The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Guest Post
Guest Post
Guest Post's Blog

Mind Your Ps: How Corporate Travel Supports Business Goals for Profits, People and the Planet

The three Ps—profits, people and planet—are the triple bottom line for businesses today. Companies evaluate opportunities and measure success using financial, social and environmental metrics. According to a recent study commissioned by the United Nations:

  • 97% of chief executive officers believe sustainability is important to the future success of their business.
  • 85% have embedded sustainability into the business.
  • 79% say brand, trust and reputation drive them to act on sustainability.

Corporate travel plays a vital role. A travel program that embeds sustainability into its operations supports savings (profits), traveler satisfaction (people) and environmentally and socially responsible stewardship (planet).

If you’re just getting started with linking your travel program to broader business goals on sustainability, GBTA’s Sustainability in Travel Self-Assessment Tool, created in conjunction with BCD Travel, is a great place to begin. It measures sustainability by program category, including:

  • Overall sustainability program
  • Policies and procedures
  • Air
  • Hotel
  • Car rental
  • Rail
  • Other transportation
  • Meetings and events
  • Traveler well-being
  • Program communications

Based on the results, the tool grades your travel program’s sustainability level and provides recommendations for improvement. It’s easy to use, and the category assessments can be completed over time or all at once.

Once you have a clearer understanding of your program’s strengths and weaknesses, start looking for others in the business travel industry with a proven record of sustainability success.

In addition, the United Nations Global Compact website offers information on thousands of companies committed to the world’s largest sustainability initiative. The Global Compact calls for corporations to align business principles with sustainability efforts, including improving human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption practices. Make connections with some of these businesses that are getting sustainability right, and ask them for guidance.

The focus on profits, people and the planet is here to stay. It’s time to start minding your three Ps—and you’ve got the tools and resources to make that happen.

Questions? Comments? Send me an email at, and let’s have a chat about creating a sustainable travel program. You can also get in touch via, and we’ll share our story and tips for sustainability success.



As Senior Manager Global Sustainability Marketing, Sabine Kerse leads all Marketing and Communications activities focused on sustainability at BCD Travel. In this role she’s made her passion for sustainability part of her profession and uses the powers of Marketing to drive corporate responsibility forward.

Sabine holds a Master’s degree in Tourism & Leisure Management from the Salzburg Management Business School and has profound knowledge about corporate travel from different roles in over 20 years in the industry.

Data Privacy Toolbox for Business Travelers

By Rebecca Herold, President of SIMBUS LLC, CEO of the Privacy Professor and 3M Privacy Consultant


Are employees leaving themselves, your company and your customers vulnerable to a data breach when they travel? The answer is something we all need to examine – and re-examine – regularly.

Many business travelers simply aren’t aware of the full range of issues they need to address. It’s understandable: trying to ensure data security and privacy is more challenging than ever, complicated by advances in technology, new types of data, and the proliferation of mobile devices. In 2017, there were eight connected devices per person; by 2021, that number is expected to rise to 13 connected devices per person.[1] That’s a lot of ground to cover.

Following is a breakdown of travelers’ common vulnerabilities around data privacy – and a toolbox of behavioral changes and solutions to help mitigate the risks.

A Cautionary Tale

To kick off this discussion, I’d like to share an example I’ve observed in the wild – in this case, an airport in our nation’s capital. I recognized a well-known elected official in the waiting area. The official was reading a document on a tablet, clearly visible from multiple angles, using a large font setting. Later, the official put down the tablet and went to speak with people away from the seating area, leaving the tablet unsupervised and unlocked. When it was time to board, the tablet sat forgotten on the official’s seat until someone else pointed it out to the official just before he had checked in at the gate.

This example may seem extreme, but in my experience it’s common; it’s easy to overlook even the basics of data security when traveling, especially for those who have gotten comfortable with the process. It’s important that we rethink our routines and behaviors to ensure we don’t overlook privacy and security basics.

Common Vulnerabilities

First, we need to consider visual exposure. It starts with the people in our immediate vicinity, such as the person sitting next to us on a plane or train, but it expands much further. We have to consider who might be above us or behind us at a distance using a device that allows them to zoom in. We have to think about security cameras and other devices intended for protection recording views of the area that could be reviewed by many and stored indefinitely. But we must also consider that the devices could be hacked or used for nefarious purposes. In some locations, we might even need to think about drones!

Verbal exposure also matters. There’s a feeling of anonymity in crowded places that can lull people into a false sense of security. However, we don’t always know who’s around us or what information they might be able to glean and use. Conversations about sensitive company topics should be conducted in private.

Then, there are the ways in which we leave ourselves digitally exposed. Do you use open, publicly-available Wi-Fi in hotels, airports and other public places? Do you use the shared charging stations? Unfortunately, these services pose a significant data security risk. The Wi-Fi risk is better known, but many travelers don’t realize that hackers can quickly install skimmers or “juice jackers” on USB chargers that allow access to the data on the device being charged.

Finally, there is physical exposure – the risk of someone simply taking our devices. This risk is compounded infinitely for anyone who does not lock their devices when not in use, providing easy access to the information stored within. This type of casual or accidental neglect is more common than you’d think – but also easily corrected and avoided.

Stocking Your Data Privacy Toolbox

Fortunately, for every area of vulnerability around data privacy, there are tools available to help address the common threats. Here are key behaviors and technologies that will help keep information safe while employees travel:

  • Better situational awareness: You are your own first line of defense when it comes to data privacy and security. Try to position yourself in a way that limits what other people – or devices – can see, hear or record.
  • Privacy filter for laptop and device screens: Privacy filters help protect what’s on your screen by blocking unauthorized side views – a particularly useful tool in crowded waiting areas or in transit on planes or trains.
  • Lock your devices when not in use: Password-protecting your device is the most basic of all security measures, followed only by locking your device when it is not in use.
  • Physical locks and alarms: Having a physical lock for your briefcase or carry-on provides an extra layer of security against opportunistic snatch-and-grab incidents. In addition, laptop alarms are available that combine software with a physical alarm attached to the device. If the device is lost or stolen, the alarm goes off loudly.
  • Juice-jack protectors and charging devices: Juice-jack protectors can be attached to the end of your USB cord to protect against skimmers when you charge your devices in public places. It’s also a good idea to travel with personal charging devices, limiting the need to use public chargers at all.
  • A portable Wi-Fi hotspot and/or company VPN: Open or publicly-available Wi-Fi leaves travelers vulnerable to all manner of hacking. Ideally, travelers should have their own personal hotspot device to provide their own Wi-Fi, but a company VPN also can provide greater protection on an open network.
  • A laptop just for business travel: This may not be possible for all travelers or companies, but a laptop used solely for travel, with the minimum amount of data needed for each trip, offers an advantageous way to limit access to sensitive information.

Used collectively and consistently, this toolbox of solutions can help provide important safeguards for data privacy across devices and throughout the business trip.


About the Author

Rebecca Herold (FIP, CISSP, CISA, CISM, CIPT, CIPM, CIPP/US, FLMI) is CEO and founder of The Privacy Professor consultancy, established in 2004. She is also co-founder and president of SIMBUS, LLC, an information security, privacy, technology and compliance management cloud service for organizations of all sizes, in all industries, in all locations, founded in 2014. Rebecca is a privacy consultant for 3M and receives compensation in connection with her participation as a 3M Privacy Consultant.

[1] Cisco Annual Visual Networking Index Forecast, 2017

Dining Programs are Hot: Here’s Why it Should Matter to You

By Heather Thompson, Public Relations Manager, Dinova

With the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention just behind us, it’s no wonder everyone is talking about business travel. It’s a hot topic that gets even hotter when we talk about how much business travel actually costs. (Don’t worry, procurement managers, we’re all feeling the same swelter.)

There’s no doubt that managing a travel program is much easier – and ensures your employees receive the best experience possible – when you partner with the right vendors. So, you negotiate the most advantageous contracts with one major airline, one hotel group, one rental car provider, and all is dandy. When it comes to putting together a dining program, however, the sheer number of possible vendors and contracts becomes overwhelming, a herculean task that hardly seems worth the effort. Or is it?

More than $77B is spent annually on business dining in the United States, according to an AMEX and GBTA study released in 2017. That total alone makes it the third largest category of overall T&E spend and clearly identifies dining as a topic worth discussion. But with approximately 640,000 restaurants across the nation, what would a managed dining program even look like?

It should look a lot like any other preferred vendor initiative: one source offering your employees a range of options, enabling them to have a great travel experience while also complying with your travel policy. What else should be included? Discounts or rebates of some kind that gives companies an incentive to use only their services. What makes an outstanding preferred program is understanding the traveler and what they really want.

At Dinova, business dining is always on our mind. We’re always hungry for insights about what makes business diners tick, what’s going on in the restaurant world, and how we can nourish connections between these two passions. In partnership with GBTA, we conducted an in-depth survey of U.S. business travelers in Spring 2018, delving into trends in diners’ habits, technology use, and company expense policies, while also uncovering fascinating generational differences.

Key among our findings: 60 percent of respondents said their organizations do not have any dining program at all, but 74 percent would be motivated to participate in one if they earned rewards for themselves or for the company. Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity for companies to capture employee attention and engagement with a preferred dining program. If you could bring back some of that spend, wouldn’t you?

For more information about Dinova, visit our website at

About the Author: Heather Thompson, public relations manager at Dinova since 2016, honed her Media Relations skills at a range of organizations, from a boutique PR firm to a Fortune 500 powerhouse. She recently completed her master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University, and, when not using her PR powers to change the world, can typically be found in a small suburb of Atlanta riding her horses. 

About Dinova:
Dinova provides companies with an innovative marketplace filled with restaurants and enterprise partners who understand the value of a business patron dining on official company business and know that the connections made over a meal drive understanding and shared perspectives that establish lifelong relationships. Dinova nourishes those connections to create value for restaurants, companies, and the business people we serve every day.

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.