The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

BREXIT UPDATE: UK Leaders Must Not Leave the EU Without A Deal

GBTA Calls on EU and UK Leaders to Agree on Outstanding Issues in the Withdrawal Agreement

Progress in the Brexit negotiations since the June 2018 European Council Summit has been slow by every measure. The UK and EU negotiating teams have met in Brussels since mid-August in the hope of finalizing the outstanding issues in the Withdrawal Agreement preparing the exit of the UK from the EU. Despite these efforts, they have reached the long-earmarked deadline of the October European Council Summit without evidence of clear progress on some of the key remaining issues relating to the Withdrawal Agreement, such as Northern Ireland.

Even despite positive talks over the weekend, political considerations have brought us back to square one.

In this context, ahead of the European leaders’ Summit taking place on 17-18 October, GBTA stresses once again that securing the Withdrawal Agreement and transition remains essential for the business travel industry. The lack of progress in negotiations puts into question the feasibility of guaranteeing certainty for businesses with an effective, predictable transition period as of March 2019. Letting the UK leave the EU without a deal would lead to brutal changes to the current trading, economic and social environments causing serious consequences on business travelers themselves, as citizens and as business representatives.

Although GBTA welcomes the EU and the UK’s increased activities on preparing stakeholders for every outcome including a “no deal”, with publications of many technical notices (UK and EU), the priority remains to not reach that point. We appreciate the fact that aviation is one of the few areas in which the European Commission and the UK Government has been forthcoming with their contingency planning. The UK has in fact committed to unilaterally grant permits to allow EU airlines to continue providing their services in the UK. We can only hope that the EU-27 will agree to reciprocate these permits for UK airlines even in the case of a no deal.

While Brexit contingency planning for the aviation sector is relatively advanced, if not properly managed, risks still exist that would undermine many key principles critical to the business travel industry. GBTA has been continuously defending the need for proper connectivity, robust competition and high standards for safety and security measures for travelers as well. 

That is why GBTA calls on the EU and the UK to harness the general momentum to conclude the Withdrawal Agreement, including the vital transition period, by mid-November at the latest. This will ensure the EU-27, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament have sufficient time to adopt the provisions of the agreement. GBTA also looks forward to EU and UK negotiators initiating discussions on the framework for the future trading relationship between the EU and the UK, especially when it comes to future aviation arrangements.

Finally, GBTA looks forward to meeting with key EU decision makers again this week to discuss Brexit and its impact on the business travel sector at this critical juncture.   

5 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

It’s no secret that when you’re away from home, fast food like McDonald’s and Dunkin often looks significantly more appealing than taking the time to find healthier options. Staying consistent with a meal plan and being active are steps to a healthy lifestyle that you shouldn’t have to compromise on while on business travel.

Now, there’s no harm in treating yourself every once in a while, to your favorite sugary Frappuccino or donuts, but its best done in moderation. Many restaurants – including fast food spots – make a point now of indicating healthier choices on their menu making your decisions easier even when you are in a rush as well. In a recent Twitter chat, we asked our followers to share their top tips for staying committed to diet and exercise on the road. Here are the top five:


1 - Pick a local restaurant and walk there instead of taking a cab.

2 - Look into trying ClassPass or similar subscription-based fitness memberships you can use in many different cities.

3 - Take an early morning walk around the city you're visiting.

4 - When selecting a hotel, determine whether they have a gym ahead of time.

5 - Finding healthy options at most restaurants is doable. Be mindful of where you go and what you order.


According to recent GBTA research, conducted in partnership with Dinova, 77 percent of business travelers consider healthy eating while traveling to be important.

Health-Conscious Travel

Want to learn more about what your travelers think about eating out while on the road for work? Get more info about the study findings here.

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

Week in Review

After causing destruction in Cuba, Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 4 storm before hitting the Southeast U.S., Buying Business Travel reports. According to CNBC, over 300 flights were cancelled at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Thursday.

Meetings & Conventions recently revealed their fourth annual list of the top 25 women in the meetings industry. The list included GBTA President Christle Johnson, ITM Chair Karen Hutchings and WINiT founder Michelle “Mick” Lee.

British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Finnair, and the carriers of the LATAM group will participate in NDC exchange, a platform that “bridges the gap between IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) and traditional distribution methods,” Buying Business Travel reports.

Hyatt announced its plans to acquire Two Roads Hospitality for a base purchase price of $480 million, Business Traveller writes. Through the acquisition, Hyatt will be adding 23 new markets to its presence.

According to Hotelmarketing’com, acquisitions will continue to occur in the hotel sector, but they will become more targeted.  

Hertz announced Tracy Gehlan as its new chief operations officer for its international division, TravelDailyNews International notes.

This week, we announced the formation of the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board to provide direction for the future of WINiT. We announced our acquisition of WINiT this summer at our annual Convention.

According to USA TODAY, New York’s JFK Airport is set to get two new terminals in a $13 billion transformation. The seven-year construction project is expected to begin in 2020.
IHG announced plans to remove plastic straws from its 5,400+ hotels by the end of 2019, TravelDailyNews International reports. The hotel group has already removed plastic straws from nearly 1,000 hotels.

For this week’s podcast, ECPAT-USA Director Michelle Guelbart shares ways the travel industry can help put an end to child trafficking, including specific tips for travel buyers and suppliers.

According to Travel + Leisure, IATA recently revealed what airline passengers really want based on results from its annual global passenger survey. The survey also found that passengers are less willing to share personal data than a year ago.

Skift reports Microsoft will invest an unspecified amount in ride-hailing platform Grab, which operates in Southeast Asia.

GBTA Unveils Speaker Lineup for Western Canada Business Travel Symposium in Calgary

GBTA, the voice of the global business travel industry, today unveiled the speaker lineup for its sold-out Western Canada Business Travel Symposium in Calgary on Thursday, October 18.

This event is an evolution of the Energy, Resources & Marine Symposium that has taken place annually in Calgary from 2014 to 2017. Our 2018 symposium will feature keynote speakers and education sessions focusing on business travel, logistics and crew/camp movement, and accommodations within the industry sectors of oil, gas, energy, resources, mining, forestry and agriculture, specific to the western Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan to British Columbia.

Attendees will hear insights on the latest technology trends impacting the Canadian business travel industry, lessons on crafting a comprehensive end-to-end travel program for companies operating crew movements, learn about NDC’s impact on personalization in our industry, and much more. In addition, our symposium will provide an excellent opportunity for travel buyers and suppliers to network with other professionals involved in these specialized industry sectors.

Keynote and Centre Stage Speakers include:

  • Lee Courtney, Founder, DLC Strategic Solutions
  • David Crawford, Vice President, Vancouver Board of Trade
  • Dave Froh, Vice President, Sector Development, Economic Development Saskatchewan
  • Clark Grue, President & CEO, Calgary TELUS Convention Centre
  • Roxanne Israel, Partner, EY Law LLP
  • Sharlene Ketwaroo-Nanoo, Travel Category Manager, Rogers Communications
  • Shelly Lewchuk, Manager, Corporate Travel, Canadian Natural Resources Limited
  • Linda Olsen, TV News Anchor, Global News
  • Jay Richmond, Head of Business Travel Group, Amadeus North America, Inc.

We also have an excellent line-up of Featured Session Speakers that includes:

  • Ashley Allot, Managing Director Canada, Egencia
  • Greg Allworth, Director Enterprise Sales, Chromeriver
  • George Bryan, President, Tropos Consulting
  • Luc Carriere, Production Coordinator, Sulphur Experts Inc.
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick, Chief Commercial Officer, Innfinity
  • Jeff Hamilton, Director, Sales & Business Development, Carlson Wagonlit Travel
  • Darlene Innes, Manager, Employee & Labour Relations Advisory Services, Shaw Communications Inc.
  • Mark Kosikowski, Manager Commercial Distribution, Air Canada
  • Jean-Philippe Lavallee, Founder & CEO, Nomadis
  • Monica McKill, Air & Ground Transportation, Cenovus Energy
  • Michael Nagel, Nomadis
  • Jessica Nunes, Manager, Business Travel and Operations ScotiaBank
  • Ian Race, Senior VP, Corporate Sales & Account Management, Vision Travel Solutions
  • David Roberts, Indirect Tax Manager, Cargill
  • Barbara Stiver, Manager, Client Logistics, Civeo North America

For more information and the full agenda, please visit the symposium website. Press registration is complimentary for accredited media. For media accreditation, please contact Marianne Varkiani at

GBTA Announces WINiT Strategic Advisory Board

*The following post was originally sent as a member email to GBTA and WINiT members.*

At Convention this August, I had the pleasure of announcing GBTA’s acquisition of WINiT, a career development network aimed at increasing visibility and advancement for women in the travel, meetings, events and exhibition industries. This move further strengthened our ongoing commitment to support women in the travel industry.

Today, I am thrilled to announce a key milestone in the post-acquisition integration process: the formation of the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board. This Advisory Board brings together a remarkable and diverse group of travel industry leaders to help expand WINiT’s mission globally. Both GBTA and former WINiT leadership are represented on this board to help foster consistency and innovation within WINiT as it evolves and grows.

The Advisory Board will provide strategic guidance and direction for the future of WINiT as a GBTA Board of Directors initiative. The members of the Advisory Board include:

  • Chair – Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President & CMO, Best Western® Hotels & Resort

  • Vice Chair – Michelle ‘Mick’ Lee, Founder, WINiT, Managing Director, Arrow 212

  • Delores Alexander, Vice President, Indirect Supply Chain, Boeing

  • Jodi Allen, Executive Vice President & CMO, Hertz

  • Michele Bryant, Global Chief Procurement Officer, Deloitte

  • Amanda Cecil, PhD, CMP, Senior Vice President, Professional Development and Research, GBTA

  • Mary Ellen George, Head of North America, Tramada Systems

  • Christle Johnson, Vice President, Travel & Business Services, Johnson Downie, LLC; President, GBTA

  • Beth Kinerk, Senior Vice President, Avis Budget Group

  • Melissa Maher, Senior Vice President, Global Partner Group, Expedia, Inc.

  • Michael W. McCormick, Executive Director and COO, GBTA

  • Traci Mercer, Senior Vice President, Lodging, Ground and Sea, Sabre Travel Network

  • Malaika Myers, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hyatt Hotel Corporation

  • Becca Rabinowitz, Head of SpotHero for Business

  • Dawn Repoli, Vice President, Program Development, GBTA’s WINiT Business Unit

  • Kristen Shovlin, Vice President, Sales Operations & Development, Delta Airlines

  • Scott Solombrino, President and CEO, Dav El / Boston Coach Chauffeured Transportation Network; President, GBTA Allied Leadership Council

The first in-person meeting of the Advisory Board is scheduled for November. The GBTA and WINiT teams, now in collaboration with the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board, are working diligently to finalize a strategic plan and path forward that leverages the synergies and unique attributes of both organizations for the benefit of GBTA and WINiT members. Additional announcements will be coming in November, along with the integration of select WINiT programming into GBTA Conference 2018 Berlin in partnership with VDR – Europe’s largest business travel conference.

On a closing note, today marks the 6th annual United Nations International Day of the Girl, a day dedicated to galvanizing worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this day than taking this next step in our efforts to grow WINiT’s mission globally as we further affirm our commitment to support the lives and success of women around the world.

Exciting times are on the horizon for GBTA, WINiT and the entire travel industry as we come together to drive change and advocacy for women. I look forward to sharing this incredible journey with all of you.

Podcast: ECPAT’s Efforts to Eliminate Child Trafficking

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel talks with Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement for ECPAT-USA about ways the travel industry can help put an end to child trafficking. Michelle also discussed the importance of urging Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.



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!

Week in Review

Another Friday, another Week in Review post to keep you updated on the latest business travel news.

According to Buying Business Travel, a new app for disabled train passengers is currently in development. The app will track passengers throughout their journey, making it easy for staff to know when and where to meet them for assistance. Currently, passengers must book assistance, and staff are given a print-out of requests every morning.  

A new survey reveals 77% of airports and 71% of airlines are either researching biometrics or planning to implement programs to identify travelers using facial recognition or other biometric means, Business Traveller reports.

The United States and Australia will launch a pilot program that allows Australian citizens to apply for Global Entry, Big Island Now writes. The Global Entry program allows for expedited customs clearance for pre-screened travelers.

In other airport news, Milan Linate Airport will close for three months next summer due to runway and terminal building renovations, Business Traveller writes.

The same source notes that Austria’s Salzburg Airport will also close in 2019 in order to refurbish its 60-year-old runway. The airport will close from April 24 to May 28.

According to The Washington Post, the Senate on Wednesday approved H.R. 302, a bill that provides long-term funding for the FAA and prohibits voice calls on planes, among other things. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee states that the President will sign the bill during a 2:45pm signing ceremony on Friday.

Budget airline Primera Air officially ceased operations on Tuesday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded, Reuters notes.

This week, our podcast highlights a recent webinar called Solving Real Enterprise Problems Through AI. AppZen’s Ryan Floersch looks at how AI is empowering managers to take control of team spend at a field level.

According to, Avis Budget Group acquired a car rental company in Portugal called Turiscar Group, adding nearly 3,000 vehicles to its network.

Also in acquisition news, Xenia Hotels & Resorts acquired Fairmont Pittsburgh in a $30 million deal, TravelDailyNews International reports.

According to Buying Business Travel, Delta Air Lines plans to launch personalized corporate sites that will allow business travelers to view the benefits included in their company’s sales agreement.

Podcast: Solving Real Enterprise Problems Through AI

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel previews GBTA webinar content airing a recent session called Solving Real Enterprise Problems Through AI. Ryan Floersch from AppZen digs deeper into how and why these cultural shifts are forming. He will look at how AI is empowering managers to take control of team spend at a field level, giving them the ability to correct bad behavior and  improve their teams’ expense habits over time while avoiding unwanted ‘big brother’ conversations between managers and employees that only damage relationships and morale.



GBTA offers frequent webinars on a whole spectrum of topics covering the business travel industry. These timely and relevant presentations on issues impacting our industry are also interactive, allowing you to submit questions throughout and receive immediate feedback from the presenters.

Check out our calendar of upcoming webinars to see what’s coming soon. For GBTA members, if you miss out and can’t attend a session you are interested in, you can also access all of our archived webinars on the GBTA Hub.


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!

Global Travel Pricing in 2019

What will pricing for air, hotel and ground transportation look like in the year ahead? According to GBTA research, travel prices are expected to rise sharply in 2019, with hotels going up 3.7% and flights 2.6%, driven by a growing global economy and rising oil prices. Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Christophe Renard and GBTA Economist Jon Gray recently joined GBTA Executive Director & COO Mike McCormick to discuss shifts in global travel pricing in addition to the trends shaping the future of the industry. Read more highlights from the forecast here.