*The following post was also sent as an email to GBTA members.*
Dear GBTA Members,
With the final quarter of 2018 upon us, I wanted to provide a brief recap and an update since there is so much happening on the GBTA front.
Given some time to reflect on this summer’s Convention, it’s fair to say that we had a tremendous event this year. GBTA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Association and the Convention, and also made history this year in a number of ways: we experienced record-breaking attendance and had over 1,350 buyers, making it the largest Convention ever and the largest gathering of business travel professionals in the world.
We fulfilled on our promise to offer more opportunities for education than ever before with eight different time slots to fill from over 170 education sessions. Sunday afternoon events also incorporated additional education sessions, vertical peer-to-peer discussions, and industry tools and roundtable discussions. GBTA Convention 2018 On Demand will allow you to access any content you would like to review again or may not have had a chance to catch while there.
We featured our highest number of executive interviews at the GBTA Broadcast Studio with 110 live interviews conducted throughout the show, including the most companies featured during Media Day with nearly 30 showcasing their breaking news. The Expo floor was buzzing as we had the largest show floor in history based on square footage and a record number of first-time exhibitors (117).
Additionally, GBTA made two very exciting announcements in San Diego. The first was GBTA’s acquisition of WINiT, strengthening GBTA’s commitment to women in the travel industry. Members of GBTA and WINiT will benefit through access to both organizations’ programs and services, and the acquisition will allow GBTA to take WINiT’s mission worldwide. The second announcement was the enhanced partnership between GBTA and the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), the leading managed business travel association in the UK and Ireland. This will feature a deeper, more collaborative partnership between the organizations, which will kick off on January 31, 2019 with a London-based showcase event for the managed travel and meetings sector.
On the Sunday morning of Convention, we hosted our first-ever 5k Run & Walk to raise awareness and funding to stop human trafficking. More than 200 people registered and participated in the event. GBTA continued to raise money for the cause throughout Convention and ultimately we presented a $20,000 check on Wednesday to benefit ECPAT-USA and its efforts to end child exploitation and trafficking. My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to this important cause.
Billie Jean King, Sports Icon, Social Justice Pioneer and Entrepreneur; Kevin O’Leary, Investor on ABC’s Shark Tank & Bestselling Author; and John Walsh, Victims’ Rights Advocate and Host of Discovery ID’s In Pursuit with John Walsh all wowed us from the keynote stage at Convention Arena.
I am truly so proud of all that we accomplished this year.
All Committee Summit
Recently, GBTA held its annual All Committee Summit in Denver. This is one of my favorite events every year and I continue to be impressed by the work our various Committees produce. The discussions that took part this year left me excited for what’s to come for GBTA in the year ahead. GBTA Committees play a significant role in our success and in creating innovative content tailored to specific industry sectors. Their work is invaluable. Thank you all who joined.
Committee Highlight: Sports, Media and Entertainment Committee
The Sports, Media and Entertainment Committee’s mission is to find common solutions to the unique challenges facing business travel professionals in these dynamic fields. The Committee has been successful in exposing GBTA to new audiences through peer-to-peer meetings in New York City and Los Angeles where these segments are concentrated. They have been instrumental in driving airlines to expand their specialization desks, now offering 24-7 support for sports, media and entertainment needs and are now working with hotels to do the same. Additionally, they’ve worked on standardization of airline baggage fees around specialty sports or entertainment equipment. The Committee is placing a strong focus now on expanding globally in an effort to broaden the reach and participation of the group beyond the United States.
WINiT Strategic Advisory Board
As I mentioned, GBTA announced our acquisition of WINiT at Convention. I’m sure many of you saw my email last week detailing the creation of the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board, which brings together a remarkable and diverse group of travel industry leaders. The Advisory Board will provide strategic guidance and direction for the future of WINiT as a GBTA Board of Directors initiative. I’ll have more to share soon on this front, but you can expect select WINiT programming to be integrated into our upcoming Europe Conference in Berlin.
As always, thank you to our members for your continued support and commitment. It is your involvement through attendance and personal contribution that make our Association great. I welcome the opportunity to hear from you personally regarding how we can continue to make things better. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have.