GBTA India Business Travel Symposium Features Panel Discussions on Hot Topics, Latest Industry Research and Robust Networking Opportunities

GBTA recently hosted its flagship Business Travel Symposium in India. Nearly 300 attended the successful event for a day filled with education, research and networking. The Symposium also featured a tradeshow floor for attendees to see the latest business travel products and solutions exhibitors had to offer.


GBTA India Regional Director Gaurav Sundaram kicked the day off with a presentation on the GBTA Foundation’s business travel forecast for the region showing India is poised to be a top six business travel market by 2019. With continued double-digit business travel spending growth on the horizon, if India continues on its current path, it will be a world leader in business travel for decades to come.


Neal Rogers, APAC-MEA Travel Head, CSC, moderated a panel on best practices for self-booking technology. Self-booking technology is a global phenomenon that currently has limited market share in India, but is growing exponentially. Experts from Unilever, Serko, Amadeus and Thomas Cook evaluated customer perspectives and discussed industry capabilities that could lead to greater acceptance during the session.

Program management best practices were highlighted in the next session moderated by Chandresh Natu, APAC Procurement Lead, AON Hewitt. Panelists from Jones Lang LaSalle, Adobe Systems, Accor India and United Airlines Business Services Pvt Ltd., talked about how client and supplier relationships in India can be antagonistic, but focused on emerging trends on developing collaborative partnership models.


GBTA Global Board Member Bhart Sarin led a Procurement Master Class to share global perspectives on procurement best practices. Bhart noted that a robust strategic sourcing and procurement program is key to long term financial success.

Procurement was the focus of an afternoon session as well as Bhart moderated a panel of representatives from Wipro Limited, Hilton Worldwide, AON Hewitt and Ernst & Young for a discussion on best practices in procurement and strategic sourcing. The session set out to determine the maturity model of strategic sourcing practice in India and evaluated opportunities for Indian multinationals to develop powerful global managed travel programs through implementation of the best practices discussed.


Gaurav returned to the stage to lead the final panel on payment systems and expense management best practices. Experts from Wipro Travel Services, dnata, CSC and Diners Club International joined him to answer questions around whether card payment systems and expense automation offer opportunities for Indian clients to save costs and improve ROI and whether these products drive optimal control, better reporting and improved ROI.

GBTA was thrilled to have so many engaged participants and looks forward to continuing to bring the region quality education, networking and support on advocacy issues important to the business travel industry. Next year GBTA plans to host two Symposiums in India – one in Delhi and one in Mumbai. We will also host educational programs throughout the region including our Fundamentals of Business Travel and Advanced Principles of Business Travel courses designed to power the careers of business travel professionals and provide localized travel management education in India. As membership in India continues to grow, there are many exciting events on the horizon.