The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Week in Review

As Taiwan braced for the impact of Typhoon Maria on Tuesday, Reuters reports hundreds of flights were cancelled and schools were shut down. Weather officials warned of landslides and flooding on the island.

A new study revealed Miami International Airport was the top-ranked airport in Florida for business travelers, TravelPulse notes.

According to Business Traveller, Singapore’s Changi Airport will soon become the first airport in Southeast Asia to accept payments through WeChat Pay.

Ryanair was forced to ground dozens of flights on Thursday after a pilot walkout, Skift writes. This is the biggest strike that the airline has faced to date.

Corporate Travel Management acquired Hong-Kong based travel agency Lotus Travel Group in a $37.4 million USD deal, Travel Weekly notes.

Also on the acquisition front, Buying Business Travel reports Booking Holdings will buy hotel Australian metasearch site Hotelscombined.  

On this week’s podcast, we discuss how to tune up your travel policy. The conversation focused on identifying cost-savings opportunities, finding the balance between cost-savings and traveler productivity, and addressing shared economy options.

According to Buying Business Travel, UK airports are “failing” disabled passengers. The Civil Aviation Authority came out with a ranking of the region’s 30 busiest airports based on their ability to provide disabled passengers with assistance.

U.S. airlines are increasingly putting smaller bathrooms on planes, Los Angeles Times notes.

According to Forbes, the percentage of women traveling for business is rising, and as such, so are their unique travel safety risks.

Business shares tips on how to deal with employees who go rogue while booking business travel.

Following a trial period, Buying Business Travel reports Carlson Wagonlit is rolling out its Price Tracking technology worldwide. The technology continuously monitors flight and hotel prices and checks them against existing bookings.

As Google places a bigger emphasis on its mobile-first initiative, HotelMarketing’com discusses how hoteliers must adapt their digital presence and marketing.  

According to USA TODAY, American Airlines plans to eliminate plastic straws and stir sticks from its flights and lounges. As a result, the airline predicts its use of plastic will lessen by 71,000 pounds a year.

Convention Memories - Part 5

In just one month, GBTA Convention 2018 will be underway in San Diego! In order to celebrate our upcoming 50th anniversary, we’ve been encouraging past attendees to share their favorite and most impactful memories with us. If you’d like to get involved in commemorating this momentous occasion, submit your favorite Convention memories here.


Kevin Iwamoto, GoldSpring Consulting


Stephen Gheerow, Ford Foundation


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:

Podcast: Time For A Travel Policy Tune-Up

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel revisits a GBTA webinar discussion on tuning up your travel policy. The conversation focuses on identifying cost-savings opportunities, finding the balance between cost-savings and traveler productivity and addressing shared economy options. From there the panelists also share tips on communicating travel policy changes to today’s traveler and leave listeners with strategies to get their travel program running at peak performance.



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

The Risks and Rewards of Letting Technology Take the Wheel

Self-driving cars, no longer part of the future, will soon be here to stay.  According to Curbed, at least one rental car company plans to have driverless cars as part of their offering in the not too distant future.  With the addition of robotic driven vehicles to fleets, the corporate transportation landscape will dramatically change.

Many are hailing this innovation for its safety and convenience factors.  For those travelers arriving after a long haul flight, a self-driving car is a viable option. Another benefit allows for the driver to become the passenger and conduct business while on the road. The self-driving car would be a natural choice for the non-driver, a traveler unfamiliar with the area, or one that is ineligible to drive a rental vehicle.

How will self-driving vehicles impact ride sharing and black car ground transportation?  Theoretically, the driverless vehicles cancel the need for driver alcohol and drug testing, training and background checks.

Eventually this technology will impact the way companies manage rental car, fleet and ground transportation policy.  Insurance costs and rental car rates will be impacted.  VentureBeat predicts automakers will assume much of the liability.  The consensus is still out.  While the number of accidents are anticipated to decline and insurance premiums decrease, the estimated downturn in the volume of insurance purchased by individual drivers could adversely impact the insurance industry.  What additional liability will a corporation take on as driverless vehicles become part of their transportation program?  All factors to consider.

This is a very interesting evolution in transportation to witness, as the futuristic world of George Jetson becomes a world closer to reality.

Week in Review

In a blow to most air passengers, NPR reports the Federal Aviation Administration has declined to regulate seat size and pitch on airlines. Since 1978, seats have moved 3 inches closer together and average seat width on many airlines has shrunk by 1.5 inches.  

According to CNBC, rising jet fuel costs are expected to impact airline profits, making it tough for airlines to win over investors. Jet fuel is nearly 60 percent more expensive than last year, and some airlines may cut their schedules in the fall.

Business Traveller notes Sydney Airport and Qantas have begun trialling new facial recognition technology that enables fliers to check in to flights, drop bags off, and more.

Singapore Airlines will launch the world’s longest flight in October, USA TODAY notes. The Singapore to Newark flight will total 18 hours and 45 minutes.

According to Gulf News, Emirates has become the first airline to introduce VR technology that lets fliers preview seats and the interiors of the plane.

InterContinental Hotel Groups (IHG) completed its acquisition of a 51% stake in Regent Hotels & Resorts in a $39 million USD deal, Conference & Incentive Travel reports.  

The Economic Outlook Group’s chief global economist warns that hoteliers should plan for a recession, HotelMarketing’com notes.

According to 4Hoteliers, Chinese conglomerate HNA may sell Radisson Hotel Group. The company acquired the hotel group in 2016.

The construction of Mexico City’s new $13 billion airport is underway, Skift reports. Mexico’s next president is no longer looing to suspend the project.

According to Skift, new research suggests few corporate travel policies specifically address female safety.

This week’s Throwback Thursday post takes a look at major political and travel events in 2011, the year when we officially changed our name from the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) to GBTA.

Message From the Office of the GBTA President - July

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

Everyone is working hard to get ready for Convention. Can you believe we are less than two months away from celebrating the 50th Anniversary of GBTA? Below is a brief update on what we are working on.

We recently announced more of our Center Stage sessions. I am pleased to announce that Turning the Tables—Buyers Take Center Stage panel will kick off Tuesday morning. This will be a great panel and interesting change of pace as we usually put a supplier in the hot seat, but this year we are really turning the tables. Carlson Wagonlit Travel CEO Kurt Ekert will moderate a panel of senior buyers providing their take on the latest trends, top opportunities and major challenges facing today’s business travel industry. 

We have also added a special session to Monday’s Center Stage line-up. In a One on One with Arne Sorenson, the Marriott President and CEO will take the stage to share his outlook on the future of hospitality. In this candid interview, Sorenson will talk about the progress of the Marriott Starwood merger while talking about how hotel brands are changing to cater to today’s travelers.

The GBTA mobile app is available to all GBTA attendees. Access everything you need to know about Convention. You can enhance your experience in San Diego by using the app to create a personal schedule, access speaker details, exhibitor lists and an Expo map and so much more. Click here to download today.

Committee Highlight: Sports, Media and Entertainment
The Sports, Media and Entertainment Committee’s mission is to find common solutions to the unique challenges facing business travel professionals in these dynamic fields. This year the Committee hosted two Peer-to-Peer sessions, in New York City and L.A., where buyer members shared best practices. The sessions have led to great improvements such as successful negotiations with several airlines regarding the media bag rate as well as 24/7 support desks specifically assigned to handle the unique requirements of those in the sport, media and entertainment industries. United has even started a specific group dedicated to Sports to handle those requirements. From the hotel side, the Committee has been working closely with many hotels to keep costs down for yearly planned events.

Legislative Summit 2018
GBTA hosted its 16th annual Legislative Summit this June. Over 130 GBTA members representing 23 states attended, and called on lawmakers to pass a five-year FAA Bill ensuring a long-term plan for the future of aviation and requested the entire 9-11 Aviation Security Fee is used for airport security and passenger facilitation.

The Legislative Summit kicked off with a full day of discussions with top lawmakers, industry insiders and political strategists on key travel issues. Former Reps. Al Wynn (D-MD) and Randy Forbes (R-VA) led a discussion on navigating the partisan divide in today’s politics. Anthony Bedell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) discussed the DOT’s current priorities, planned investments in infrastructure and the not-so-distant future featuring autonomous vehicles and drones.

GBTA also honored Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) with the GBTA Navigator Award for their efforts as strong champions for business travelers and the business travel industry. Each also gave remarks during the Summit on key issues impacting our industry.

As always, thank you to our members for your continued support and commitment. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have.


Taking a Bite Out of Business Dining

It’s no secret that business travel poses a threat to your health – the late-night departures, early morning arrivals, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise all take a toll. Want to discover tips for staying healthy while on the road? Join us for a GBTA- and Dinova-hosted Twitter Chat as we discuss top tips for staying healthy while on the road, dining trends among business travelers, and more. Be sure to use the hashtag #GBTAchat in your tweets in order to gain further exposure!


Tuesday, July 17 at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT / 6:00pm GMT


Dinova, @DinovaNetwork

Global Business Travel Association, @GlobalBTA

What Is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a public conservation on Twitter centered on a unique topic or hashtag to connect people with similar interests, issues or questions. A group of users meet at a planned time to discuss a predetermined topic using a designated hashtag.

The host or moderator tweets a series of questions (designated with Q1, Q2, etc.) designed to facilitate conversation. Participants respond based on their personal experiences (using A1, A2, etc.) and have the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals in the online space.

How Does It Work?

  1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2:00 p.m. ET and make sure to follow @GlobalBTA and @DinovaNetwork.
  2. Every few minutes, we’ll tweet a new question from @GlobalBTA during the chat. To join the conversation, simply tweet a reply to the prompt, retweet or ask a question using our #GBTAchat hashtag.
  3. To follow the conversation in real-time, enter the hashtag #GBTAchat into the search bar and sort tweets by “Latest”.

Throwback Thursday: Becoming GBTA

2011 was quite a chaotic year – it marked the Egyptian revolution ending the decades-long presidency of Hosni Mubarak, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in New Zealand, a weeks-long nuclear crisis in Fukushima and the deaths of Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-il and Steve Jobs. BBC appropriately coined it “the year when a lot happened”.

On a lighter note, 2011 also marked a big change for our organization. In order to reflect the global nature of our operations, the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) became the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in February of that year. Executive Director & COO Mike McCormick and former President Craig Banikowski announced the change and laid out the vision for the organization’s future at the 2010 NBTA International Convention & Exposition in Houston.

As we look ahead to our 50th annual Convention in San Diego this summer, we also take this time to look back and reflect on the history of our industry. During “the year when a lot happened”, the travel industry was no stranger to chaos either. Among the things that happened in 2011:

  • January – Restrictions on Americans’ travel to Cuba were eased (The New York Times)
  • March – The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong opens, claiming the title of world’s tallest hotel (CNN)
  • September – Inbound tourism to the Middle East declines in the wake of protests and revolutions associated with the Arab Spring (Euromonitor International)
  • October – The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the world’s first carbon-composite passenger jet, makes its commercial debut by flying travelers from Tokyo to Hong Kong (Reuters)
  • November – American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of higher fuel prices and reduced demand for travel (Reuters)

For more on the happenings of 2011, check out the Top 10 Everything of 2011 by TIME.  

Stay tuned 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. Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts!

GBTA Board of Directors Election: Absentee Ballots Now Available

Make Your Voice Heard
Determine the Future of GBTA
Absentee Ballot Request Process Now Open

*An email was sent from GBTA's Election Services firm last week to GBTA members eligible to vote detailing the absentee voting process for those who may not be able to vote onsite at Convention.*

It is time to start choosing new leadership positions for GBTA. In preparation for the upcoming voting opportunities, please take a moment to review the election materials and platform statements in the Board of Directors Election Brochure 2018.

At Convention 2018, elections with voting by electronic means will be open starting on Monday, August 13 at 11:30 am PT until Tuesday, August 14 at 6pm PT at the GBTA Convention at the San Diego Convention Center. Ballots will only be available online. Results of the elections will be announced at Convention Arena on Wednesday, August 15. Individuals must be Direct or Allied members of GBTA to be eligible to vote. Please note that to vote onsite, individuals must also be registered for Convention by July 31, 2018.

If you are unable to attend GBTA Convention 2018 and vote in person, you may request an absentee ballot. The absentee ballot request process is now open. You may reply to the email you received from Election Services Company on June 28 to request an absentee ballot or click here and write "Please send me an absentee ballot" in the body of the email. The absentee ballot will be available online only.

The Election Services Company (ESC) will respond to your email request and provide you with the website link and code to login and cast your absentee vote.

The deadline to request the absentee ballot is July 13.

The deadline to submit an absentee ballot is August 6.

The positions up for election are:

  • Three (3) Direct Members at Large for a term of three years

  • One (1) Allied Member at Large for a term of two years

We thank you in advance for your participation in shaping the future of GBTA.

Bleisure: Tendencia en Viajes de Negocio

Que es el Bleisure y porque cada vez más escuchamos hablar de él. Este término es resultado de combinar business y leisure, o lo que es lo mismo, negocio y ocio. 

De acuerdo con el estudio, Extending Business Travel into Lesisure Time – Bleisure Study realizado por Global Business Travel Association en conjunto con Hilton.

48% de empleados Milenials (nacidos entre 1981-1996) lo hacen con más frecuencia, mientras los Baby Boomers sólo representan el 23%.

¿Qué es lo que lleva a los viajeros de negocios a extender sus viajes de negocio a viajes de placer?
Algunas de las razones por las cuales los empleados convertirán su viaje de negocio a viaje de placer, son:

  • El destino al que fueron enviados les es de interés y les gustaría pasar más tiempo
  • Les parece una manera más económica de tomar vacaciones
  • Sienten necesidad de tener un tiempo lejos de casa y el trabajo
  • Quieren visitar a amigos o familiares
  • Planean asistir a un evento deportivo o cultural

Los viajeros de negocio que hacen viajes de bleisure, normalmente amplían su viaje por un corto periodo de tiempo. El promedio es de tres días y casi la mitad de los encuestados declara haber viajado con compañía para extender su viaje.

  • Como proveedor puede ayudar a las empresas con descuentos corporativos para tratar de mantener a los viajeros en los mismos hoteles e instalaciones.
  • Desarrollar programas de viajes con políticas flexibles para los empleados de la compañía que deseen extender su viaje de negocios.
  • Tener soluciones integrales para ayudar al viajero a sacar mayor provecho de su tiempo (reservaciones en línea, tarifas especiales, alianza con otros proveedores, ejemplo transporte, tours, etc.)  

Estos y otros temas serán cubiertos en la serie de Conferencias de GBTA en las ciudades más importantes de América Latina, si desea conocer como conectar con travel managers y gestores de viajes de negocios de la región, lo invitamos a ver la lista de eventos para el resto del 2018.