BERLIN – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and German business travel buyer association, VDR – wrapped up their seventh successful joint conference in Europe this week. Hosted in Berlin, the event brought together more than 550 attendees from 22 countries for insights, collaboration, networking, and education.
GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang opened the conference with a look at the some of the leading mega trends facing the business travel industry, as we return to travel, followed by discussions with C-Level executives from TripActions, Enterprise Holdings and Accor in a series of one-on-one interviews around the industry’s response to these trends.
Sustainability expert and author, Mike Berners-Lee, delivered a thought– provoking session on the topic, challenging the business travel industry to accurately measure and reduce its environmental impact.
Inspirational speaker and author, Mark Pollock, spoke about maintaining a resilient mindset under pressure and using the power of decision making to deal with challenges, including choosing to be a competitor, an optimist or realist, soloist or collaborator.
This year’s program – which was rescheduled from 2021 due to the pandemic – offered business travel professionals a wide spectrum of learning opportunities with 30 education sessions, including a German speaking stream. A range of issues top of mind for buyers were discussed, including evolving travel programs; sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion; and the future of work.
The Expo also featured 40 exhibitors and suppliers, and many made breaking news announcements as part of GBTA’s Media Reception.
The conference’s Big Idea session involved an interactive workshop including all attendees focused on key themes in the areas of risk and security, sustainability, generations and traveller satisfaction. GBTA will be sharing the outcomes and results from the Big Idea session shortly.
The conference was also a platform to recognize the contributions of some of the many GBTA volunteers in Europe. Congratulations went to Christian Rosenbaum from Amadeus on receiving the “Business Travel Service Award.” Carol Fergus, Fidelity, was named “Direct Member of the Year” in recognition of her ground– breaking work in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Luoma Awards, established in 2011, recognises the volunteer who supports the development of GBTA and its local market partners in Europe, this year congratulations went to Bernd Schulz for his outstanding contributions.
“For the first time in over two years, it was wonderful to see the business travel industry in Europe back together, reconnecting, learning and doing business. The power of in-person connection and communication was palpable, and it was clear that everyone in attendance appreciated the opportunity to meet face-to-face and the productivity gained from the experience,” said Catherine Logan, Regional VP EMEA, GBTA.
“Having the courage to host this event provided the kick-off for our industry, especially in Europe. We are delighted the event was such a success with so many international delegates,“ said Diane Pentaleri-Otto, Director of International Sales, The Estrel, Berlin.
The 2022 conference will take place at The Square Convention Centre, Brussels, 8-10 November, 2022. GBTA’s first-ever Sustainability Summit will also take place in Brussels on the 8 November, prior to the start of the conference.
“I was delighted to see our industry reunited once more collaborating and enjoying the benefits of meeting once again in person. The opportunity to partake in educational sessions and hear from industry leaders was much appreciated by delegates,” said Hans-Ingo Biehl, Executive Director VDR.