Message from the Office of the GBTA President

*The following post was originally sent as an email to GBTA members.*


Dear GBTA Members,

Convention is finally upon us! I am very excited to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of GBTA and Convention, and I am looking forward to seeing you all there.

GBTA Convention has a terrific line up once again this year. We have already announced that Convention Arena will feature sports icon Billie Jean King, and ABC’s Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary. I am happy to announce that Wednesday’s Convention Arena will feature victims’ rights and missing children advocate John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted. He was a leading force behind the founding of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. With a powerful message urging others to forge ahead despite setbacks, John Walsh inspires audiences to take steps to make the world a better place, and that every mission toward that goal is significant, no matter how great or small.

I am also happy to announce that we will feature the session Is Bigger Better?: The Impact of Industry Consolidation on Business Travel on Tuesday’s Center Stage. This session will focus on the impact of industry consolidation and discuss future trends. The panel will be moderated by Guy Langford, Deloitte’s U.S. Transportation, Hospitality & Services (TH&S) leader, and will feature David Kong, President & CEO, Best Western® Hotels & Resorts; Christine Taylor, Executive Vice President and COO, Enterprise Holdings; and, Rob Greyber, President of Egencia®.

Also, on Tuesday, we will feature Turning the Tables—Buyers Take Center Stage. Kurt Ekert, CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, will moderate a panel of senior buyers providing their take on the latest trends, top opportunities and major challenges facing today’s business travel industry. Buyer panelists include Isabelle Donovan of The Boeing Company; Stephen Gheerow of the Ford Foundation, Raymond Greeve of New York Life Insurance Company and Denise Lynn Truso of Abbott.

In addition, on Monday, GBTA will also be featuring the Successful Women Leading in Business Travel and The Challenges of Security in Today’s Volatile World panels. Monday will also feature a must-see One-on-One interview with Marriott’s Arne Sorenson.

Elections will be held Monday through Tuesday, August 13-14, at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. You will have an opportunity to hear from each of the candidates at the GBTA Annual meeting which will be held Monday, August 13 at 10:30am. There are four open Board positions—three Direct and one Allied. All Direct members can vote for the three Direct Member at Large positions and all Allied Members can vote for the Allied Member At Large position. The results of this election will be announced on Wednesday at Convention Arena. I encourage you to attend the Annual Meeting and listen to the candidates share their vision for the future of our Association. And of course, I also encourage everyone to vote.

5K-Awareness Run/ Walk
This year we have decided to do something different so we created the 5k Awareness Run/Walk in partnership with ECPAT-USA and made possible by American Airlines. ECPAT-USA is the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. All proceeds will go directly to ECPAT-USA. The 5k Awareness Run/Walk will be held on Sunday, August 12 at 7:30am. Start your day off right! Grab a friend because this is a great way to catch up as well as helping to make a difference. If you can’t make the 5k, please consider making a donation onsite at the ECPAT-USA kiosk that will be located on the Expo Show Floor.

Committee Highlight: Payment Solutions Committee
The Payment Solutions Committee’s mission is to provide strategic direction for business travel payment. The committee provides leadership to members and the global business travel community through education, strategic direction and universal standards, as it relates to travel payment.

The committee is driven to define the barriers centered on virtual card use and establish standardized processes to enable great acceptance across the industry by engaging with all of the key stakeholders in the travel ecosystem. The Committee will be hosting several events at Convention on Sunday, August 12 for a Travel Payments Tool Kit session and a Roundtable Discussion. They are also several educational sessions on Virtual Payments being offered at Convention. Please check our website for those dates, times and session descriptions.

GBTA Research has been very busy!  Below is list of newly released research. Please check it out. It is available to all members free of charge and is located in the GBTA Hub.

Simple Meetings: This first-of-its-kind study looks at simple meetings, which are small, company-held meetings with replicable requirements. The study found that half of company-held meetings are simple meetings that are often not managed or measured which cost companies savings and satisfaction.

Business Travel Dining Trends: Did you know that there are clear generational differences when it comes to business traveler dining, payment and expense options?  This new study reveals generational differences as well as insights into healthy eating and technology and dining. This study has fascinating insights into your travelers and their dining habits.

Safety Concerns for Women Travelers: This research revealed travel buyers are concerned about female business traveler safety, however, only 18 percent of travel policies specifically address female safety. To learn more about what concerns women travelers, check out this important study.

Global Travel Forecast: Travel prices are expected to rise sharply in 2019, with hotels going up 3.7% and flights 2.6%, driven by a growing global economy and rising oil prices, according to our research.

Global BTI: This study will be released at Convention. Stay tuned for that announcement.

As always, thank you to our members for your continued support and commitment. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have. I hope to see many of you in San Diego over the course of this coming week.

Best Regards,

Christle Johnson
GBTA President