The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

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Guest Post: Are You Prepared to be Tomorrow’s Travel Manager?

Today's guest blog post comes from Brad Bennett, product marketing manager, corporate solutions, at Sabre.

Brad Bennett - Sabre

Brad Bennett - Sabre

Are you prepared to be tomorrow’s travel manager? None of us know what the future holds, but we do know that the life of a travel manager in 2020 will be different than it is today. Today represents a tipping point in managed travel with travelers’ rising expectations, and a variety of other forces working to drive up the costs and complexities of running an efficient program. Everything from consumerization, data fragmentation, new supplier models, new traveler tech, to an increased focus on traveler duty of care are having some kind of impact on managed travel programs.

As a result, it comes as no surprise that travel managers are under a great deal of pressure to address these issues while still achieving program goals and delivering a positive experience for their travelers. What made for a successful program yesterday may not equate to success in the future. How do you know where to begin?

Last year we set out with the GBTA Foundation to better understand what it means to be a travel manager. We examined typical responsibilities and challenges, how savings are calculated, and the most used KPIs. It was an informative look at what it means to be a successful travel manager in today’s environment.

Now in an all new report we have explored where the role is headed and what it may look like five years from now. While travel managers are caught up in the day-to-day aspects of running their program, many believe that there is a path to being more strategic in the future. So how do you get there when you’re overwhelmed with tactical activities and limited time for strategic thinking? Technology stands to play a major part in not only overcoming today’s challenges, but in helping position you for success tomorrow. According to the research there were three specific areas that rose above the rest:

  1. Data – Leveraging data to track program performance as well as for supplier sourcing activities topped the list of uses for data. While many travel managers use data to drive day-to-day decisions, fewer reported using it for more strategic analysis. As an industry there is still work to do as only 35% of travel managers stated that they were satisfied with the capabilities currently available to them, and roughly 6 out of 10 stated that data is one of their top three most time consuming activities.
  2. Mobility – The world has clearly gone mobile and travel is no exception. Travelers expect to be connected at every point along their journey, and according to the research 80% of travel managers expect mobility to become a higher priority for their role over the next 3-5 years. Mobile booking and itinerary management, as well as duty of care were all cited as primary uses for mobile technology.
  3. Payments – While in the past payment may have been more of a peripheral category for travel, it is becoming much more integrated. The availability of virtual payment solutions has provided a new tool for travel managers for improving the travel experience while also driving compliance.

Join us on Thursday, September 24th at 2 p.m. ET as we present the findings of the all new Travel Manager 2020 report, and discuss the implications in a special webinar. Register today and join the conversation.

Breaking Down the Business Traveler Sentiment Index

By GBTA Foundation

The first-ever GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ in partnership with American Express was recently released in July with the goal to understand travel trends in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan,  Mexico, United Kingdom, and the United States. It examined how business travelers feel about their travel experience and how those feelings affect their actual behaviors related to travel.

A previous version of this study looked solely at U.S. business travelers. This second wave, which added seven additional countries, shows how each country stacks up against the other across each component of the sentiment index. The Index is comprised of seven key components to get a feel for the overall business traveler experience: SentimentIndexComponents

In this global report, the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ has been set to 100. In future iterations, the study will show how various components have changed and why. The table below highlights the difference in sentiment on the various components. A number above zero shows business travelers in that country rate the component more favorably while a number below zero shows a less favorable outlook.

The chart shows business travelers from Mexico score higher than average across every single Index component. Sentiment is particularly high with Mexican business travelers’ social media experience and the state of corporate and macroeconomic health. Business travelers in the United States, Australia and the UK all score just above average on overall business travel sentiment, while those from Germany, Brazil and Canada score just below average. Japanese business travelers, conversely, score low across all Index components except social media experience. SentimentIndexComponentsByCountryv2  

Breaking Down the World’s Major Business Travel Markets

When the GBTA Foundation released its annual global report and business travel forecast this July, sponsored by Visa, Inc., it highlighted five countries in a segment of newly emerging markets often overlooked because they aren’t as large as the traditional powers or the more commonly discussed BRIC markets. The five countries called out: Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland and Turkey are experiencing rapid growth that all but assures they will become the business travel markets of the future.

The forecast dug deeper than this, however, distilling all of the world’s major business travel markets down into four key segments to help travel buyers and suppliers anticipate shifts in the global business travel market and to identify emerging opportunities.

Looking at the current size of each business travel market and its potential for growth over the next five to ten years, these four segments were identified: The Stalwarts, BRIC Markets, The Newly Emerging and Midsize Matters. FourMarkets2015GlobalBTI

The Stalwarts are comprised of the world’s major economies including markets in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. These economically mature markets are not growing nearly as rapidly as those in other segments, but they will continue to be the most dominant in business travel over the next five years.

The BRIC markets made up of large and rapidly growing business travel markets will be the first segment to challenge the Stalwarts in terms of market size. In the next five years we expect total business travel spending in the BRIC countries to snowball from $340 billion USD in 2014 to $528 billion by 2019.

The Newly Emerging, which includes the five countries mentioned at the start of this post, can be found in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. This segment expects to see $93 billion USD in growth in business travel spending during the next five years.

Finally, the Midsize Matters are well-established business travel markets. They are not growing rapidly, but the markets in this segment are critical to global commerce and will remain important business travel markets well into the future.  

Business Traveler Satisfaction Varies By Country

By GBTA Foundation

Recently, the first ever GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ in partnership with American Express revealed how business travelers across the globe feel about their travel experience and how those feelings affect their actual behaviors related to travel. This first global report showcased many differences (but also some similarities) between the countries surveyed for the study: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States.

Safety -- Among the encouraging safety findings, travelers from Australia (73 percent) and Mexico (71 percent) are the most likely to feel business travel overall is very safe, followed by Canada, the UK and the U.S. (66 percent, 64 percent and 63 percent, respectively). Conversely, fewer travelers from Brazil, Germany, and Japan feel as high a level of safety when it comes to business travel (53 percent, 44 percent and 35 percent, respectively).


Location Technology – Location technologies like GPS navigational tools can help business travelers, locate nearby services (e.g., stores, restaurants, service providers, etc.). Travelers globally expressed high interest in these tools. Interest is highest among travelers in Mexico (82 percent), Brazil (74 percent) and the U.S. (70 percent), compared to travelers in the other surveyed countries. Among travelers that gave a neutral or positive response, in general, they are most interested in using GPS to help locate restaurants, meeting venues, lodging and airports.

Social Media - Business travelers in Mexico and Brazil, the two Latin American countries included in this study, have had more success than travelers from other countries in leveraging social media to connect with friends and colleagues when traveling for work, and finding reviews about suppliers.


This information showing differences across countries helps to highlight that companies may need to apply different policies across countries. Regardless of where a business traveler resides, however, the Index reveals that Overall Trip Experience and Travel Friction has the largest impact on business travel experience, showing the need for most immediate attention. The Index can be used as a road-map for improving business travel across the globe.

Business Travelers View on the Economy

By GBTA Foundation

Recently, the first ever GBTA Global Business Traveler Sentiment Index™ in partnership with American Express revealed how business travelers across the globe feel about their travel experience and how those feelings affect their actual behaviors related to travel. A key finding of the study revealed travelers are optimistic about the health of their industry, though less hopeful about the overall state of their country’s economy.

With the exception of Mexico (67 percent), a minority of business travelers in the other countries surveyed believe the overall health of their economy is excellent (35 percent or less “agree” or “strongly agree”). In particular, travelers from Brazil (23 percent) and Canada (22 percent) are the most pessimistic.


On the other hand, travelers tend to be more optimistic about the health of their industry than their country’s economy. More specifically, at least half of travelers from Mexico (65 percent), the U.S. (54 percent), the UK (52 percent) and Canada (50 percent) feel the overall health of their industry is excellent, compared to less than half of travelers from Australia (46 percent), Germany (43 percent) Brazil (41 percent) and Japan (36 percent).

In addition, travelers are fairly confident in the financial performance of their companies. When asked whether their company is in excellent financial shape, a majority of travelers globally agree (55 percent or higher); however, only 47 percent of Brazilian travelers and 39 percent of Japanese travelers believe this to be the case.

Similarly, a majority of travelers across the countries surveyed (about 60 percent or more on average), except Japanese travelers (41 percent), “agree” or “strongly agree” their company’s management feels that business travel is very important to the overall financial performance of their company.

Although individual companies cannot do much to improve the health of the overall economy, communicating regularly with employees could help improve business traveler sentiment – knowledge is power.

How to Spot Human Trafficking at Airports

By GBTA Foundation

At GBTA Convention 2015, the GBTA Foundation announced a partnership with ECPAT, the leading anti-trafficking policy organization fighting sex tourism. GBTA is working to mobilize the travel industry against child exploitation in travel by encouraging the business travel industry to adopt and implement ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, the only voluntary, industry-driven set of guidelines that focuses on the elimination of child exploitation and trafficking.

You may have signed our Board at GBTA Convention in a pledge to support action to end child prostitution and trafficking or you may have read our post about other ways to get involved.


A recent BBC story delved into the stories of the victims of human trafficking showing the horrors they face.

CNN also recently ran a story on how airports can be used as hubs for human trafficking and gave seven telltale warning signs that someone is being trafficked. Among the signs are a traveler who is dressed inappropriately, someone tattooed with a barcode or someone who can’t provide details about their destination or flight information. See the article for the full list.

You can also become more aware of the issues and put in place best practices to know the signs and continue to build your knowledge about the issue using the GBTA toolkit.

Global Business Travel Spending to Hit Record High of $1.25 Trillion in 2015

By GBTA Foundation

Today at GBTA Convention, the GBTA Foundation unveiled its Annual Global Report & Forecast finding global business travel spending will hit a record $1.25 trillion USD in 2015, 6.5 percent growth over 2014. Growth will remain strong through 2019, with business travel projected to grow 6.9 percent in 2016, 6.0 percent in 2017, 6.4 percent in 2018 and 5.8 percent in 2019.

The study, sponsored by Visa, Inc., showed a large majority of business travel spending in 2014 occurs in a few dominant markets. In fact, over two-thirds of total business travel spending continues to occur in the U.S., China and Western Europe. Currently Asia Pacific owns the largest share of the business travel spend market with 39 percent followed by North America with 27 percent and Western Europe with 24 percent. GBTA expects that by 2019, Asia Pacific will have gained another 3.5 percentage points in market share, while the United States and Western Europe will lose 2.7 percentage points and 0.6 percentage points, respectively.

The GBTA Foundation also identified five newly emerging markets often overlooked because they aren’t as large as the traditional powers or the BRIC markets. Their rapid growth however, all but assures these five countries will become the business travel markets of the future. The five countries include Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland and Turkey.  

The top 15 business travel markets for 2014 were:


For Convention attendees who want to learn more, an education session in room 304AB at 11:30a.m., Global BTI Outlook: Global Trends and Forecast 2015-1019, will dive deep into the study and provide a fresh view of the business travel industry.

GBTA Partners with ECPAT to Fight Child Exploitation in Travel

By GBTA Foundation

Earlier today at GBTA Convention, the GBTA Foundation announced it is joining the fight to stop child exploitation by working with ECPAT, the leading anti-trafficking policy organization fighting sex tourism.

The GBTA Foundation will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with ECPAT against the trafficking and exploitation of children. In making this commitment, the GBTA Foundation will work with ECPAT to educate the travel industry about the warning signs of sex tourism and child exploitation. Working together, our industry can make a significant impact in ending child exploitation.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 100,000 children have been sexually abused and exploited in the United States in the past year, and millions more are exploited around the world.This statistic is both staggering and sobering.Travel infrastructure is sometimes used in trafficking and exploitation, through commercial airlines and buses used to transport children, online classifieds used to lure travelers, and hotel rooms which can be the site of abuse.

GBTA is working to mobilize the travel industry against child exploitation in travel. GBTA is encouraging the business travel industry to adopt and implement ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, the only voluntary, industry-driven set of guidelines that focuses on the elimination of child exploitation and trafficking.


Get Involved

Many GBTA Chapters, Affiliates, and Allied member companies have already signed the code and invested time and effort into developing programs to implement its guidelines. At GBTA Convention, there are four easy ways to join the fight:

  • By signing your name on the roaming GBTA boards, which will be located throughout the Convention Center this week.
  • By tweeting your support of the code with #ECPAT
  • By sending an email to
  • By attending an education session Tuesday, End Child Exploitation and Trafficking – Call to Action, at 10 a.m. in room 306AB, and hearing from a panel of experts.

Know the Signs

GBTA is calling on its members to become more aware of the issues and put in place best practices to know the signs and continue to build their knowledge about the issue using the GBTA toolkit available at

More Companies Consolidating Meetings, Events and Travel Programs

By GBTA Foundation

New research out today from the GBTA Foundation shows technology is playing a key role in knocking down barriers to consolidation. Also, more companies are consolidating their meetings, events and travel programs with a 14 percent growth in adoption over the past five years including a 28 percent increase in completed consolidation.

The study, Meetings, Events, and Travel Programs: Consolidation Drivers and Barriers, sponsored by Lanyon, revealed one-half of Travel Buyers currently have or are in the process of creating a consolidated meetings, events and/or travel program. Buyers with consolidated programs almost all say their travel (96 percent) and meetings (94 percent) programs are consolidated, while less than half say the same of their events program (43 percent).


Strong majorities of buyers are satisfied with the meetings, events and/or travel management technology used at their company and consolidated programs are more likely to use management technology than non-consolidated programs (48 percent and 39 percent, respectively).

Even for non-consolidated Buyers, there remains a strong interest in a number of additional features and functionalities when it comes to management technology for their travel programs. More than four out of five Buyers want accurate negotiated hotel rates displayed in the GDS, searchable hotels for receiving and negotiating RFPs and to learn about hotel rates and amenities secured by other companies. However, while there is a huge interest in the features and benefits management technology can bring to a meetings and events program, only one non-consolidated buyer reports currently using such technology.

Why Consolidate?

The study revealed improving visibility and transparency of meetings, events and/or travel costs is the most cited driver and goal for consolidating individual programs, and nearly four out of five buyers feel their company has been successful in this area. Survey respondents report each of the goals for consolidating are met by a strong majority of those with fully consolidated programs.

Popular goals and drivers for fully-consolidated programs include better leveraging and maximizing spend, obtaining better negotiated rates and dynamic pricing, and increasing efficiencies and improving service for stakeholders. The benefits of consolidation appeal to Buyers as four in five travel buyers found all facets of consolidated programs appealing.  

Changing Technologies Shift the Role of Travel Managers

By GBTA Foundation

It’s no secret that technology is an integral part of a Travel Manager’s role and will become increasingly more important in the future as travel managers seek to take a more strategic position within their organizations. A new study out recently from the GBTA Foundation, sponsored by Sabre, sought to better understand key responsibilities of travel managers, how technology has changed their role today and how technology is expected to further change their role in the future.


Here are five key takeaways you should know:

  • Due to technological advances, the vast majority (84 percent) of Travel Managers foresee their role becoming more strategic in the next three to five years than it is today with mobile technology, virtual payments and data collection and analysis all predicted to be a much higher priority in the near future.


  • Sixty-one percent of Travel Managers currently think that evaluating and applying technology solutions is “very important” to their role and 75 percent expect it to be “very important” in the near future.
  • A large majority – 86 percent – of Travel Managers reported having responsibilities related to selecting or implementing technology, such as online booking tools, mobile solutions or other travel technology software.
  • Travel Managers report that they place a great deal of value on having accurate, holistic travel data, which helps them to more easily demonstrate the value their program brings to the company. Seventy percent of Travel Managers currently say they consider leveraging and analyzing travel data to be “very important,” while a larger proportion – 82 percent – say it will be “very important” in the near future.
  • When discussing the travel technology solutions that will take on a larger priority in the future, Travel Managers frequently mentioned solutions related to mobility, especially apps for booking on mobile devices. Mobile technology may also play a greater role in duty of care, where mobility can help with communications and traveler tracking.