The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Podcast: Celebrating National Business Traveler Day

The inaugural National Business Traveler Day took place this Tuesday, April 24th. Upside Business Travel led this initiative celebrating business travelers as the unspoken heroes of the American economy. Our research shows business travel spending alone represents 3 percent of national GDP - comparable to the entire domestic auto industry – and that’s nothing compared to how road warrior time on the road helps our companies grow.

National Business Traveler Day events took place across the country from JFK to SFO and O’Hare to LAX. The GBTA podcast hit the road again this week to take part in the festivities from New York City where Skift’s Andrew Sheivachman moderated a panel on the changing face of today’s business travelers.

GBTA caught up with Andrew and the panelists among the crowd and buzz around #NBTDay for highlights from the panel discussion and their take on the importance of National Business Traveler Day. Jay Walker, Chairman of Upside Business Travel and founder of Priceline; Leiti Hsu, Cofounder, Journy and Partner & Editorial Director, Word of Mouth; and Wendy Longwood, Chief Operating Officer, Dress for Success Worldwide all shared their insights on this week’s episode of The Business of Travel.



National Business Traveler Day Panel

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Finally! Business Travelers Get Some Respect

By Jay Walker, Chairman, Upside Business Travel

Few people realize it, but the U.S. economy largely runs on the efforts of an army of incredibly hardworking professionals who make nearly 514.4 million domestic business trips a year.

That’s right…25 million-plus business travelers are out there every day hustling on planes, trains and automobiles.

Yet despite driving a $424 billion domestic business travel sector (roughly the size of the auto industry), we don’t even know who these people are.

For example, when somebody says “business traveler,” what picture pops into your head?

If you instantly visualize an older guy in a suit, clutching his briefcase, then your stock of mental images needs some serious updating.

Today’s business travelers are statistically about as likely to be women as men.

And, today’s business travelers are as likely to be Millennials as Baby Boomers. They come in all ethnicities, too.

So says our comprehensive, soon-to-be-released survey covering the “independent” half of the market -- i.e., “do-it-yourself” road warriors who lack access to formal travel resources and make their own plans.

Yet regardless of age, sex, race, or other demographic factors – and despite their huge economic importance -- business travelers rarely get their due appreciation.

Happily, this is changing in a big way on April 24th.

Announcing the first-ever National Business Traveler Day!

Heck, America already celebrates National Hot Dog Day (July 18), National Wear Red Day (Feb. 26) and National Reptile Awareness Day (Oct. 21).

Why not an official day to say “thank you” to tens of millions of U.S. business travelers who are always on the move in service of America’s economy?

National Business Traveler Day (NBTD) is organized by Upside Business Travel. Our media partner is The Wall Street Journal. Supporting NBTD are 25 top-quality partner companies including United Airlines, Hertz, XpresSpa, Mastercard, Uber for Business and Dress for Success--see below for the full list.

How will we celebrate NBTD? In the words of John Adams upon the founding of the United States of America:

“From this day forth, let our Nation mark this Historic Day with bands, parades and fireworks and all Manner of festive Human Events!”

Oh, wait -- we already do that on July 4th.

On second thought, then, let’s do some fun (yet practical) things that really show our appreciation to business travelers.

Front and center: a lavish Business Traveler Dream Sweepstakes. The Grand Prize winner gets free first-class upgrades on every domestic business flight for the next 20 years.

Specifically, the Grand Prize awards $5,000 a year to pay for 20 years of domestic first class upgrades. Enter here through May 18; it’s free (rules).

While we’re at it, let’s throw in some amazing giveaways and prizes for additional sweepstakes winners, courtesy of our NBTD partners.

Next, we’re asking the U.S. Congress to enshrine NBTD in law.

A National Proclamation, to be introduced by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, will get our entire country on record, recognizing business travel as “a vital component to the economic health of the U.S. economy today and in the future.”

Finally, some official respect for America’s road warriors!

If you happen to be traveling on business on April 24th, you just might see some NBTD activities and hospitality at several major airports. If so, we warmly encourage you to step up and take advantage.

At O’Hare, JFK and DFW we’re hosting special lounge spaces where business travelers can relax with free refreshments, recharge their electronic devices and connect with colleagues.

Also on April 24th at JFK, SFO and LAX, along with the Westfield World Trade Center location, selected business travelers who are readers of The Wall Street Journal will be treated to complimentary spa services at XpresSpa locations.

Talk about traveling in style.

To provide a few smiles during the run-up to NBTD, we conducted a lighthearted online competition, presented by Hertz, where business travelers voted for “History’s Greatest Business Trip.”

The contest’s 32 brackets included everything from Odysseus getting home 10 years late from the Trojan War -- to the first commercial airline flight -- and the first-ever Moon landing. (Winner: Apollo 11.)

But let’s face it; you don’t have to be a pioneering aviatrix or a Moonwalking astronaut in order to be a business travel hero.

You just have to keep getting out there on the road, putting in the miles and doing your part for yourself, your company and the U.S. economy.

There are more than 25 million of you heroes, and we salute you one and all.


Our deep appreciation goes to our generous National Business Travel Day partners: United Airlines; XpresSpa; Hertz; Mastercard; Uber for Business;; 24 Hour Fitness; Audible; BARK, the makers of BarkBox; Blue Bottle Coffee; Global Business Travel Association; Hudson Group, operators of Hudson and Hudson News; iHeartMedia; iPass; JetBlue; Journy; LATAM Airlines; LoungeBuddy; Lyft; The Points Guy; THNKS; and UNTUCKit. Thanks also to Dress for Success, NBTD’s non-profit partner and The Wall Street Journal, NBTD’s media partner.


About Jay Walker

Jay S. Walker, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, is Chairman of Walker Digital, LLC, (“Walker Digital”) which he founded in 1994. He is widely known as the founder of, which brought a new level of value to the travel industry and its millions of customers. Mr. Walker is also the co-founder and Director of The TEDMED Foundation (“TEDMED”), a global community of people from every field who are passionate about the future of health and medicine (TEDMED is the sole independent licensee of the TED organization). In addition, he is the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of The Upside Travel Company, LLC (“Upside”), a business travel company he founded in 2015. Concurrently, Mr. Walker is a member of several organizations that promote innovative solutions to global problems, including The President’s Circle of the National Academies (comprising the National Academy of Sciences; the National Academy of Engineering; the National Academy of Medicine; and the National Research Council); and the Atlantic Council as a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Walker is also founder, curator and owner of The Library of the History of Human Imagination; he is actively involved with Cornell University as the co-chairman of its Library Campaign. Mr. Walker received his Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Relations, Cornell University, New York, in 1978 and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Cazenovia College, New York in 2011.

Throwback Thursday: Celebrating 30 Years

In March, we looked back on GBTA's 25th anniversary. Today we go back to Orlando when GBTA - still the National Business Travel Association at the time - celebrated its 30th anniversary. Here are some shots from the set up for the NBTA Convention in 1998.


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. You can also share your Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.

Podcast: Live Highlights from GBTA Conference 2018 - Toronto

On the latest episode of The Business of Travel, GBTA shares highlights from GBTA Conference 2018 – Toronto as it happens. First, hear from Nancy Tudorache, Director of Operations for GBTA in Canada. Next, listen to clips from Centre Stage sessions on procurement, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, technology, diversity in the workplace and the luncheon keynote featuring Lily Jamali of Bloomberg Canada.



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!

Conexão Brasil - GBTA Newsletter Abril

O Primeiro GBTA Business Travel  Management Workshop acontecerá em Santiago

O Chile se prepara para a realização do Primeiro GBTA Business Travel  Management Workshop, que acontecerá no próximo dia 17 de abril no hotel InterContinental de Santiago, organizado pela GBTA e a Câmara de Comércio Norte-americana do Chile - Amcham Chile.

O Workshop reunirá agências de viagens, travel managers e compradores em um dia cheio de atividades, no qual se abordarão e responderão a alguns dos principais desafios em áreas como finanças e recursos humanos em torno da gestão e compras de viagens.

Os participantes poderão se aprofundar também em conteúdos tanto de gestão da tecnologia aplicada, implementação de processos, elaboração da política de viagens além de desenvolvimento de acordos.  

Para informações adicionais sobre tarifas e inscrição, clique aqui.


Curitiba Prepara sua Segunda Conferência com o Melhor da Indústria de Viagens de Negócios

Graças ao sucesso da conferência de 2017, Curitiba se prepara para receber a mais de 120 profissionais da indústria de viagens corporativas na Segunda Conferência GBTA 2018. Os participantes se reunirão no próximo dia 23 de abril em esta próspera cidade do sul do Brasil, para conhecer os desafios que representa um mundo em constante mudança.

Entre os temas a serem tratados, alguns dos mais destacados da indústria são: desafios e oportunidades da hotelaria em um mundo volátil, instável, complexo e ambíguo; tecnologia, tendências e inovação; e impacto da economia compartilhada na mobilidade corporativa, e na tecnologia e a gestão de viagens corporativas.

Também haverá grandes oportunidades de networking entre gestores de viagens de negócio, compradores e fornecedores. Para informações adicionais sobre tarifas e inscrição, clique aqui.


GBTA lança o Blue Ribbon Education Panel

A fim e melhorar a oferta educacional, GBTA lançou o Blue Ribbon Education Panel. Integrado por importantes líderes da indústria de viagens de negócio, o painel visa determinar a relevância de conteúdo educacional disponibilizado pela Associação, identificando oportunidades e otimizando os canais com um enfoque no aperfeiçoamento da experiência educacional para profissionais da indústria.

“A mudança acelerada da indústria torna imperativo que a GBTA constantemente avance seu programa educacional para ajustar-se cada vez mais às necessidades de nossos membros e prepará-los para o futuro da gestão de viagens”, afirmou Christle Johnson, Presidente de GBTA.

“A meta deste painel é assegurar que o programa educacional da GBTA leve em conta as necessidades de todos os membros, independentemente de sua posição ou tipo de afiliação, e criar verdadeiramente uma rota profissional desenhada por e para seus membros”, afirmou Jennifer Steinke, membro da Junta Diretora de GBTA e Presidente do Blue Ribbon Education Panel.

O painel teve sua primeira reunião em 2017 para iniciar a avaliação da oferta atual e identificar áreas de novo conteúdo e métodos educacionais. O painel continuará trabalhando ao longo de 2018 para entender as necessidades dos membros através de enquetes, discussões e mesas redondas, assim como avaliar as conquistas e gaps, e aprender com as boas práticas de especialistas no campo da educação e desenvolvimento profissional. Finalmente, o Painel fará recomendações à junta diretora da GBTA sobre a futura estratégia de oferta educacional de GBTA.

Para informações adicionais sobre os integrantes do Blue Ribbon Education Panel, clique aqui.


Mais de 500 Profissionais de Viagens Corporativas Participaram da Conferência GBTA 2018 - Ciudad de México

A Conferência GBTA México, América-Central e o Caribe, realizada nos dias 21 a 23 de março, reafirmou sua posição como um dos eventos mais sólidos da região com a participação de mais de 500 profissionais de viagens corporativas.

Conferencistas de vários países tais como Jennifer Steinke, Membro da Junta Diretora de GBTA; Leandro Bonfranceschi, Head Corporate de Amadeus para América Latina e o Caribe; Jay Galindo, VP Security Marriot International e José Roberto Fonseca, Regional Travel Manager Merk Sharp & Done, entre outros, foram os encarregados de compartilhar seus conhecimentos sobre as tendências em segurança e futuro das viagens de negócios. Também foi abordado como obter o melhor retorno do investimento em despesas de viagens como um dos tópicos das Sessões Educacionais, que contou com excelente participação.  

Os participantes interagiram, também, nas Exposições Comerciais onde tiveram a oportunidade de se conhecerem, fazer intercâmbio de idéias e se conectar para futuras estratégias. Foram três dias intensos onde pode perceber a camaradagem entre todos os presentes.

“Queremos, nestes tempos de mudança, tanto no nível nacional quanto no mundial, motivá-los para obter maior produtividade e consciência de custos. É nosso objetivo que em este encontro obtenham o melhor de cada um, aproveitem as sessões educacionais, perguntem, se relacionem e, claro, que desfrutem e retornem com muitas idéias e estratégias em políticas de viagem para implementá-las este ano”, foram as palavras de boas-vindas à Conferência GBTA México 2018 expressadas por seu Presidente Enrique Chávez V. durante a inauguração do evento, que aconteceu na Expo Santa Fe de CDMX.

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Convention Memories - Part 2

From monkeys on the Expo Floor to yoga sessions for stress relief, there’s always something new in store at GBTA Convention. Throughout our decades of hosting the event, our attendees have walked away with thousands of unforgettable memories. This year marks our 50th anniversary, and in honor of that, we’ve been asking past attendees to share their favorite, first or standout memories from the event. If you’d like to get involved and commemorate our growth over the years, share your own memories here.

Sara Rooney, Festive Road


Mary Ellen George, Tramada Systems

“My first convention was in San Antonio, Texas in the mid '80's, I was working in the hotel industry at the time but it was at NBTA that I met some TMC executives thru one of the convention networking events, oddly enough on a river boat ride, this ended up launching what's now been a 30+ year career in the travel industry. Thank you GBTA for not losing sight over the years the value in bringing us all together!”


Jenny Gasalao, MGM Resorts International


Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts, and share your favorite Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA!

Podcast: Brexit – What Happens on January 1, 2021?

On the latest episode of The Business of Travel, GBTA talks Brexit and its impact on business travel. First up, Russell Patten, CEO of Grayling Brussels and Chairman of Grayling European Public Affairs, shares his perspectives on how negotiations are going and his predictions on how Brexit will ultimately impact business travel. Next, European Parliament MEP Daniel Dalton shares his views on what is at stake for the aviation sector and what long-term success will look like after Brexit is finalized.



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

Managing Kidnapping Risk

American organizations are at risk of kidnapping around the world – it’s vital they manage the risks.

Hostage US estimates that around 200 Americans are kidnapped overseas each year. Some are taken by criminals in countries such as Mexico and Brazil, some are taken by terrorists in the Middle East, Afghanistan and parts of Africa, while others still are detained by hostile regimes, such as Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. While many would be surprised to learn the scale of the problem facing American citizens, the exposure for American organizations is even greater, with some confiding they experience a dozen or more every year. 

Most cases don’t make the headlines; negotiators often opt to keep the case below the radar to avoid increasing the value of the hostage and to limit the number of phishing attempts by third parties keen to get a cut of the ransom payment. 

The types of organizations impacted have changed over the past decade or so. It used to be the case that journalists and aid workers could count on their mission to keep them safe – not anymore. Journalists and aid workers are taken alongside engineers, contractors, tourists and business executives. 

All organizations need to do the following:

  • Identify your risks and ensure you have the correct security and mitigation policies and mechanisms in place
  • Ensure travelers to medium- and high-risk locations receive detailed security advice about where to stay, how to travel, how to behave – and that they know who to contact should they experience a problem
  • Regularly train your crisis management team in how to respond in the event of a hostage incident
  • Train your HR and security teams together with legal and corporate communications in how to liaise with and support the hostage’s family during the incident
  • Audit your resources to ensure you have all you need to effectively support the family
  • Create a return to work plan for any member of staff or contractor returning from captivity – getting this post-release phase right can make all the difference to a former hostage’s chances of a smooth transition back to life and work
  • De-brief after the hostage incident has concluded – what did you do right, what would you do differently next time, and what lessons can you share with colleagues and partners to help them learn from your experiences

Kidnapping is a low-frequency, high-impact crime. It affects a broader range of American enterprises than ever before. There is much you can do to prevent it from happening, but if and when it does, it pays to be prepared. 

Newsletter: GBTA América Latina Abril 2018

Primer GBTA Business Travel Management Workshop tendrá lugar en Santiago

Chile se prepara para la realización del Primer GBTA Business Travel Management Workshop, que tendrá lugar el próximo 17 de abril en el hotel InterContinental de Santiago organizado por GBTA y la Cámara Chilena Norteamericana de Comercio Amcham Chile.

El taller reunirá a agencias de viajes, travel managers y compradores en un día pleno de actividades, el cual abordará y responderá a algunos de los principales desafíos en áreas como finanzas y recursos humanos en torno a la gestión y compra de viajes.

Los participantes podrán profundizar también en contenidos como el manejo de la tecnología aplicada, la implementación de procesos,  la elaboración de la política de viajes y el desarrollo de acuerdos.

Para mayor información sobre tarifas e inscripción, ingrese aquí.


Curitiba prepara su segunda conferencia con lo mejor de la industria de viajes de negocio

Gracias al éxito de la conferencia 2017, Curitiba se prepara para recibir a cerca de 120 profesionales de la industria de viajes corporativos en la Segunda Conferencia GBTA 2018, los cuales se darán cita el próximo 23 de abril en esta pujante ciudad del sur de Brasil para conocer los desafíos que plantea un mundo cambiante.

Entre los temas que tratarán algunos de los más importantes exponentes de la industria son: desafíos y oportunidades de la hotelería en un mundo volátil, inestable, complejo y ambiguo; tecnología, tendencias e innovación; e impacto de la economía compartida en la movilidad corporativa, la tecnología y la gestión de viajes corporativos.

También habrá grandes oportunidades de realizar networking entre gestores de viajes de negocio, compradores y proveedores.  Para mayor información sobre tarifas e inscripción, ingrese aquí.


GBTA lanza el Blue Ribbon Education Panel

Con el fin de mejorar la oferta educativa, GBTA lanzó el Blue Ribbon Education Panel, integrado por importantes líderes de la industria de viajes de negocio, con el fin de determinar la relevancia del contenido educativo, identificar las oportunidades en esta materia y optimizar los canales con un enfoque en mejorar la experiencia educativa para profesionales de la industria.

“Así como el cambio en la industria continúa acelerándose, es imperativo que GBTA constantemente evolucione su programa educativo para cumplir con las necesidades cambiantes de nuestros miembros y los preparen para el futuro de la gerencia de viajes”, afirmó Christle Johnson, Presidente de GBTA.

“La meta de este panel es asegurar que el programa educativo de GBTA tome en cuenta las necesidades de todos los miembros independientemente de su posición o tipo de membresía y verdaderamente cree un camino profesional diseñado por y para los miembros individuales”, afirmó Jennifer Steinke, miembro de la Junta Directiva de GBTA y Presidenta del Blue Ribbon Education Panel.

El panel tuvo su primera reunión en el 2017 para iniciar con la evaluación de la actual oferta e identificar áreas de nuevo contenido y métodos educativos. El panel continuará trabajando a lo largo del 2018 para comprender las necesidades de los miembros mediante encuestas, discusiones y mesas redondas, así como evaluar logros y vacíos y aprender de las buenas prácticas de expertos en el campo de la educación y el desarrollo profesional. Finalmente, el Panel hará recomendaciones a la Junta directiva de GBTA sobre la futura estrategia de oferta educativa de GBTA.

Para mayor información sobre los integrantes del Blue Ribbon Education Panel, ingrese aquí.


Más de 500 profesionales de viajes corporativos participaron en la Conferencia GBTA en Ciudad de México

La Conferencia GBTA México, Centroamérica y el Caribe, que tuvo lugar del 21 al 23 de marzo, reafirmó su posicionamiento como uno de los eventos más sólidos de la región con la participación de más de 500 profesionales de viajes corporativos.

Como lo informó Latinoamérica Meetings México, conferencistas de varios países tales como Jennifer Steinke, Miembro de la Junta Directiva de GBTA; Leandro Bonfranceschi, Head Corporate de Amadeus para América Latina y el Caribe; Jay Galindo, VP Security Marriot International y José Roberto Fonseca, Regional Travel Manager Merk Sharp & Done, entre otros, fueron los encargados de brindar sus conocimientos en cuanto a tendencias, seguridad y futuro de los viajes de negocios. También se abordó el tema de cómo lograr el mejor retorno de inversión en gastos de viajes como uno de los tópicos de las Sesiones Educativas, las cuales contaron con una excelente asistencia.

Los participantes intervinieron, además, en las Exposiciones Comerciales donde tuvieron la oportunidad de conocerse, intercambiar ideas y conectarse para futuras estrategias. Fueron tres días intensos en los que se percibió la camaradería entre todos los presentes.

“Queremos, en estos tiempos de cambio, tanto a nivel nacional como mundial, motivarlos para conseguir una mayor productividad y conciencia de costos. Es nuestro objetivo que en este encuentro obtengan lo mejor de cada uno, aprovechen las sesiones educativas, pregunten, se relacionen y, por supuesto, que la pasen bien y se vayan con muchas ideas y estrategias en políticas de viaje para implementarlas este año”, fueron las palabras de bienvenida a la Conferencia GBTA México 2018 expresadas por su Presidente Enrique Chávez V. durante la inauguración del evento, que se llevó a cabo en la Expo Santa Fe de CDMX.


Guía para proveedores de Viajes Corporativos
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Week in Review

Adding to a growing list of industry breaches, Delta revealed a data breach that may have exposed credit card information for hundreds of thousands of customers. According to The Verge, an online support company that powers the airline’s chat platform suffered a malware attack last fall, but failed to inform Delta until mid-March 2018.

According to Phocuswright, Google’s internal incubator lab is developing a corporate travel product that will create instant travel budgets and incentivize employees.

Chicago’s city council has approved a plan to invest $8.5 billion in O’Hare International Airport, Business Traveller notes. In addition to receiving upgrades in security screening, baggage handling and check-in technology, the airport's Terminal 2 will be demolished and replaced with a new international terminal.

Following in Qantas’ footsteps, Air New Zealand is introducing its own ultra-long-haul flight. Starting in November, the non-stop 16-hour flight will fly from Chicago O’Hare to Auckland, USA TODAY reports.

On the latest episode of The Business of Travel, we discuss cost savings strategies in managed travel programs from the basics on up. Two industry veterans share their experiences, perspectives and best practices when it comes to saving your travel program money.

A three-week air traffic control upgrade could delay London flights in the coming weeks, Buying Business Travel notes.

In acquisition news, Skift reports Red Lion Hotels is buying Knights Inn from Wyndham for $27 million.

The same source states AccorHotels plans to buy a 50 percent stake in Mantis Group, a South African hotel chain. The deal would add 28 properties to the group’s portfolio.

Continuing on this trend, Conference & Incentive Travel shares Business Travel Direct has completed its acquisition of Uniglobe Preferred Travel.

In 2017, over 40 million people were exploited in some form of human trafficking, an industry that brings in $150 billion in illegal profits worldwide. Traveler awareness has the potential to create a meaningful impact to end child prostitution and trafficking, and here’s how to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

According to The Register, the U.S. State Department wants all visa applicants to provide information about the social media accounts they’ve used in the past five years. The plan is yet to be approved.

Radisson Hotel Group is getting a makeover with a new, refreshed brand in the U.S., Travel Weekly reports. The project may result in the removal of 10 to 15 percent of non-compliant hotels.

French rail workers staged a mass strike from Monday evening to Wednesday morning, Skift notes. The strike halted 85 percent of the country’s high-speed trains and three-quarters of regional trains.