Dave Hilfman’s Monday Memo to GBTA Members

Around the world, we continue to see sobering statistics about spikes in COVID-19 infections. This unwelcome news and its downward economic impact on global business travel underscores the need for governments of all nations to provide more help and resources for our members and the business travel sector.


Here in the U.S., October 1st represents a key deadline for the airline industry: The previous CARES ACT relief effort protected employees’ jobs until that date for companies who received funding as part of the initial $25 billion relief effort. Collectively, America’s largest airlines have broadcast that as many as 100,000 layoffs could occur soon after October 1st should Congress not pass another round of relief funding.


Lobbying Congress for Expanded Relief: Here at GBTA, our lobbying and marketing teams will keep pushing hard to raise political awareness about what’s at stake for global travel. Last week, GBTA again petitioned Congressional leaders in both parties to extend payroll aid for airlines and that leaders reconsider a broader relief package to support travel and businesses. That package would include establishing a limited safe harbor against litigation for businesses that have followed COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and an expansion and increase in funding access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).


As you’ll see down below, GBTA also joined with other business organizations in calling on the U.S. House to provide additional funding for small businesses.


GBTA Europe Holds First Town Hall: With web-driven efforts like the GBTA Collaboratory well-attended, GBTA Europe held its first digital Town Hall last week to share regional knowledge and insights. The event was hosted by Catherine Logan, Regional Vice President – EMEA, GBTA.


Mark Cuschieri, Chair of the European Advisory committee spoke about the importance of volunteers and new appointments to the European Advisory board and advisory boards in Italy and France. Zeinah Mugdadi from Grayling spoke about the state of play in the EU, the prospects of resuming intra EU and international travel, and the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on travel. Liam Moroney, VP Marketing with our sponsor, Rocketrip, closed the event with an insightful presentation about “getting travelers back on the road,” looking at traveler needs and experience.


You can download the slide deck or listen to a recording of the Town Hall at your convenience.


New – The Results from the latest GBTA Coronavirus Poll : The 11th GBTA poll measuring business travel amid the pandemic was released late last week. The big takeaway? As we enter Q4 of 2020, most companies appear to have set their sights on 2021 – with two-thirds of respondent companies reporting that they plan a return to in-person events in the first half of next year.

Almost half (45%) of the respondent companies expect in-person meetings, events and conferences to resume in the first half of the year, according to the poll, conducted between September 15-19, 2020. An additional 25% expect a return to in-person events in the second half of 2021.


In terms of playing host to such events, 37% expect to host some or many meetings or events in Q1, according to the poll, with that number rising to 61% by Q2. An average of one in four GBTA members remain unsure about the year ahead, echoing the general “wait and see” approach caused by the current uncertainty caused by the pandemic.


The full set of 11 polls is available for your review on the association website.


Collaboratory 2020 Series Focuses on Risk Management and Duty of Care: We continue to offer web-based content for our members on a near-daily basis as part of Collaboratory 2020, a multi-week series taking you inside business travel as it works to recover from our current challenges. This week, our focus turns to managing risk. With companies facing a mission-critical need to keep employees safe while traveling, our Monday webinar features an interview with Miriam Jones, an expert on developing and managing best-in-class duty of care programs.


Members can register for this webinar and the rest of this week’s Collaboratory offerings free of charge.


Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this update and don’t hesitate to let me know how we’re doing. You can email me at [email protected].  Have a great week.



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