) of GBTA and ACTE. Thank you to all 120 members who volunteered.


Next steps:

  • GBTA recently sent out a survey to collect feedback on how to bring the best of both organizations to the business travel industry. We received more than 1,200 responses! The data is being compiled and will be sent to volunteers this week.
  • On February 10 there will be two meetings for volunteers to discuss the survey results and provide further input and feedback. More details to come.


This Week: Watch for a Link to the Next Coronavirus Poll


The 16th installment of the GBTA COVID-19 Member Poll, measuring business travel recovery amid the pandemic, goes in the field this week. Can you believe we’ve been conducting this poll for almost a year now? I’ll be happy when it won’t be necessary anymore. Fortunately the insights we’ve received from this important poll have brought recognition to GBTA, as they have been used by media outlets, industry leaders, policymakers, trade associations, and government agencies throughout the pandemic. Please participate by completing the brief poll you’ll receive via email. It just takes a few minutes.


The results and key takeaways from the 15 previous polls in the series are available for your review here.


Upcoming 2021 GBTA Convention Deadlines


I’ve said it before, but our annual Convention is so important that it bears repeating.


February 26 is the deadline to submit an education session proposal. This is an outstanding opportunity to be in front of corporate travel managers and suppliers from across industry segments. Click here for more information and to submit.


March 1 is the date registration rates increase for GBTA’s 2021 Convention, July 17-21 in Orlando, Florida. Make sure you register before that date to take advantage of the lower rates.


WINiT Awards: Deadline Extended to TODAY


Good news: you have a little more time to get in those nominations for Founders Award, Outstanding Woman of the Year, Rising Female Leader, Best Mentor/Coach – Female, Best Mentor/Coach – Male, Company Achievement Award and Top 40 Women in Travel. Submit your nominations here by the end of today.


Have a great week.