The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Week in Review

Project-based business travel spending reached $45.4 billion in 2017, comprising 15 percent of all U.S. business travel spending, Hotel Management reports. The findings come from a new GBTA study in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group.

American and United are pushing back on the Trump administration, Skift reports. The airlines have requested that their flights not be used to fly immigrant children who are being separated from their families.

According to TravelDailyNews International, an alarming amount of air traffic control strikes across Europe have taken place this year impacting millions of travelers and the region’s overall economy.  

A Swedish real estate investment firm has acquired a portfolio of seven German hotels from Fico Group, 4Hoteliers notes.

On the ground transportation front, Business Today reports a new high-speed rail link between Delhi and Rajasthan has received approval. The project will cost approximately $3.68 billion USD, or Rs.25,000 crore.

In that same vein, Global Indonesian Voices notes preparations are underway for a high-speed rail project that would connect Jakarta and Surabaya. The line would shorten the travel time between the two cities in Indonesia to just five hours.

According to USA TODAY, Orlando’s MCO will become the first airport in the country to process all arriving and departing passengers with facial-recognition technology.

The same source reports fliers in the U.S. will face scrutiny for having powders in their carry-on bags. The TSA will be focusing on containers with at least 350 milliliters of powder, which is about equal to a can of soda.

Rail journeys have fallen for the first time in eight years in the UK, according to Buying Business Travel and findings from the Office of Rail and Road. This is the largest annual decrease since 1993-4.

On this week’s episode of The Business of Travel, we highlight our Innovation Series in partnership with Phocuswright. Hear Tripgrid, lumo, and Stay22 deliver six-minute pitches on why they deserve to be named the top innovator in business travel.

Business travel is ahead of other industries on payment tech, Associations Now reports. A new GBTA study, conducted in partnership with AirPlus International, also finds that 56 percent of U.S. travel agents use central travel accounts (CTAs), ghost accounts or lodge cards that can be used by multiple employees.

According to USA TODAY, Amtrak has revamped its food and beverage menu and introduced a host of new items, including gluten-free options.

Lyft has introduced a feature that makes it easier to track business travel expenses, TechCrunch notes. The new feature allows for a connection between employee trips and the managers in charge of their reimbursement.

JetBlue founder David Neeleman is raising funds for a new U.S. airline called Moxy AirwaysSkift writes. The airline has already secured orders for 60 Bombardier CS300 aircraft to arrive in 2020 and is aiming to start service that same year.

Throwback Thursday: Houston Ice Fishing Team

As we inch closer to our upcoming 50th anniversary of GBTA Convention, we continue to look back and celebrate our history through a series of weekly posts.

Nearly eight years ago, the 2010 NBTA International Convention & Exposition was held in Houston, known for its horrendously hot weather in the summer months. In the video below, former GBTA Executive VP Hank Roeder jokes that the Houston Ice Fishing Team would like to invite attendees to the event. As it turns out, we ended up confusing several legitimate ice fishing teams who didn't realize the video is a joke.

Luckily, the weather in San Diego is slightly more forgiving, and we look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with all our attendees this summer.

Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts! Interested in submitting a Convention memory for a chance to be featured at #GBTA2018 in San Diego? Here’s how. You can also share your Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.



Podcast: GBTA Innovation Series in Partnership with Phocuswright Part 1

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel, highlights GBTA’s Innovation Series in Partnership with Phocuswright. You’ll hear from the first three finalists in our online competition on the road to being named the “Best Innovator in Business Travel” at GBTA Convention 2018.

Hear Tripgrid, lumo and Stay22 all deliver their six-minute pitches on why they deserve to be named the top innovator.



You can download and listen to The Business of Travel in iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and your other favorite podcast directories. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you don't miss out!

The Lighter Side of Business Travel 2

Back when GBTA was still known as the National Business Travel Association (NBTA), we collaborated with The New Yorker to highlight a series of cartoons pertaining to corporate travel. Below are a couple cartoons from The Lighter Side of Business Travel. See more cartoons here.

Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts! Interested in submitting a Convention memory for a chance to be featured at #GBTA2018 in San Diego? Here’s how. You can also share your Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.

Podcast: The Challenges of Security in Today’s Volatile World

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel, GBTA previews an upcoming Center Stage session at Convention 2018 focused on safety and security in today’s volatile world while looking back on our Conference in Toronto where GBTA Executive Director and COO Mike McCormick interviewed officials from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and the Canadian Border Service Agency.



You can download and listen to The Business of Travel in iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and your other favorite podcast directories. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you don't miss out!

Innovation Series Competition: Safely, Stasher, Sanctifly

Safely, Stasher and Sanctifly recently faced off in the final webinar of the GBTA and Phocuswright Innovation Series, a program designed to bring the business travel industry’s most impactful innovators to GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. Throughout the series, nine companies competed for the ultimate title of "Best Innovator in Business Travel" as well as a spot on the Expo Floor at Convention. After presenting a six-minute pitch to a panel of judges, the winner’s fate rests in the hands of the audience.

According to Safely CEO Andrew Bate, 70% of bad stays in short-term home rentals are caused by only 14% of guests. That’s where Safely comes in. Andrew kicked things off and explained the model for his company, which measures the risk of hosts and guests who use short-term home rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway. The company also certifies homes based on a set of 125-plus standards that mirror the standards hotels abide by.

In addition, Safely conducts background checks on guests to verify their identity and check for felonies, global fraud or sex offenders. Once they verify a guest as trustworthy, they can insure each reservation for up to $1,000,000. Similar to the background checks conducted for guests, they can also verify homeowners and predict the probability of a negative outcome or a risky reservation in advance. From a corporate travel perspective, travel managers can then use this information to act accordingly and put their business travelers in a different property.

Next up, Co-Founder & COO Anthony Collias shared the idea behind Stasher, the world’s first sharing economy solution for luggage storage. The online platform lists a range of local shops and hotels willing to store travelers’ bags, which users can then book on demand while they attend a meeting or visit local sights. Leisure and business travelers alike have surely encountered issues with storing their bags, especially those who book home-sharing properties with early checkout times and no luggage storage options.

The service is currently available in 15 cities and 400 locations across Europe, with plans to expand and add a courier service in the future. Anthony explained that the company intends to allow travelers to leave a bag at a StashPoint, then have the bag sent directly to meet the traveler at their preferred destination.

Between long lines, early morning arrivals and late night takeoffs, Sanctify Founder Karl Llewellyn says little time remains for traveler self-care and health. Sanctify aims to change that by aggregating travel wellness options and activities within a five-mile radius of an airport.

Travelers enter a date and time, select an airport, and choose an activity from the available options, 40% of which are non-monetized. For example, there’s a free shuttle service at Logan Airport that can take you to the harbor for a nice walk on the pier. The service is currently live at over 90 airports and over 230 location partners, making it the world’s largest airport gym network.

At the end of the webinar, the audience selected their favorite innovator in a live polling session. Participants chose Stasher as the winner, who will move on to exhibit at Innovation Row at GBTA Convention 2018. In addition to exhibiting, the winners of the three webinars, Lumo, GermFalcon, and Stasher, will face off in an exclusive Innovation Series finale. GBTA members may view the webinar in full through the Hub.

Negotiating the Unique Concerns for Business Continuity and Risk Management When Senior Executives Travel

There are unique aspects and intricacies when C-Suite executives travel on business.  This entry is dedicated to providing a short overview of how Corporate Travel Managers can apply best practices to their own Executive Suite's business travel. 

There are vast differences between Executive Suite travel and other business travel. Just a few of the additional considerations include Executive family members, level of profile, recognizability, kidnap and ransom (K&R), and increased tendency to go off-policy. The challenges and inefficient resource utilization resulting from this behavior often causes travel managers to pause and reevaluate their own strategy. Let's uncover some reasons for non-compliance and review the effects of non-compliance that some of our travel manager audience might recognize. 

Causes of Non-Compliance with Travel Policy:

  • Minimizing the seriousness of threats
  • Personality, “The Commander’
  • Disagrees with risk assessment due to past experiences
  • Too busy
  • Special services, such as Executive Protection, are too expensive or draw too much attention

Effects of C-Suite Non-Compliance with Travel Policy:

  • Rogue booking results in absence of travel data and limits, or eliminates, communications and access to location intelligence
  • Last-minute travel detail discovery, or sharing, stresses multi-department resources who must quickly pivot to provide advice, secure immigration documentation and executive protection, perform hotel/destination safety assessment, and implementation of IT risk mitigation elements, etc.
  • Non-compliance by executive level increases likelihood others might embrace non-compliance

How Travel Managers Can Improve Compliance

  • Document concerns and behaviors (maintaining confidentiality)
  • Share concerns and behaviors with policy-abiding executive travelers and ask them to help you with the conversation
  • Have a conversation. The conversation will be better received if conducted citing genuine concern for traveler/other staff and family well-being and safety, as opposed to a hardcore discussion citing non-compliance
  • Conduct policy and resource training with the Executive Suite and their travel arrangers. Schedule regular EA check-ins
  • Host a Travel Risk Road Show to introduce Risk Intelligence and Security, Emergency Response and TMC partners and showcase their services (food and small giveaways will bring the crowds)
  • Promote, promote, and promote the program some more, using organization communication channels

In a later entry, we will share some proven strategies for mitigating these compliance risks, and for improving policy compliance amongst your company's Senior Executive group. The GBTA Risk Committee's resources include expertise negotiating these challenges from the perspective of Executive Protection, Corporate Travel Management, and Private Aviation. 

Week in Review

United plans on experimenting with a new boarding procedure, Business Traveller reports. The airline is testing out a two-line boarding system at ORD, LAX, and IAH.

On the M&A front, AccorHotels has announced yet another acquisition and has signed an agreement to purchase catering platform Adoria, Buying Business Travel writes. The same source reports that the hospitality company is also considering acquiring a stake in Air France KLM.

According to Travel Weekly, Marriott recently unveiled the latest rehab of its 81-year-old Sheraton brand. One-fourth of the Sheraton owners have committed $500 million to the renovations, which transform the lobbies and modernize the guestrooms.

India aims to ease language barriers for air traffic controllers, Skift reports. The country will begin testing a new software that deciphers accents and automatically transcribes what is being said.

Cabinet ministers have approved plans for Heathrow’s third runway, Buying Business Travel notes. In the next few weeks, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will ask MPs to vote on the issue.

According to CNBC, Malaysia is scrapping its plans to build a high-speed railway to Singapore. The project, which would cost $17 billion, was expected to link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by 2026. 

Airline alliance Oneworld launched an airline partner platform that allows carriers to become members through sponsorship, Buying Business Travel writes.

Hyatt is expected to double its presence in Canada with the addition of 12 new properties by 2020, Business Traveller reports.

The 16th annual GBTA Legislative Summit took place this week in Washington, D.C., where over 100 GBTA members advocated for policies in favor of the business travel industry. Hear from our very own Shane Downey on the issues we took to Capitol Hill followed by interviews with several current and former members of Congress.

According to Skift, Airbnb has dropped 80 percent of its listings in Japan ahead of new regulations taking effect on June 15.

TravelDailyNews International reports the U.S. hotel industry is forecasted to continue on a record-breaking track.

Congratulations to the 2018 GBTA Board of Directors Nominees

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

Please join us in congratulating the following members, who have been nominated to run for positions on the GBTA Board of Directors. Candidate platform statements will be sent to all GBTA Members in the coming weeks.

The Board consists of thirteen (13) Members comprised of the President, Vice President, Immediate Past President/Chairman of the Board, President of the Chapter Presidents' Council, President and Vice President of the Allied Leadership Council, five (5) Direct Members at large, and two (2) Allied Members at large. The Executive Director & COO also serves as an ex officio Member of the Board. Below, please find a brief description of each position and, for each position, the corresponding list of nominated members:

Direct Member at Large (3) – Direct Members at Large exercise the General Powers of the Association, as those powers are set forth in the Association’s Bylaws. Direct Member at Large serve a term of three (3) years to begin at the close of GBTA Convention 2018 through the close of GBTA Convention 2021. All GBTA Direct Members may vote for these candidates. The nominees for the three Direct Member at Large seats are:

Tricia Alsup, Travel Manager, Dollar General
Kathy Briski, Travel Category Manager, The Boeing Company
Fikile Nkala, Group Travel Coordinator, Super Group PTY Ltd
Erin L. Wilk, Global Security Travel Safety Manager, Facebook, Inc.

Allied Member at Large (1) – Allied Members at Large also exercise the General Powers of the Association, as those powers are set forth in the Association’s Bylaws. Allied Members at Large serve a term of two years to begin at the close of GBTA Convention 2018 through the close of GBTA Convention 2020. All GBTA Allied Members may vote for these candidates. The nominees for Allied Member at large are:

Jeffrey L Maurer, National Account Executive, Red Roof Inn
Keith Mendes, Founder and CEO, Kykin Associates - Travel Audit, Advisory and Corporate Services
Doug Payne, Senior Vice President - Sales, ALTOUR

Elections will be held Monday through Tuesday, August 13-14, at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. Absentee ballots will be available on June 28. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is July 13. All absentee ballots are due to Election Services Corp. (ESC) by August 6. Further instructions will be sent on how to request an absentee ballot in the coming weeks. Please also note, the deadline to register for Convention if you are planning to vote onsite is July 31.


Convention Memories - Part 4

Only 65 days remain until GBTA Convention 2018 kicks off in the beautiful and sunny San Diego! Here at the GBTA headquarters, we are hard at work prepping for the 50th anniversary of our annual event. In order to celebrate, we’ve been encouraging past attendees to share their favorite memories with us! If you’d like to get involved in commemorating this momentous occasion, submit your favorite Convention memories here.


Susan Clark, The Associated Press


Kevin Sullivan, Southwest Airlines


Teri Miller, BCD Travel and Jackie Stafford, Pfizer


Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts!

Interested in submitting your own memory for a chance to be featured at #GBTA2018 in San Diego? Here’s how. See more memories from past attendees: