GBTA Board Spotlight: Connecting with Purpose at Convention  

In this feature series, GBTA’s Board of Directors share their views on topics that matter most to members, the industry and the way forward for business travel. Today’s guest author is GBTA Board member, Kevin Sullivan, Managing Director of Sales for Southwest Airlines.  

Our industry is built on relationships, and through my experience, GBTA’s Annual Convention, which this year takes place July 22-24 in Atlanta, Georgia, is the premiere event to experience the association’s foundational pillars of Community, Learning and Advocacy.  

I attended my first GBTA Convention 21 years ago in Dallas, Texas, and can still remember how my eyes were opened to the dynamic world of managed business travel. I left with a deep sense of fulfilment and pipeline of new stakeholders and revenue generating opportunities.  

Fast forward two decades to the convention in Dallas last year, when I was equally energized by the diverse attendance as well as seeing industry friends from my first convention. My team capitalized on the opportunity by facilitating strategic partner meetings to share new programs, platforms and partnership strategies. I personally connected with hundreds of customers, executives and colleagues throughout the event.  

This July, thousands of business travel suppliers, buyers and influencers will gather in Atlanta to network and connect, learn from peers and industry experts, develop new skills and discover new solutions and innovations. I won’t miss the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and create new ones. I am excited to learn more about industry hot topics like NDC, environmental sustainability and the evolving workplace’s impact on travel policies. And finally, the team will be well-prepared to negotiate new corporate travel partners and enhance existing ones to grow revenue.  

With the pandemic in the rearview and the industry’s promising forecast outlined in the January GBTA “Business Travel Outlook Poll,” I am filled with optimism for the year to come. There are several opportunities in 2024 for creating a global community through in-person engagement such as events in Mexico City, Toronto, and/or Singapore. Local GBTA Chapters are another powerful way to connect with peers and learn more about what’s affecting our industry closer to home (to learn more about upcoming GBTA events, click here).

Whether an industry veteran or new to the space, the 2024 Convention serves as the largest platform to bring together our many voices with the purpose of advancing our industry. I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta this summer.