Dave Hilfman’s Monday Memo to GBTA Members

It’s the start of another busy week at GBTA. Not only does our Collaboratory 2020 educational series continue, but we’re launching our new marketing and advocacy campaign to encourage the safe and responsible return to business travel. We’ll be counting on you to help us spread this important message – stay tuned for all the details later this week.


This Week’s Collaboratory 2020: Accommodations


Our series on Mobility and Transportation last week was a huge hit. We kicked off the week with special guest David Pekoske, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), for our headliner webinar: “TSA: Leveraging Technology and Innovation to Stay Healthy and Secure.” Administrator Pekoske shared the agency’s response to growing passenger volumes, protective measures being taken to make the screening process safer for passengers and employees, and technological innovations designed to reduce physical contact and increase social distancing at the checkpoint.


The week continued with sessions on the U.S. Global Entry program, a buyer discussion on the realities of future business trips, a session featuring the GBTA Aviation Committee, and the topic of what essential business travel looks like during the pandemic.


This week, we turn our attention to how the global pandemic has reshaped the accommodations landscape:


  • Today: Hotel Outlook: 2021 and Beyond
  • Tuesday, October 27: We Are Traveling and This Is What We Have Learned!
  • Wednesday, October 28: Buyer Discussion: Anticipating and Setting Traveler Expectations for the New Hotel Experience
  • Thursday, October 29: Accommodations – Past, Present and Future
  • Friday, October 30: Emerging Technology Trends to Watch in Hospitality


Results from the Latest GBTA COVID-19 Poll are Released


Results of the 12th round of our 2020 coronavirus poll were released last week and show a majority of respondents (76% overall, 86% in Europe) see an increase in rapid testing prior to traveling by air as the best way to safely open up international travel.


Other key findings of the poll, conducted October 12-17, 2020:


  • The current patch-work approach to travel, particularly across Europe, is prolonging the devastating effects of COVID-19: 63% of European GBTA members and 43% globally cite government travel restrictions and policies, such as quarantine and entry restrictions, as the greatest barrier to travel.
  • Other barriers to travel include company policy (32% globally), employee unwillingness/ reluctance to travel (9%) and company cost savings (6%).
  • The lack of government support continues to be a point of contention. 62% of respondents think it’s ‘very’ likely or likely that further reductions of staff or layoffs are inevitable if additional government aid is not received. 51% predict additional furloughs and 46% believe further pay cuts are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ without government interaction.
  • Despite the rapid growth of virtual meetings, 82% of respondents still feel that face-to-face meetings are ‘more effective’ or ‘much more effective.’


Thank you to everyone who participated in this latest poll. Our coronavirus polling series serves as a benchmark for the industry, and results are widely read and cited by media outlets, industry leaders, policymakers, trade associations, and government agencies.


GBTA Works with Industry Groups to Push Coronavirus Testing Instead of Quarantines


The newly formed Coalition for Safe Alternatives to Quarantines, made up of leading travel and aviation trade groups, is asking the U.S. government to develop state and international protocols that would replace quarantines and other travel restrictions with pre-flight testing for air travelers.


Late last week, the coalition sent a letter to the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security requesting they work with state governors and international partners to pursue a “risk-based and data-driven approach to COVID testing which would obviate the need for quarantines and travel bans.”


In addition to GBTA, members of the coalition include Airlines for America, Airports Council International-North America, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Travel Association, along with more than a dozen other groups. Click here to view the letter.


Search for the Next Executive Director


On a final note for the week, I wanted you to know that the GBTA Executive Director position has been posted. Click here to view the position description.


It has been a privilege for me to serve as the interim executive director. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made together, but there is still much more to accomplish. I’ll be serving as chairman of the independent executive director search committee alongside industry professionals from the buyer and supplier side. As we move forward in our comprehensive search for GBTA’s next executive director, our goal is to have a new leader announced and in place before the New Year.


Take care and have a great week.