Message From the Office of the GBTA President – July

*The following post was also sent as an email to GBTA Members.*

Everyone is working hard to get ready for Convention. Can you believe we are less than two months away from celebrating the 50th Anniversary of GBTA? Below is a brief update on what we are working on.

We recently announced more of our Center Stage sessions. I am pleased to announce that Turning the Tables—Buyers Take Center Stage panel will kick off Tuesday morning. This will be a great panel and interesting change of pace as we usually put a supplier in the hot seat, but this year we are really turning the tables. Carlson Wagonlit Travel CEO Kurt Ekert 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.

We have also added a special session to Monday’s Center Stage line-up. In a One on One with Arne Sorenson, the Marriott President and CEO will take the stage to share his outlook on the future of hospitality. In this candid interview, Sorenson will talk about the progress of the Marriott Starwood merger while talking about how hotel brands are changing to cater to today’s travelers.

The GBTA mobile app is available to all GBTA attendees. Access everything you need to know about Convention. You can enhance your experience in San Diego by using the app to create a personal schedule, access speaker details, exhibitor lists and an Expo map and so much more. Click here to download today.

Committee Highlight: Sports, Media and Entertainment
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. This year the Committee hosted two Peer-to-Peer sessions, in New York City and L.A., where buyer members shared best practices. The sessions have led to great improvements such as successful negotiations with several airlines regarding the media bag rate as well as 24/7 support desks specifically assigned to handle the unique requirements of those in the sport, media and entertainment industries. United has even started a specific group dedicated to Sports to handle those requirements. From the hotel side, the Committee has been working closely with many hotels to keep costs down for yearly planned events.

Legislative Summit 2018
GBTA hosted its 16th annual Legislative Summit this June. Over 130 GBTA members representing 23 states attended, and called on lawmakers to pass a five-year FAA Bill ensuring a long-term plan for the future of aviation and requested the entire 9-11 Aviation Security Fee is used for airport security and passenger facilitation.

The Legislative Summit kicked off with a full day of discussions with top lawmakers, industry insiders and political strategists on key travel issues. Former Reps. Al Wynn (D-MD) and Randy Forbes (R-VA) led a discussion on navigating the partisan divide in today’s politics. Anthony Bedell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) discussed the DOT’s current priorities, planned investments in infrastructure and the not-so-distant future featuring autonomous vehicles and drones.

GBTA also honored Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) with the GBTA Navigator Award for their efforts as strong champions for business travelers and the business travel industry. Each also gave remarks during the Summit on key issues impacting our industry.

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.