*The following was also sent as an email to GBTA members.*
Dear GBTA Members,
The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on our accomplishments while simultaneously looking forward to the new opportunities presented by a new year. In that spirit, I want to celebrate the last days of 2017 and hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.
As we approach the New Year, I want to take a brief look at many of the “firsts” that GBTA had this year. These starts give us a preview of what to expect in the coming year.
A look back:
GBTA had a great year with many successes throughout the world. We sponsored a series of high-profile conferences:
•The 2017 Canada Conference was our most successful conference ever in the country. It had record-breaking attendance and a sold-out Expo floor. The ever-popular GBTA Broadcast Studio made its first appearance in Canada where more than 25 senior level business travel professionals were interviewed.
•GBTA Australia held its first conference in Sydney under a new partnership with btTB. The event focused on the intersection of procurement and travel.
•GBTA India is concluding its highly successful first two years of operations. We hosted two conferences in 2017 – the first in New Delhi and second in Mumbai, and we have made great strides in raising our profile and awareness of what we have to offer.
•Our signature event, GBTA Convention, celebrated its 49th year in Boston in July and saw record-breaking attendance as well as a sold-out Expo floor. We conducted 93 interviews in our broadcast studio and aired two live interviews (with Ed Bastian of Delta and Susan Eisenhower of the Eisenhower Group) on Arena Stage. For the first time, Bloomberg Television featured us live with the Erik Schatzker and Barry Diller interview as well as with several live spots from the Expo floor. In addition, we secured our first big media partnership with the Boston Globe.
•And just last month, the GBTA Europe Conference featured yet another sold-out Expo floor, including an over-subscribed Innovation Row. For the first time, the Expo floor featured a new entrants’ pavilion. The Europe conference has grown in both attendance and scope over the past several years, with a growing number of partners and sponsors throughout the continent.
One of the major reasons behind the success of these conferences has been the cutting-edge analysis of GBTA Research. Our stellar research team conducted a bevy of studies this year on wide-ranging topics affecting all aspects of business travel. Among the highlights were new, groundbreaking studies on risk management as well as our highly anticipated annual updates to our global business travel forecast, pricing projections and economic impact studies.
In addition to its strong methodology, GBTA’s research is accessible and well publicized. It is specifically designed to be useful and actionable. It provides the basis for many of the education sessions we offer throughout the world. GBTA Research has become the go-to industry standard for members of the global print, broadcast, and social media, with thousands of references in 2017 alone.
A look ahead:
Our ongoing success and new beginnings in 2017 position us well for 2018. We will kick off the New Year with our 15th annual Leadership Summit in January, held this year in Portland, Oregon. The event brings together more than 150 Chapter & Affiliate volunteer leaders from various parts of the country for two days of professional development, networking, and collaboration to improve GBTA’s 39 Chapter and Affiliate organizations. I hope to see many of you there.
I am also excited about changes we are implementing for our 50th annual GBTA Convention, to be held in San Diego in August. In response to feedback from our members, we are restructuring the education offerings and adding more timeslots to enable attendees to participate in more sessions than ever before. The new 30-minute sessions will be packed with valuable information and takeaways to make business travel professionals of any level better at their jobs.
Once again, I continue to be amazed at the dedication and hard work of our GBTA members and our many volunteers. Your efforts have been the principal reason for the success and growth of the organization and the business travel industry. I am proud to be the organization’s President and look forward to a very productive 2018.
My best wishes for a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season.