The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

October Message from the Office of the GBTA President

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

With just two more months before we close out 2016, I wanted to take a moment to share a few highlights of recent GBTA events that have occurred in Latin America. As one of the most exciting business travel markets, Latin America has tremendous growth opportunities. We are already seeing an increase in much of Central America and Argentina, among other areas, as the global economy has strengthened in the past 18 months. GBTA has been diligently working to take advantage of these opportunities in an expanded outreach and programming effort throughout Latin America.

This year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the GBTA Mexico Conference in Mexico City. The two-day event had record attendance and offered a variety of education sessions including topics such as “The Mexican Business Travel Industry’s Impact on Jobs and the Mexican Economy” and “Developing the Strategy in Strategic Meetings Management”. In addition, attendees heard from experts on a variety of topics such as global travel medical and security risks, mobile technology hidden costs, human trafficking and the difference in U.S. travel management practices versus global practices. Due to the growth and success of the GBTA Mexico Conference, we are expanding it in 2017 to include the rest of Central America and the Caribbean.

This year’s GBTA Conference and ERM Symposium in Brazil were also a huge success. The GBTA Conference in Sao Paulo featured high-level general sessions and education seminars including two sessions led by Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg provided a keynote on business travel trends and moderated a panel discussing the future of business travel in Latin America with panelists Jose Roberto Trinca, Director for American Airlines Brazil and Kevin Maguire, Regional Vice-President for GBTA Latin America.

Fernão Tanaka, Strategic Travel Manager, America Latina for PHILIPS, moderated a lively and interactive panel on challenges and opportunities with open booking that had both the panelists and attendees in the audience eager to participate with comments and solutions. In addition, a dynamic panel moderated by Lucimar Reis, Director Brazil for United Airlines, focused on women leaders and successful leadership in the travel industry. Panelists Roberta Canteiro Nonis of AstraZeneca and Sandra Veloso of Kontik | FCM added recommendations to enhance the growing leadership role of women in Latin America.

Other key session topics included travel policies as living documents, professional branding through social media, ROI in corporate meetings and technology in business. We are looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunities and continued growth in Brazil.

Now in its fifth year, the two-and-a-half day GBTA Conference in Buenos Aires has become the must-attend travel conference in Argentina. This year’s event featured some of the industry’s most dynamic speakers and sessions. Claudio Ameijeiras, Founder and Director of Theorema Consulting, focused on “Seeking Positive Balance” emphasizing research shows regardless of how much money you make or how famous you are, having dreams, helping others and having a passion for what you do is most important. Perhaps this is why as business travel professionals we are so passionate about our industry and what we do.

The Buenos Aires Conference’s keynote speaker was Isela Costantini, CEO of Aerolineas Argentinas. Ms. Costantini is considered to be one of the 50 most powerful women in the corporate world and last year was named CEO of the Year in Argentina. She shared some challenges and opportunities in her new role and discussed a cultural change within their organization by placing the passenger at the core of their business, focusing on the experience of the traveler, on-time performance and frequency.

Attendees also participated in education sessions on data, duty of care, human trafficking, technology, social media, group, sports teams and incentive travel among other topics. The GBTA Buenos Aires Conference is just one more example of how GBTA is helping to facilitate and build upon the strong interest in business travel throughout Central and South America.

With the rapid growth in Latin America, the new GBTA Latin America Hub allows GBTA members the chance to interact with their industry peers in both Spanish and Portuguese. In addition, GBTA is also offering a monthly newsletter in both languages to keep everyone up-to-date on all things GBTA.

GBTA offers excellent events, compelling research and top-notch educational opportunities for the business travel industry. We continue to add to and enhance our wide array of educational and training sessions to address many of the key issues we face as professionals. This year we have set a milestone in the academic development of travel professionals in Latin America by delivering 13 Advanced Principles and Fundamentals courses in 11 countries. We are expanding our Fundamental and Advanced Principles programs as well as the ever-popular education days, which we recently started in Lima and Bogota.

So many great things are going on throughout the LATAM region!

As always, GBTA will continue to focus on our member needs no matter where you are in the world. I hope to see many of you in Europe in a few short weeks at GBTA Conference 2016 Frankfurt in partnership with VDR.

Week in Review

A new report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research’s (Cebr) finds face-to-face meetings contribute £193 billion to the UK economy on an annual basis. According to Travel Daily News, Cebr suggests companies stand to gain an average of £147,200 per year when conducting face-to-face business. The Washington Post reports TripAdvisor has received a license to book and sell travel services to Cuba from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The company can only book services that fall under one of the 12 approved reasons, not including recreational trips.

CNET notes Amtrak has joined the FAA in banning Samsung Galaxy Note7s from their property, including but not limited to trains, Thruway buses, stations and platforms.

According to Buying Business Travel, the government has approved the addition of a third runway at Heathrow after years of delays. The proposed timetable suggests the runway will be fully operable in 2025 or the late 2020s. Business Traveler shares Hong Kong International Airport plans to build a mega airport terminal called Skycity. The development will consist of a hotel with at least 450 rooms in addition to retail, dining and entertainment facilities.

Skift reports American and Southwest are raising fares by $5 each way in an attempt to reverse a price slump lasting nearly two years. Not long ago, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced the airline is considering charging ancillary fees to make up for missed revenue goals in 2016. According to USA TODAY, Kelly has no intention of charging bag or change fees.

According to Bloomberg, high-definition, 3D CT scans of luggage could soon replace static X-ray images at airports. New generation scanners have the potential to improve airline security due to their ability to detect potentially hazardous objects more quickly and readily than their current counterparts.

Skift shares findings from a new MMGY Global report suggesting millennials are the most frequent business travelers, taking 7.4 business trips in the past year, compared to 6.4 for Gen Xers and 6.3 for baby boomers. They also found that 81 percent of all groups preferred to use ridesharing services over taxis. According to Tnooz, Sabre conducted a survey finding regional differences in ancillary spend by air passengers. On a global level, passengers value extra leg room and seat selection above all.

A new GBTA Foundation study outlining technology’s role in event planning was unveiled at Lanyon Live on Thursday. The study reveals the most valued and most desired features when it comes to site sourcing technology and found 57 percent of planners use events or meeting management technology or software when planning events.

The Santa Monica Observer reports Delta now offers customers the ability to track their checked bag as it bounces from one airport to another. Customers can follow their bag on a mobile journey that uses pins to display where the bag has been in addition to the last scanned location.

This week's list comes from Business Insider: 6 of the best carry-ons for business travelers

Turning Data into Solutions to Solve for Today’s Industry Problems

Earlier this week, Business Travel News interviewed Mark Hollyhead of Egencia following the announcement that Egencia has restructured its management. Mark’s role has shifted from head of Americas to leading the operations and supplier side as COO. In the article he shares insight on today’s global world and serving both travelers and client companies.

This summer, GBTA’s Nancy Tudorache had the opportunity to catch up with Mark at the Broadcast Studio at GBTA Convention. Mark talked about the challenges in today’s world where you have notoriously unpredictable consumers, a fragile market and a fast-moving industry. He also talked about the opportunity to navigate all of the available, interesting data we have and turn it into solutions that solve to today’s travel industry problems.

View the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s Convention.

Implementation of the REAL ID Act

Do you have a driver’s license issued by the state of Washington, Minnesota, or Missouri? As of late January 2018, you may be unable to use it to fly domestically within the United States.

From 2008 to 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorized $263 million in grants to improve the security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. The grants were awarded in accordance with DHS’s goal to implement the REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 to encourage states to adopt measures for more secure identification.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Senior Counselor Howard Goldman recently discussed ways in which the act may potentially affect domestic U.S. travelers in a webinar entitled Implementation of the REAL ID Act by the Transportation Security Administration. Goldman reviewed the specific standards states must meet in order to be considered compliant. gbta-webinar-10-26-16_page_04

As of October 13, there are 24 compliant states, 29 noncompliant and three under review. Although it is in their best interest to do so, legislative barriers bar certain states from becoming compliant. According to Goldman, “In most cases, the DMVs would like to get on with it and become compliant, but state law prohibits them from doing that.” gbta-webinar-10-26-16_page_05

So how does implementation of the REAL ID Act affect you? Beginning January 22, 2018, travelers with identification credentials issued by noncompliant states without an extension will be prohibited from flying within the United States. Travelers are able to check whether their driver’s license or identification card will be accepted here. The act will be fully enforced on October 1, 2020, after which the TSA will only accept identification issued by compliant states, in addition to passports, U.S. military IDs, and other forms listed on their website. gbta-webinar-10-26-16_page_08

To find out more about the REAL ID Act, view the webinar in full through the Hub. These sessions are just around the corner:

The full schedule of webinars is available here.

Technology's Role in Event Planning

A new GBTA Foundation study revealed the most valued and most desired features when it comes to site sourcing technology. Conducted in partnership with Lanyon, the study is being released today during a Lanyon Live breakout session. Meeting and event planning starts long before anyone sets foot onsite, of course, and many factors can greatly contribute to or detract from the success of an event.

A majority of planners (57 percent) use events or meeting management technology or software when planning events and nearly all who do (96 percent) find value in using technology to manage their meetings and events. Additionally, almost six in ten (58 percent) of those who do not currently use it see the potential for technology to improve their processes and programs.

“Technology has made it easier than ever to be a smart shopper,” said Anthony Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, Lanyon. “That’s because we now have access to loads of up-to-date information on nearly everything we buy — from curtains to used cars. Why should shopping for an event venue be any different? If we can provide planners with more, high-quality information, then they’ll be able to choose the venue that best meets their needs — in less time and with fewer hiccups.”

Deciding Where to Host an Event
Location (27 percent) and cost (26 percent) are the top factors for choosing a property to host a meeting or event. How does technology play a role in selecting a location? Currently only two in five planners (43 percent) have access to technology that automatically populates city specs including everything from proximity of the venue to other hotels, restaurants and airports along with hotel rates to food and beverage pricing or even a city’s crime rates. Half of the planners who use this type of technology find it very valuable to make more informed decisions as would 45 percent of those who don’t have access to it. Some planners even said this feature would top their wish list if they created their own meeting and event planning product.


Another valuable tool when selecting a city and event site would be a Yelp-style site for meeting planners. This formalized approach to consulting industry experts would only work with a few important caveats however, planners say. The site would need to be limited to experienced planners, populated with up-to-date information and shielded from supplier’s eyes to be seen as a credible and useful resource.

Once the city is chosen, RFPs are often sent to a number of venues to collect additional information before making a decision. Four in five (81 percent) planners currently use technology that allows them to send a single RFP to multiple properties and allows properties to respond directly to the RFP within the platform for easy comparisons – both highly valued features. Seven in ten (70 percent) planners use technology to compare property details side by side and nearly all (88 percent) find this feature very valuable.

Planners would also like the ability to track each venue’s pricing from the initial bid to final negotiated price, which becomes very helpful when companies place an emphasis on budget tracking and cost savings.


Site Visits, Lead-Up Prep & The Event Debrief
Planners find site visits to be an invaluable aspect of the planning and success of meetings and events, however, many still take a low-tech approach to them. Seven in ten (70 percent) say they use pen and paper to record information gathered on site visits. While many planners prefer their pen and paper method, others are showing interest in moving to electronically recording the information gathered on site visits including the ability to record notes or upload photos electronically.

The planning and communication does not stop after choosing the venue. Two-thirds of planners use (63 percent) and value (67 percent) meeting and event planning technology that allows for two-way communication with vendors. Making this portal mobile friendly would be a great improvement for many planners. Additionally, seven in ten planners use meetings and event technology to help them load and track budget info along the way, and while only one-third (33 percent) currently have technology that allows planners to survey their venue and vendors post-event, many express interest in having this option as a part of their meeting and event management technology.

What’s Next?
Education is key as many planners express frustration with not knowing where to go to learn about products in the marketplace that could address their specific needs. With a plethora of technology already available though, it is imperative that planners look to industry trade publications to learn about the latest features, attend industry events to see new technology in action and talk to their peers to learn about the most current offerings.

Methodology: This study used both a qualitative and quantitative approach. The qualitative side is based off of nine one-on-one in-depth interviews conducted with individuals with significant event-planning responsibilities. These took place in both April and August of 2016. The quantitative side consisted of a survey completed by 94 North American individuals with mid- (25-500 attendee) to large-scale (500+ attendee) event-planning responsibilities who were at least “somewhat involved” in planning or overseeing of meetings and events at their company and “involved” or “very involved” in the site sourcing process. This survey was fielded between May 18 and June 2, 2016.

Read the Full Report: The study, Site Sourcing Technology: Valued and Desired Features, is available free of charge exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing View a free preview of the research now.

Learn More: A webinar featuring industry experts from Lanyon and the GBTA Foundation will discuss trends and technologies when it comes to venue sourcing. Take a deeper dive into this research on November 10 at 2pm ET. Complimentary registration is available now.

The Best in Business Class?

Today, Bloomberg’s Eric Rosen asked who is winning the U.S. business class cabin showdown. In his article he detailed everything you need to know about the new business class cabins debuting on Delta, United and American Airlines. We don’t play favorites at GBTA, so we’ll let you decide for yourself and read more from Bloomberg here.

Speaking of business class cabins, if you were at GBTA Convention this year, you had the opportunity to see United’s new Polaris offering on display. Additionally, Jake Cefolia, United’s Vice President of Sales for the Americas, stopped by our Broadcast Studio to talk operational efficiency with GBTA’s Nancy Tudorache.

Jake shared that United is very focused on delivering on its single biggest promise to its customers: getting them from point A to point B on schedule and with their belongings. He said they have instituted a global performance commitment for on-time performance and cancellations that if not met, corporate customers will receive a rebate on some of their spend with United.

View the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s Convention.

By the Numbers: GBTA Foundation U.S. Business Travel Forecast

Last week, the GBTA Foundation released its latest quarterly U.S. business travel forecast. Get the lowdown on top-line numbers from our forecast here:


Rolling Out the New Car Rental RFP

Any travel buyer or supplier knows how lengthy and time-consuming the request for proposal (RFP) process can be. They are often associated with mountains of paperwork and hours of effort, but all of that is set to change with the introduction of the new GBTA Car Rental RFP.

After an extensive development process, the GBTA Foundation recently revealed an updated Car Rental RFP, in partnership with Enterprise Holdings, Inc. GBTA Foundation Research Project Director Monica Sanchez and Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Global Sustainability Manager Claire Carstensen discussed how the RFP is designed to streamline the process for travel buyers and suppliers alike in a webinar titled Rolling Out the New Car Rental RFP.

Updates include the addition of a consolidated sustainability section and revisions to the sales section to provide a more concise and organized view. The new RFP is unique in providing a consistent framework for comparing sustainability practices and allows suppliers to highlight their sustainability efforts by including sustainability reports. rollingoutcarrentalrfpbp

As time goes on, the RFP will continue to be reviewed to ensure it stays current abreast changes in the business travel industry. The Car Rental RFP is available free of charge to all here. GBTA members may view webinars in full through the Hub. These sessions are just around the corner:

The full schedule of webinars is available here.

Re-Engineering the Car Rental Process

Last week Avis Car Rental announced its updated mobile app, Avis Now, has gained more than 250,000 users since it rolled out in July. During GBTA Convention’s Media Day this summer, Avis Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Scott Deaver announced the major overhaul to the company’s app with the addition of the new Avis Now features designed to transform the car rental process and put corporate travelers in control.

GBTA’s Caitlin Gomez caught up with Scott at the GBTA Broadcast Studio during Convention as well. He shared that the goal behind Avis Now was to completely re-engineer the car rental process to meet customer demands and needs. He also highlighted industry trends and said we are seeing the beginning of a real change about the entire way people use mobility.

View the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s Convention.

Week in Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 7s, airplanes and spontaneous combustion. Oh my! The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an emergency order banning all Samsung Galaxy Note7s from air transportation, carry-on baggage and checked baggage on flights to, from or within the United States effective Saturday, October 15. BBC reports carriers in Australia, Asia and Europe followed suit shortly after. Air Berlin, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have all issued statements prohibiting the devices. According to Business Traveller, Samsung has set up exchange booths at airports in Australia, South Korea and the U.S. in an effort to replace the faulty devices. Airline passengers are able to trade in their Note7 for a new device and have their personal information transferred at the booths.

The Wall Street Journal reports India’s largest online travel agencies MakeMyTrip and Ibibo are merging. The transaction is expected to be finalized by the end of December and will enable the online travel agency to be more fiercely competitive in an ever-changing landscape.

According to Travel Daily News, IATA forecasts air passenger demand will nearly double over the next 20 years from 3.8 billion air travelers in 2016 to a projected 7.2 billion in 2017. The same source reports a new UK travel service enables airline passengers to check in luggage remotely from anywhere in London. The service provides a seamless travel experience by enabling passengers to travel completely luggage free until they reach their destination.

Airbnb has enacted a new “one host, one home” policy in which it will ban hosts with multiple listings in San Francisco and New York. According to Skift, the company will have the technology to do so as of November 1.

After an extensive development process, the GBTA Foundation unveiled a new Car Rental RFP, in partnership with Enterprise. The updated RFP includes a new sustainability component and is available free of charge to all here. The GBTA Foundation also released its latest quarterly U.S. business travel forecast, slightly downgrading expectations from the previous quarter. Skift shares findings from the forecast and reports election malaise and global uncertainty are expected to hurt U.S. business travel spend in 2016.

According to USA TODAY, the DOT debates requiring U.S. airlines to include ancillary fees in base fares for “all-in-one pricing” to alleviate traveler frustrations. Tnooz reports Google has added airfare forecasts and hotel loyalty marketing to its metasearch tool. It now predicts price changes for plane tickets and encourages consumers to sign up for hotel loyalty programs to receive special rates.

Skift reports traditional car service use is on the rise, despite the presence of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. The steady growth can be attributed to the prevalence of traditional car service use in the business travel space.

Your list for this week comes from Skift: 6 Charts Comparing Business and Leisure Traveler Satisfaction with U.S. Destinations