The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Marianne Varkiani
Marianne Varkiani
Marianne Varkiani's Blog

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.



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.

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.

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.

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:

Newsletter: GBTA Brasil Junho 2018

Uma visão sobre as viagens corporativas na região da América Latina
Por Horácio Cristaldo, Presidente do Capítulo GBTA Argentina

Para realizar ou pelo menos tentar fazer uma resenha geral do contexto das viagens corporativas a nível da região, devem ser levados em consideração vários fatores que influenciam em dito contexto, a saber:

O primeiro são os diferentes fornecedores da indústria de turismo, como é o caso das companhias aéreas, cada vez maiores, graças às parecerias, e a chegada das numerosas e competitivas  companhias “low cost”, que à medida que avançarem na região, terão uma porção interessante do mercado. Apesar de não estarem focadas no público corporativo, não deixam de ser uma nova opção que pode ser considerada, fundamentalmente, pelo tema de “tarifas”.

As grandes cadeias hoteleiras também devem ser consideradas  já que continuam expandindo suas propriedades por toda a região, mediante novas construções ou novas fusões, fazendo com que isto se converta em um mercado mais competitivo e de maiores exigências, produto da demanda dos clientes. As empresas, concomitantemente, devem continuar analisando o custo-benefício de continuar viajando e de trabalhar sua Política de Viagens, que pode ser cada vez mais restritiva (passagens em classe economy, nada de business) e, por outro lado, também podem dar um valor agregado à possibilidade de viajar, como o fato de reter talentos dando-lhe maior flexibilidade na hora de viajar (Bleasure).
Outro ponto para se ter em consideração  é o avanço das empresas quanto aos sistemas de “autogestão”, seja por meio de uma agência com uma OBT ou empresas menores, que buscam de forma direta (via internet) as companhias aéreas e hotéis, ou seja também através das OTA. E por último, e não por isso menos importante, o contexto político/econômico dos países da região. Eu, em particular como cidadão argentino, vejo que o contexto inflacionário faz com que a visão das empresas se circunscreva à prazos muito curtos devido, precisamente, as mudanças significativas do câmbio do dólar norte-americano. O crescimento da inflação faz com que sejam  tomadas muitas precauções, fazendo com que as empresas que planejam seguir viajando analisem em mais detalhe ditas decisões.

Em conclusão, de um lado se vê um horizonte muito favorável, em uma região cada vez mais interconectada e com maior tecnologia à disposição dos viajantes de negócios, Travel Managers e fornecedores. Por outro lado, existe uma falta de confiança a médio e longo prazo a respeito da consolidação desses novos atores, dos prestadores de serviços que possam fazer que estes sejam demandados a fim de que encontremos o equilíbrio nem sempre alcançado entre oferta e demanda.



Convenção GBTA 2018 Celebrará seu 50º  Aniversário em Agosto na Cidade de São Diego

A Convenção GBTA 2018, o maior encontro anual de viagens de negócio do mundo, terá lugar em seu 50º  aniversário, de 11 a 15 de agosto em São Diego, Califórnia, com a participação de conferências de alto nível, como Billie Jean King, ícone do esporte, pioneira da justiça social e empresária; e Kevin O’leary, investidor no programa Shark Tank de ABC e Presidente de O’Shares ETF Investments Financial Group.

Esta será a edição número 50, a qual celebrará o grande caminho recorrido e o momento criado a partir das últimas tendências, mudanças e evoluções na indústria das viagens de negócio.  A convenção reunirá ao redor de 7000 profissionais de viagens de negócio de mais de 50 países do mundo e terá mais de 100 sessões educativas e de desenvolvimento  profissional, a maior travel expo a nível global e importantes oportunidades de negócios.  Para maior informação, visite nosso site.



São Paulo Terá Sua Sexta Conferência na Próxima Semana

São Paulo se prepara para celebrar a sexta edição da Conferência GBTA, que terá lugar no próximo 11 de junho no Palácio Tangará São Paulo. Espera-se  mais de uma centena de participantes, que terão acesso à sessões educativas e apresentações de vanguarda sobre temas de interesse para a indústria de viagens corporativas, bem como a uma ampla exibição de produtos e serviços.
Entre os temas que serão tratados este ano estão: Startups, tendências da mobilidade corporativa, gerência e inteligência de negócios, comércio digital, viagens de negócios em tempos de bleisure e gestão de riscos.

Para maior informação e inscrições, entre em nosso site.



Estudo Mostra que Viajantes de Negócio Enfrentam Mais Riscos que Seus Homólogos Masculinos


Os viajantes de negócio correspondem a 40% do total de viajantes de negócios no mundo, número que continua crescendo. No entanto, os profissionais em viagens de negócios concordam que suas homólogas femininas enfrentam mais riscos ao viajar, segundo mostrou um recente estudo de GBTA e WWStay. Os resultados deste estudo foram apresentados em um webinar realizado pela GBTA no mês de abril, com a finalidade de mostrar como este tema está sendo abordado nos Programas de Viagens Corporativas das companhias. 

Se desejar ver o webinar (em inglês), clique aqui.

Creatividad y Patrocinios en los eventos de GBTA

La creatividad a la hora de poner frente su marca es importante para sacar el mayor provecho a su inversión en los eventos de Global Business Travel Association en América Latina. Recolectamos algunas buenas ideas que nuestros patrocinadores han ejecutado para que puedan inspirarlo en sus próximas acciones.

1. Networking Coffee Breaks: Un momento en el que los asistentes se relajan con un rico café, puede ser el momento ideal para que su marca este presente con pequeños detalles.

2. Expo Giveaways: De al visitante un toque de su servicio, como la línea SPA que se incluye como cortesía en esta línea de hoteles.​

3. Selfie Stations: Genere una experiencia divertida e interactiva, los asistentes subirán sus fotografías dándole más exposición e interacción a su marca.

4. Dinámicas digitalesAproveche banners impresos en la conferencia para interactuar con los asistentes usando dinámicas digitales para expandir su reach en redes sociales y generar más engagement, recompénselos con algún servicio o producto que su empresa pueda ofrecer.

Haga clic en el link para conocer las oportunidades de negocio en las ciudades más influyentes en la industria de viajes de negocio en América Latina.

Newsletter: GBTA América Latina Junio 2018

Una visión sobre los viajes corporativos en la región latinoamericana

Horacio Cristaldo, Presidente del Capítulo GBTA Argentina

Para realizar o al menos intentar hacer una reseña general del contexto de los viajes corporativos a nivel de la región, se deben tener en cuenta varios factores que influyen en dicho contexto, a saber:

Uno son los distintos proveedores del turismo, como es el caso de las compañías aéreas, cada vez más grandes (alianzas), y la llegada de las numerosas y competitivas  compañías “low cost”, que a medida que avanzan en la región, van teniendo una porción interesante del mercado. Si bien no están enfocadas en el público corporativo, no dejan de ser una nueva opción que se puede considerar fundamentalmente por el tema “tarifas”. También, las grandes cadenas hoteleras, que siguen expandiendo sus propiedades por toda la región  mediante nuevas construcciones o nuevas fusiones, hacen que esto se convierta en un mercado más competitivo y de mayores exigencias, también producto de la demanda de los clientes.

Asimismo están las empresas, que deben continuar analizando el costo-beneficio de seguir viajando (mucho va a depender de la industria a la que pertenece cada compañía) y de trabajar su Política de Viajes,  que puede ser cada vez más restrictiva (pasajes en clase economy, nada de business) Y, por otro lado, también pueden darle un valor agregado a la posibilidad de viajar, como el hecho de retener talentos dándole mayor flexibilidad al pasajero a la hora de viajar (Bleasure). Otro de los puntos por tener muy en consideración  es el avance de las empresas en cuanto a los sistemas de “autogestión”, ya sea por medio de una agencia con una OBT o empresas más pequeñas, que acuden en forma directa (vía internet ) a las compañías aéreas y hoteles o también mediante  las OTA.

Y por último, y no por ello menos importante, el contexto político/económico de los países de la región. Yo en lo particular como ciudadano argentino, veo que el contexto inflacionario hace que la visión de las empresas se circunscriba a plazos muy cortos debido, precisamente, a cambios significativos del tipo de cambio del dólar estadounidense. El crecimiento de la inflación hace que se tomen muchos recaudos y, si bien quizá para el turismo receptivo esta subida puede ser una oportunidad, a las empresas que planean seguir viajando las obliga a analizar más en detalle dichas decisiones.

En conclusión, de un lado se ve un muy buen horizonte con muchas expectativas y posibilidades de crecimiento en el volumen de viajeros corporativos, dada la gran oferta que comienza a darse en una región cada vez más interconectada y con mayor tecnología a disposición de los viajeros, los TM y los proveedores. Por otro lado, existe una falta de certidumbre en el mediano y largo plazo respecto de la consolidación de esos nuevos actores, los prestadores de servicios que puedan hacer que estos sean demandados y encontremos el equilibrio no siempre alcanzado de “oferta / demanda”.


Convención GBTA 2018 celebra su 50 aniversario en agosto en San Diego

La Convención GBTA 2018, el encuentro anual más grande de gerentes de viajes de negocio, planificadores de viajes y proveedores del mundo, tendrá lugar en su 50 aniversario del 11 al 15 de agosto en San Diego, California, con la participación de conferencias de alto nivel, como Billie Jean King, ícono del deporte, pionera de la justicia social y empresaria; y Kevin O’Leary, inversionista en el programa Shark Tank de ABC y Presidente de O’Shares ETF Investments Financial Group.

Esta será la edición número 50, la cual celebrará el gran camino recorrido y el momento creado a partir de las últimas tendencias, cambios y evoluciones en la industria de los viajes de negocio.  La convención reunirá a cerca de 7000 profesionales de viajes de negocio de más de 50 países del mundo y tendrá más de 100 sesiones educativas y de desarrollo profesional, la travel expo más grande a nivel global e importantes oportunidades de negocios.  Para mayor información, visite el sitio de la Convención.



São Paulo a las puertas de su sexta Conferencia GBTA

São Paulo se prepara para celebrar la sexta edición de la Conferencia GBTA , que tendrá lugar el próximo 11 de junio en el Palácio Tangará São Paulo.

Se espera más de un centenar de participantes, que tendrán acceso a sesiones educativas y foros de vanguardia sobre temas de interés para la industria de viajes corporativos, así como a  una amplia exhibición de productos y servicios.

Entre los temas que se tratarán este año están: los startups, ¿competencia u oportunidad?, las tendencias de la movilidad corporativa, gerencia e inteligencia de negocios, comercio digital, viajes de negocios en tiempos de bleisure y gestión de riesgos.

Para mayor información e inscripciones, ingrese aquí.



Estudio muestra que viajeras de negocio enfrentan más riesgos que sus pares masculinos

Las viajeras de negocio alcanzan un 40% del total de viajeros de negocios en el mundo y el número está creciendo. Sin embargo, los profesionales en viajes de negocios concuerdan en que sus pares femeninas enfrentan más riesgos al viajar, según lo mostró un reciente estudio de GBTA y WWStay.

Los resultados de este estudio fueron presentados en un webinar realizado por GBTA el pasado mes de abril, con el fin de mostrar cómo este tema está siendo abordado en los Programas de Viajes Corporativos de las compañías. 

Si desea ver el webinar (en inglés), haga clic aquí.



Creatividad y Patrocinos GBTA

La creatividad a la hora de poner frente su marca es importante para sacar el mayor provecho a su inversión en los eventos de Global Business Travel Association en América Latina. Recolectamos algunas buenas ideas que nuestros patrocinadores han ejecutado para que puedan inspirarlo en sus próximas acciones en los eventos en Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá, Buenos Aires y Lima.

Week in Review

Early last month, China began pressuring airlines to alter the way they refer to Taiwan in their promotional materials. According to Skift, global airlines are giving in to the demands for fear of losing out on the Chinese traveler market.  

Amtrak is now offering assigned seating for the first class section of Acela Express trains, USA TODAY reports. The practice may expand to other routes in the future.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEO Alexandre de Juniac predicts rising fuel costs will significantly impact airline profits in the coming future, The Economic Times notes.

According to Buying Business Travel, Air France has introduced Le Pass, a prepaid coupon that allows frequent travelers to lock in a fixed price for certain routes, even if they don’t know their exact travel dates.

Emirates President Tim Clark anticipates the airline will launch its premium economy offering in 2020, Arabian Business writes.

Singapore Airlines will restart its nonstop service to New York starting in October, Bloomberg reports. The 19-hour flight will have 67 business class and 94 premium economy seats.

Delta Air Lines will resume its service to India in 2019, USA TODAY notes.  

According to Skift, Hyatt has introduced a new corporate travel program targeting small businesses. Hyatt Leverage provides small businesses with discounts of up to 15% off room rates in addition to traveler tracking and spend management tools.

How can organizations recruit and retain talent without breaking the travel budget? This week’s podcast explores the link between travel policy and employee recruitment and retention. Rocketrip’s Dan Ruch shares his take on traveler-centric solutions companies can embrace, and Lola’s Krista Pappas discusses why the travel experience matters.

Various business lobby groups signed a letter urging the government to vote on the Heathrow expansion, BBC reports.

An Expedia survey finds Japanese travelers have a high tolerance for obnoxious airline passengers, Japan Times writes.

According to Travel Weekly, the travel industry must do more to protect client data.

Industry Speakers through Convention History

Through the past few decades of hosting our annual Convention, a range of speakers spanning various industry sectors have graced our stage. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of GBTA Convention, and in order to celebrate, we have been sharing a series of Throwback Thursday (#TBT) posts looking back on our history.

Starting with the aviation and airline industry, the NBTA International Convention & Exposition in 2008 featured an airline CEO panel with former Air Canada President and CEO Montie Brewer, former British Airways CEO Willie Walsh, and former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard H. Anderson. Incidentally, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian joined us nearly ten years later at GBTA Convention 2017, along with Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci who discussed his philosophy on handling difficult situations in the public eye.

In 2009, Southwest Airlines President & CEO Gary Kelly joined a panel with Larry Kellner, former Chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines, which ceased operations in 2012. The two discussed airline fees, capacity cuts, and the state of the aviation industry.

On the ground transportation front, Lyft Chief Business Officer David Baga and Dav El Chauffeured Transportation Network President and CEO Scott Solombrino tackled crucial questions about the future of the industry, including a possible future with driverless cars, during GBTA Convention 2016 in Denver. A year prior, former Zipcar President Kaye Ceille and Enterprise Holdings Chief Strategy Officer Greg Stubblefield took part in a panel on differentiating brands in the sharing economy.

As for hospitality, Airbnb Head of Business Travel David Holyoke, AccorHotels’ Markus Keller and NH Hotels CCO Fernando Vives participated in a 2017 panel on the evolution of the lodging industry and key strategies in driving success. In 2013, Best Western International President and CEO David Kong spoke on a panel about the power of value creation through branding and technology to challenge traditional business travel approaches.

Other notable industry speakers include former Expedia President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Cvent Founder & CEO Reggie Aggarwal, Concur CEO Steve Singh, Expedia Chairman and Senior Executive Barry Diller, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, Carlson Wagonlit Travel CEO Doug Anderson, Google Director of Travel Partnerships Dave Pavelko, Travel Leaders Group Founder Michael Batt, and Amadeus North America CMO Scott Alvis.

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