The following post was originally sent as an email to GBTA members earlier this afternoon.
Dear GBTA Members,
Hope you are off to a productive start to the New Year! This is the first in what will be a regular series of updates I will send to you in 2016. I hope you find them useful as we continue to advance in the business travel industry this year.
We recently unveiled the 2016 Convention theme, BALANCE, which aptly describes today’s business travel environment where buyers must balance many priorities from duty of care and risk management to managing costs and complying with various regulations. Finding balance can be particularly challenging within our industry given the changing demographics, new technologies and shifting travel platforms that affect the way we operate. I am looking forward to finding balance and experiencing all the opportunities that Convention affords each and every one of us. This year’s Convention will be held in Denver from July 16-20, 2016. I look forward to seeing you there!
New Indirect Member Category
During the 2015 Special Election this past fall, our Membership approved an amendment to the GBTA Bylaws. The amendment created a new Indirect Member category for industry-specific consultants and outsourced travel managers who act as buyers yet work for suppliers. Those individuals who are in this category retain all of the benefits of being a Direct Member, except for voting privileges.
Creating this category will require significant infrastructure changes that will affect everything from accounting and registration to the GBTA Hub and our local chapters. We will be phasing in these changes over the next year. Until the changes have been fully implemented, we will continue with our existing Direct and Allied membership categories.
I will continue to update you on our progress as we work diligently to make this new category a reality.
Due to several circumstances beyond our control, GBTA has ended operations in Russia. The main reason was the enactment of the Russian Data Law, which requires overseas organizations that have Russian citizens’ personal information to maintain that data on Russian servers. Complying with the new law would be incredibly complicated, would require significant additional overhead and ultimately would be cost-prohibitive.
Another contributing factor was the region’s geopolitical instability. We were at risk of being unable to deliver the content, programming and product at the quality that GBTA and its members expect. It simply makes more sense for GBTA to invest in the areas and regions that will have the most overall positive impact on our members.
We did not make this decision lightly. We are incredibly thankful for the Russia Advisory Board’s efforts in helping to create our past programming and hope we can return in the future.
The Masters Honors
The Masters Honors is an exciting new recognition program comprised of the most engaged GBTA Direct members throughout the world. These individuals have demonstrated their engagement by leading, teaching, attending and connecting. They are constantly pursuing education and networking opportunities to advance their careers while becoming world leading practitioners.
These honorees will be recognized at The Masters Honors Summit and Gala, which will take place at the Trump National Doral property in Miami, Florida on April 10-11, 2016. Honorees will enjoy: a reception, a full day of dynamic education programming, networking with industry peers and the annual GBTA Foundation Gala.
As we begin 2016, I am excited about what’s happening with GBTA and its members. I will continue to update you on our planned events, education and opportunities over the next several months. As always, please reach out to me with any thoughts or questions.
Thank you all for your continued commitment to GBTA. I wish you great success in 2016, both personally and professionally.
Christle Johnson, CCTE, GLP, GTP