The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Looking Ahead: 2019 Travel Risks

With 2019 rapidly approaching, as the holiday season winds down, another year of corporate travel begins. Is your organization maintaining its Duty of Care legal obligation? Here are four items to think about for the upcoming year:

  • 24/7 healthcare and security support for your mobile workers
    • In order to operate and grow your business, your employees must travel and work internationally. This means they are often faced with environments that they are unfamiliar with. This level of uncertainty puts them at risk. Even a minor health or security issue, if unchecked, can quickly escalate into a more serious problem. Furthermore, your ability to respond to these risks, can ultimately impact your workforces’ happiness and morale.
  • Automated crises response
    • You know your people are affected by an incident.  You are immediately concerned about them. But you are not in the office. What do you do?
  • Address mental health issues
    • Life as a mobile worker can bring unforeseen stress and strain. Dealing with the complexity of business travel or life abroad can impact your mobile workforce's health and wellbeing. Having an emotional support service to your people when they are traveling or based in a foreign country is an integral part of an organization’s global risk management program.
  • Communicate with impacted people
    • Terrorist attacks, extreme weather, civil unrest. In a crisis, knowing where your people are and ensuring their safety can be a challenge. Having a Travel Risk Management partner can provide support in these critical times.

Having a Travel Risk Management partner  robust travel risk solutions that help organizations protect their people, meet their Duty of Care requirements and save money.

Week in Review

Marriott International revealed that hackers breached its reservation system, compromising the personal data of up to 500 million guests, The New York Times reports. The personal information includes credit card numbers, addresses, and passport numbers.

The hack began four years ago, and the hackers left behind clues that suggest they were working for a Chinese government intelligence-gathering operation, CNBC notes.

According to Travel Weekly, the hotel chain could face a fine of up to £20 million because of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced a new Open Skies-type agreement between Canada and the UK, TravelDailyNews International reports. The agreement will allow Canadian and British air carriers to operate between both countries and give full flexibility on route selection, service frequency, and pricing. It will take effect after Brexit, when the UK will no longer be covered by the EU-Canada Air Transport Agreement.  

GBTA wrapped up its ninth annual conference in Europe last week, with nearly 1,100 attendees from 30+ countries. The hot topics of the conference were automation, fragmentation and consolidation.

During the conference, our Executive Director & COO Mike McCormick and Konstantin Sixt discussed the future of mobility, challenges facing ground transportation and the future of Sixt as a company.

According to TravelPulse, Uber is launching a new minibus service in Cairo. The ride-sharing company wants to alleviate traffic congestion by enticing individuals to use the minibus service in place of personal automobiles.

At the beginning of the month, Conde Nast Traveler reports LaGuardia opened 11 gates in its brand new Terminal B, amounting to 243,000 square feet of space.

Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo launched the first phase of its self-driving ride-hailing service in Phoenix on Wednesday, Auto Rental News writes. A limited number of people can access the app to hail a self-driving vehicle, and each car will feature a safety driver for the duration of the ride.

In other ground transportation news, peer-to-peer car rental app Getaround launched in Denver on Thursday. According to BusinessDen, car owners can list their vehicles for rent through the app by providing a description of their car and setting an availability schedule.

United launched a new premium economy offering for its longer international flights, CNBC notes. The seats fall between coach and business class and come with more legroom, amenity kits, and other perks.

When Natural Disaster Strikes: Be Prepared and Stay Prepared!

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes don’t take travel schedules into consideration. Whether you are close to home or halfway around the world, it is important to always be prepared for when a natural disaster strikes.  

When a natural disaster occurs, infrastructure will be impacted and it can take days (if not weeks) before regular operations begin to stabilize. Businesses may be closed, fallen objects may block roads, air traffic may be halted, and power may be out in your area. Here are ways you can prepare yourself for when an emergency happens, whether close to home or while traveling.

  • Make a plan. Be sure to have an emergency plan in place that includes contact numbers for all family members, as well as an established meeting place should you be separated or unable to return home. Take into consideration needs that are specific to your family like medication, family pets, etc. when creating a plan. If you are traveling, attempt to evacuate in advance of an impending storm if possible. Waiting until the last minute to evacuate can lead to scarce flights options, a shortage of hotel rooms, and a dearth of rental vehicles. If you are unable to evacuate, be aware of the emergency plan at the hotel, meeting room, conference center, etc. and be prepared to follow that plan if necessary.
  • Stay in touch. Know how to quickly get in touch with your colleagues and loved ones and make sure they know how to reach you. Maintain a coordinated communication plan if you are separated and be sure to share plans should you need to move to a new location.  
  • Stay informed. Whether disaster strikes at home or while you are traveling, identify reputable, up-to-date news sources for the latest information. During an emergency, information can change from one minute to the next. Look to local agencies or news outlets for current response plans, closures, or evacuation information.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. Make sure to have a well-stocked emergency supply kit on-hand to accommodate your family for up to three days and don’t forget to prepare a kit for your car, too. If you are traveling and unable to evacuate, stock up on water, nonperishable foods, and basic first aid supplies to keep in your hotel room.

On December 4th, 2018, the GBTA Risk Committee will be hosting a webinar focused on natural disaster preparation and response.  Please join us for additional information and practical strategies you can implement to be prepared and stay prepared when natural disaster strikes.

GBTA Research and Professional Development Update

Are Business Travel Programs Barring Basic Economy?

According to new research, business travel programs are not on board with basic economy fares. These fares were introduced by many airlines last year and are typically cheaper than standard airfare, but come with restrictions. The report, put out by GBTA in partnership with Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), revealed that 63 percent of travel programs never allow basic economy, and even more (79 percent) configure their booking tool to hide basic economy fares when travelers are not authorized. Delve into additional research findings.  


GBTA Announces Formation of WINiT Strategic Advisory Board

In early October, GBTA announced the formation of the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board, which will provide strategic guidance and direction for the future of WINiT as a GBTA Board of Directors initiative. GBTA announced its acquisition of WINiT in August at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. More details on this acquisition and initiative can be found here.


Mobile Payments among Travel Buyers and Suppliers Still in Early Adoption Phase

New research by GBTA, in partnership with U.S. Bank, reveals that mobile payments among travel buyers and suppliers are still in the early adoption phase. While most travel buyers and suppliers are familiar with mobile wallet and contactless payment solutions, 49 percent of travel buyers are still unclear on the benefits. Learn more about this new research.


GBTA & ITM Announce Long-Term Joint Venture

During GBTA Convention 2018, GBTA and The Institute of Travel Management (ITM), the leading managed business travel association in the UK and Ireland, announced the creation of a new London-based event for the managed travel and meetings sector. The new joint venture will kick off with an event, focused on Strategic Meetings Management, that will take place in London on 31 January 2019. Find out more about this partnership.


83 Percent of Female Business Travelers Report Safety Concern or Incident in Past Year

A recent study, conducted in partnership with AIG Travel, revealed that more than 8 in 10, or 83 percent, of women have experienced one or more safety-related concerns or incidents while traveling for business in the past year. The report delves into various precautions that female business travelers take due to safety concerns, highlights gaps in managed travel programs, and more. Read on for more statistics on female business traveler safety.


Business Travelers Say Loyalty Matters in Hotel Booking

According to new research by GBTA, in partnership with Omni Hotels & Resorts, 82 percent of business travelers say loyalty programs matter when making a decision to book a hotel. Additionally, a vast majority (84 percent) of business travelers feel having a personalized guest experience is important. Learn more about trends in hotel personalization and loyalty programs.


Upcoming Events

October 30: GBTA Canada Market Call – Canadian Cannabis Legalization and Its Business Travel Implications 

November 6: Benchmark Your Air Travel Policy – Findings from GBTA ARC Research 

November 14: New GBTA Research – Simple Meetings by the Numbers – A Huge Process and Savings Opportunity 

November 26-27: Advanced Principles of Business Travel Management™ 

See More Upcoming Events



Thank You to Our Partners



AirPlus International


Avis Budget Group

BCD Travel

Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Carlson Family Foundation


Delta Air Lines



EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

Enterprise Holdings, Inc.



HRS Global Hotel Solutions

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

IHG® - InterContinental Hotels Group

Lufthansa German Airlines

Millennium Hotels and Resorts

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Radius Travel

RoomIt by CWT

SAP Concur

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

U.S. Bank



Wyndham Hotel Group

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

Travel Risk Management and Sustainability...Connecting the Dots

By GBTA Risk Committee and GBTA Sustainability Committee


How organizations manage the health, safety and security of their employees on business travel is not only part of their Duty of Care legal obligation, but also bears heavy influence on their GRI sustainability score. Corporate sustainability is an organization’s activities that demonstrate their work towards social, occupational and environmental concerns in business operations.

Having a Travel Risk Management program and partner not only provides robust travel risk solutions that help organizations protect their people, meet their Duty of Care requirements and save money, but it also helps to meet sustainable development goals and GRI reporting requirements.

It is important to work with a TRM partner, implement a holistic program, and report on how you are protecting your employees by providing solutions in a global environment; such as health consulting, promotion of worker health, and assisting employees with health and safety events while traveling.

Connecting the dots starts with understanding the lingo!


Key Sustainability Terms for a Holistic Travel Risk Management Solution:



Sustainable Development Goals




Sustainable Development Goals in Good Health & Wellbeing


Sustainability Report

How an organization reports what they've done to achieve goals




Global Reporting Initiative


GRI 403


Global Reporting Initiative on Occupational Health & Safety




Sustainability Accounting Standards Board




Sustainability Grading System



Food for thought:

“One out of every eight dollars under professional management in the United States in involved in socially responsible investing. That $3.07 trillion represents a huge pool of money that is being invested in companies that have been found to be sustainable.” – John Friedman (Huff Post, September 2017)

Do you know your company’s Sustainability goals and score?

Week in Review

It has been quite the week of natural disasters. On Thursday, Typhoon Jebi made landfall in Japan leaving nearly 3,000 passengers stranded at Kansai International Airport, Business Insider reports. Due to severe flooding, the airport was forced to shut down.

Tropical Storm Gordon also made landfall this week, causing major airlines to waive change fees in advance, USA TODAY notes.

Officials have unveiled a new facial recognition system at Dulles International Airport in the Washington, D.C. area, The Washington Post reports. The system is expected to eventually replace boarding passes for international travelers with facial scans.

According to Skift, TSA is planning to expand its testing of next-generation scanners (computed topography X-rays) for carry-on bags.

United Airlines announced plans to ditch plastic straws and cocktail stirrers for bamboo equivalents in November, CNBC reports. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines took similar steps earlier this year.

According to SFGate, the House approved a new bipartisan bill called the “PreCheck Is PreCheck Act of 2018” this week. If it becomes law, the legislation will bar TSA from letting non-members into PreCheck lanes.

Ben Coleman, Global Security Executive Services Manager for Facebook, identifies the benefits of leveraging security and travel to build a better travel risk management program.

Skift notes that a rise in peak occupancy nights in 2018 is helping hotels.

A flight from Dubai to NYC ended with passengers and crew taken to the hospital and a quarantined jet, NPR reports. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 100 people on the flight complained of illness.  

According to TravelDailyNews International, a new IATA report reveals worldwide annual air passenger numbers exceeded four billion for the first time. The report also delves into airline industry performance in 2017.

USA TODAY notes a “refresh” is coming to JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program. Though the points scheme will remain the same, members will have access to an updated website to track and redeem points.

New research out from GBTA, in partnership with U.S. Bank, reveals mobile payments among travel buyers and suppliers are still in the early adoption phase. Although most buyers and suppliers are familiar with mobile wallet and contactless payment solutions, nearly 50% are unclear on the benefits.

Podcast: Leveraging Security and Travel to Build a Better Travel Risk Management Program

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel gives listeners a taste of one of our more than 170 education sessions that took place at GBTA Convention 2018 last month in San Diego. Attendees can access all of these sessions covering the gamut of top travel industry issues including duty of care, technology and innovation, procurement, sustainability and so much more with GBTA Convention 2018 On Demand.

This risk-focused education session, conducted in partnership with ASIS International, called Leveraging Security and Travel to Build a Better Travel Risk Management Program features Ben Coleman, Global Security Executive Services Manager for Facebook and GBTA Risk Committee member, focused on identifying the benefits of security and travel professionals partnering to develop and implement a best in class Travel Risk Management Program.



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!

Technology is Poised to “Dramatically Increase Security,” Say Heads of TSA and CBP

New facial recognition and CAT scan technologies are key to stopping terrorists, according to two of the nation’s highest security officials who spoke Monday on Center Stage at GBTA Convention 2018.

Transportation Security Administrator (TSA) David Pekoske calls for “better security faster” at Monday’s Q&A session with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, led by GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. Pekoske said that we must get the technology in place faster than our adversaries, and faster than government has typically acted.

“There’s nothing I’m more excited about in our mission set than the capability of biometrics, and specifically facial recognition or comparison technology, to enhance our facilitation and security efforts,” McAleelan explained. Through pilot programs at multiple airports with a number of domestic and foreign carriers, he reported that the agency has been able to screen 700,000 travelers with biometrics and achieve a 98 percent match rate.

In addition to biometrics, new CAT scan technology will be able to do a much better job detecting threats such as those in luggage. Pekoske shared that his agency plans to replace 2,000 checkpoint x-ray machines with CAT scan technology. In addition to significantly enhanced screening capabilities, he predicted that in three to five years, passengers will not need to remove any items—including food, liquids, or electronics—from their carry-on bags.

In addition to enhanced security, he highlighted traveler benefits such as expedited boarding and arrivals, adding that his agency has been able hold or reduce wait times for five consecutive years using new technologies. Responding to security concerns, he stated the importance of technology remaining cyber secure, not retaining information on U.S. citizens, and maintaining transparency with the public, privacy groups, the media and legislators.

On the horizon, the two agencies will better integrate the PreCheck and Global Entry programs.

Commissioner McAleenan cited tracking ISIS operatives’ widely scattered movements throughout the world, and the 70 percent growth of e-commerce shipments as his top two concerns.

From his agency’s perspective, Administrator Pekoske reiterated the Commissioner’s terrorism concerns, adding that undetected operatives, “lone actors,” pose a real challenge to intelligence operations and those on the front lines. “Security is a shared responsibility,” he added, GBTA members, airlines, airports and passengers included.

Each with over 60,000 employees around the globe, keeping their teams prepared in uncertain times is an ongoing challenge. “I spend the majority of my time on the front line,” said Administrator Pekoske, which he explained includes not only security checkpoints, but also vetting processes, air marshals, and international staff at last-point-of-departure airports around the world to ensure they have the resources, technology and procedures in place to best do their jobs. Commissioner McAleenan underscored the challenge, noting that the travel industry’s ninth straight year of over four-percent growth in international air arrivals. He said he is focused on three imperatives: executing operationally, providing his staff with the tools they need to facilitate travel and improve the customer experience, and building partnerships with the aviation industry, international partners and other federal agencies, like CBP.

Both TSA and CBP garner an unprecedented level of coverage in the news cycle. When asked how his agency responds when, for example, an internal pilot like Quiet Skies program leaks into the public domain, Administrator Pekoske explained that he operates knowing that any new procedure or program can become public at any time. “Our job, both Kevin [McAleenan] and my job, is to manage and mitigate risk,” he continued, emphasizing that Quiet Skies looks at patterns of travel to help identify flights which may require an Air Marshal. “We have a very, very robust process inside TSA—which I think is absolutely necessary and something that I 100 percent endorse—of oversight from the Department of Homeland Security on all of our processes that assess risk by individuals.” Commissioner McAleenan agreed, adding that his agency faces “a tremendous amount of attention on all aspects of our mission, being responsible for anything that comes in or out of the country.”


Podcast: How Can Managed Travel Programs Address the Safety of Female Business Travelers?

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel revisits an important topic – the safety of women business travelers. In the opening segment, GBTA President Christle Johnson talks GBTA priorities and highlights from a recent GBTA research study on female business travel safety conducted in partnership with WWStay. Next up, WWStay’s Dawn McGowan dives deeper into the findings and discusses how they are approaching the issue. Cathy Rigby of the CFA Institute and GBTA’s Risk Committee addresses what’s at stake for companies that don’t build female traveler safety into their programs and provides practical safety and security advice for women travelers.



Want to learn more about the GBTA research on the topic? Download an infographic here featuring key highlights. If you’re attending GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego, you can also catch an education session on this research on August 13 at 8:45 AM.

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!