Dave Hilfman’s Monday Memo to GBTA Members

Dear Friends and Colleagues:


I can’t believe this is my final Monday Morning Memo. After serving as interim executive director of GBTA for the past eight months – undoubtedly some of the hardest days, weeks and months for our industry and Association – my parting is bittersweet. While I’ll enjoy more time with my family and on the golf course, I’ll miss working with the outstanding team of professionals at GBTA and seeing so many of you at our virtual meetings and events. Despite such challenging times, we’ve accomplished a lot together, and I’m excited about the future of our Association and the business travel industry going forward.


I have nothing but the utmost confidence that GBTA will prosper under the exceptional leadership of our new Executive Director – Suzanne Neufang. With her diverse executive experience in senior leadership roles at ACTE, GetThere, HRS, Intuit, Sabre and Travelocity, Suzanne is the right person for this moment. She has the vision and drive to ensure GBTA emerges from this pandemic as a healthier and more successful association than ever.


Suzanne’s first day is this Wed., Feb. 24 and I know you’ll join me in giving her a warm and supportive welcome.


Remembering and Honoring Kevin Maguire

This month marks one year since the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Kevin Maguire. Kevin was an extremely dedicated and engaged member of GBTA, having served as our Association’s president and chairman. At the time of his passing, Kevin was GBTA’s regional vice president for Latin America, where he was instrumental in growing business travel and our Association due to his leadership and knowledge of the LATAM region.


To carry on Kevin’s legacy, GBTA will be announcing a new award and scholarship to honor his life, memory and achievements. This award will be presented to an individual who displays the same special spirit, understanding of cultures, and dedication to networking and building communities as Kevin. Stay tuned for more information.


Let’s Cheer on “Difference Makers” at the WINiT Awards & Virtual Gala

The mission of WINiT by GBTA is even more important now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted women especially hard. On March 8 we’ll honor the women, men, and organizations who are driving positive change for the career advancement of women in travel-related industries at our WINiT Awards & Virtual Gala at 1 p.m. ET. I hope you’ll join me as we recognize the true visionaries and leaders who are working hard to elevate women within our industry. Register here to attend this important event.


New Opportunity: GBTA Global Scholarship Program

I’m thrilled to share with you the launch of our new scholarship program, made possible by the contributions of a GBTA sponsor that wishes to remain anonymous. We are extremely grateful to this sponsor for providing resources at such a challenging time in our industry, when increased access to education opportunities is so critical. Click here for more details on this opportunity and to complete the scholarship application.


What’s Next for “Ready. Safe. Travel.?”

I’m still feeling the excitement from last week’s Ready. Safe. Travel. Summit. More than 900 of you joined our virtual session to hear from medical experts, esteemed travel suppliers and experienced global buyers on the current hurdles we face to a safe return to travel, how to maneuver through them successfully and what we can expect for our industry’s future. A huge thank you to our moderators, panelists, and the GBTA staff who all contributed to make this event such a success.


If you attended the Summit, then you heard about the newest piece to our Ready. Safe. Travel. campaign: the Ready. Safe. Travel. Training Program. Exploring the transition of business travel and its practices beyond the pandemic, this program is for all levels of the global business travel industry, buyers and suppliers alike. Upon completing the program, you’ll be designated as a Ready. Safe. Travel. Specialist, signifying your knowledge and commitment to a safe restart and future for the business travel industry. The program will run virtually for four weeks beginning May 5; click here to register.


GBTA Poll: More Employees Show Willingness to Travel

The results of the latest installment of the GBTA COVID-19 Member Poll, fielded February 8-18,

reveal that more than half (55%) of GBTA buyer and procurement members feel their employees are ‘willing’ or ‘very willing’ to travel for business in the current environment, up from 49% in the January poll. Further, traveler confidence spikes when you throw the COVID vaccine into the mix: a majority of respondents (79%) say they would be “very comfortable” or “comfortable” traveling for business after receiving the vaccine.


The results from our monthly COVID polling series continue to give me hope that we’ll see an increase in business travel this year. Thank you to all who contribute to this polling series through your responses. The full results and a brief “Key Highlights” document are available here.


Time’s Running Out: Don’t Miss These Deadlines

Make sure you act on these important deadlines coming up this week:



And to my friends in Canada, make sure you’re registered to attend the virtual Canada Town Hall this Wed., Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. EDT.


As I close out my final Monday Morning Memo, it’s not goodbye, it’s “see you soon.” Not only will you see me continue my involvement as a dedicated GBTA member at upcoming online events, but I cannot wait to see all of you in person at our global Convention in July when we can finally celebrate our successes together.


Until then…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *