Attend the largest gatherings of business travel professionals at GBTA events, online webinars, and education sessions close to home, in your region, and around the world.
Stay informed of the important news, issues, and policies that shape the business travel industry.
Access the world’s largest collection of business travel industry research, RFP templates, benchmarking tools and archived webinars.
Power your career with business travel education and certification to fuel recognition and career advancement. Education for every level within the business travel industry.
Increase your brand awareness and generate sales leads for your company through privileged access to the global $1.4 Trillion business travel industry.
Become a member, get involved and make the connections that keep you informed, propel your career and grow your business. View the leaders who are making a difference in business travel.
On Wednesday, Brexit’s Article 50 was triggered, beginning the two-year countdown to the official separation of the UK and the EU.
Following last week’s electronics ban, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) broke its silence on the matter.
According to Buying Business Travel, IATA has called on governments to find alternatives to restrictions of electronics, branding the ban ineffective. In response to the ban, carriers have come up with unique workarounds to appease travelers.
According to Business Traveler, Ethiad is set to offer free Wi-Fi and iPads on all US-bound flights for first and business class travelers beginning this Sunday.
USA TODAY reports Emirates rolled out a laptop and tablet handling service, which enables customers traveling to the U.S. to use their laptops and tablets until just before boarding.
Buying Business Travel notes Qatar Airways introduced a laptop loan service on all U.S.-bound flights, in addition to an electronics handling service similar to Emirates.
Reuters reports American Airlines is set to take a $200 million stake in China Southern.
According to USA TODAY, United Airlines faced some backlash after not allowing two girls to board a flight because they were wearing leggings. The young girls were traveling using buddy passes, which requires travelers to adhere to a dress code.
Business Traveller reports U.S. lawmakers have proposed regulation of airline seat sizes. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill that would mandate minimum seat size and minimum distance between rows of seats on commercial airlines.
According to TravelDailyNews International, a new GBTA study, in partnership with Concur, examines booking behaviors for German, UK and French business travelers.
Hotelmarketing’com reports the study found business travelers are increasingly booking direct and expect to use alternative channels more often in the next year.
Skift notes the same study found millennials are the biggest adopters of sharing services in business travel.
TravelDailyNews International shared some tips for how to cope with business travel delays and disruption.
Bloomberg reports the U.S. travel industry fears a “lost decade” following travel restrictions imposed by the new administration.
According to Hotelmarketing’com, Expedia says U.S. hotels and airlines are cutting prices as tourists avoid the country in response to Trump’s immigration policies.
Do you know the most often-used methods for hotel program savings calculation in Europe? The GBTA Foundation conducted a survey in Europe to investigate how European travel buyers are calculating hotel savings. Based on the survey results, the GBTA EU Hotel Committee created a resource to share the most commonly used savings calculation methods and explain the pros and cons for each savings methodology.
Travel professionals are continuously challenged to demonstrate value of hotel programs in a market with increasing or changing rates. The primary driver behind the GBTA EU Hotel Committee developing this resource was to recommend best practices for specific savings calculations to meet a need for industry standards in this area.
The data analysed came from a survey conducted in Europe between April and July 2016 with 112 respondents: United Kingdom (28 percent), Nordics (23 percent), Germany (17 percent), Spain (14 percent), France (10 percent) and other countries (8 percent). In terms of hotel spend, 30 percent of survey respondents had travel programs that spent more than €30M in hotels, 32 percent were between €5M and €30M and 38 percent had less than €5M in hotel spend.
According to the results of the survey, methods for saving calculations in the travel buyer community in Europe are widespread and there is no single savings methodology used by over 80 percent of respondents. However, the predominant savings calculation methodology is “old contract rate vs new contract rate per room night with no adjustment of market increases” (67 percent). Savings are usually calculated as a lump sum (64 percent) and the most popular primary source of data is travel agency bookings (71 percent). Almost two in five (38 percent) respondents reported savings on Last Room Availability.
The new resource created by the GBTA EU Hotel Committee looks closely at 10 different saving methodologies to provide a better understanding of them for travel management professionals. The primary reason most people are using the predominant savings calculation methodology of “old contract rate vs new contract rate per room night with no adjustment of market increases” is that it is a simple and easy way of doing calculations.
It is important to consider, however, that results are not 100 percent accurate if the market has significantly increased its rates. If we compare “old contract rate vs new contract rate per room night with market adjustment” the results will be more accurate, reflecting the value of negotiations, but it will be difficult to talk about savings internally as it includes cost avoidance principles. It is important that travel buyers agree internally on savings methodology calculations. Do not look to complicate matters, but instead look to demonstrate value. Technology, price audits, hotel program and VAT reimbursement are all key elements to also consider when building or improving your hotel program.
The resource also features recommendations on the information to be included in a hotel tender. The resource is available free of charge to GBTA Members on the GBTA Hub.
This afternoon in Brussels, GBTA met various leaders including Mr. Tim Figures, Head of the Competitiveness and Market department as part of the Permanent Representation of the United Kingdom to the European Union on this historical day in the future of Europe.
Article 50 has been delivered at approximately 12:30pm Brussels local time today.
Last June, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, which fostered the term “Brexit”. Yesterday marked the next major milestone in this process as Prime Minister Theresa May signed Article 50 officially beginning the separation process. Today, it was delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk. By triggering Article 50 and formally notifying the intention to withdraw, the clock to negotiate the UK’s exit starts running.
So, what happens next? The EU has 48 hours to respond with draft negotiating guidelines. The EU is also likely to convene an emergency EU Leaders Summit on 6 April to discuss the matter. Negotiations should begin in earnest this June. This BBC article profiles the leaders who will be key to the negotiating process.
The UK and the EU will have two years from today to agree on an exit agreement as well as a new trading relationship. The two-year negotiating period can be extended for one year if all other EU countries agree. Any agreement needs to be unanimous among every country involved. If the talks collapse at any point in the two years, Britain could face leaving the EU without a deal at all.
The main objective of the EU will be to minimize the negative impact of UK’s exit on the EU economy and business while demonstrating that the UK cannot ‘have its cake and eat it too’ in order to avoid setting a dangerous precedent for other countries.
What does Brexit mean for business travel and the economy? Uncertainty is never good for business. We have seen this in the impact of recent executive orders issued by President Trump to the electronics ban implemented by both the United States and the UK.
The potential for financial upheaval and pending changes to trade and immigration rules will raise many concerns in corporate management and travel offices – causing some postponement and even outright cancellation of business trips. It may also trigger travel budget constriction as management seeks to hedge the uncertainty.
A positive, and perhaps unintended, consequence that could result will be the possibility that negotiations will help the EU finally push through barriers in discussions about EU aviation including modernizing the EU airspace, air traffic management and air passenger rights.
The true impact will only be fully revealed as time passes. GBTA will be involved every step of the way keeping you up to date on how this will impact our industry and advocating on your behalf for the best interests of our industry.
All this week, GBTA is in Brussels engaging with policy makers at the Council of Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament. As we meet with these key EU decision-makers, we will focus primarily on visa issues expressing the importance of visa-free travel reciprocity between the EU and the United States and will also address transport and aviation-related issues. Stay tuned for a more in depth post on our engagement with EU policymakers.
On March 6, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order called “Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry to the United States.” The White House issued the order largely in response to court challenges made against another Executive Order signed on January 27.
As we noted in an earlier blog post, the effective date of the travel ban was March 16. However, following the release of the March 6 Executive Order, several law suits were filed regarding the President’s authority and Constitutional questions surrounding the Executive Order.
Two federal district courts (Hawaii and Maryland) have imposed temporary holds on implementation of the March 6 Executive Order. Both considered similar Constitutional questions as well as the President’s authority regarding immigration law. Both courts did note that statements made by the President during the campaign regarding a “Muslim ban” call into question the purpose of the March 6 Executive Order.
The Trump Administration has stated that it will appeal both decisions. Recent reports indicate that the Administration will file an appeal in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the Maryland federal court ruling. Historically, the Fourth Circuit has ruled in favor of the federal government on issues relating to security. This past Sunday, the Hawaii court denied a request made by the Trump Administration to narrow the scope of the temporary hold, opening the door for appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
What does this mean for travelers?
Both orders prohibit the federal government from carrying out the March 6 Executive Order, and it is likely that the Administration will pursue these efforts in the courts rather than issue another Executive Order. However, the Trump Administration is still moving ahead on other initiatives that may affect travel such as border security and enhanced vetting.
In response to the January 27 Executive Order, the Department of Homeland Security released two guidance documents on immigration enforcement and benefits, and border security. The past month, the White House also published a memorandum on enhanced vetting. Section 2 includes the following:
Sec. 2. Enhanced Vetting Protocols and Procedures for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, as permitted by law, implement protocols and procedures as soon as practicable that in their judgment will enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and all other immigration benefits, so as to increase the safety and security of the American people. These additional protocols and procedures should focus on:
(a) preventing the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who may aid, support, or commit violent, criminal, or terrorist acts; and
(b) ensuring the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits.
This past week, Reuters published a series of diplomatic cables that the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, sent to consular offices which shed some insight into how the State Department is implementing the President’s Executive Order.
The cables instruct consular officers to:
The guidance did also noted that,
These are preliminary measures. Additional screening measures will be introduced based on the conclusions of the interagency working groups mandated by the E.O, acting in accordance with applicable court orders.
It is possible that this guidance and other steps taken by the Administration will increase visa application processing times for those applicants who are subject to more in depth review. According to a draft internal DHS memo published by the Associated Press entitled, Citizenship Likely an Unreliable Indicator of Terrorist Threat to the United States, “None of the seven countries account for more than 7 percent of the U.S, visas granted in their region—the Middle East and North Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa—in Fiscal Year 2015…” The report references the earlier January 27 Executive order, but it does indicate that the overall impact on travel as a result of the March 6 order may be minimal. Additional resources will be needed to ensure that these reviews and other enhanced vetting measures do not unnecessarily affect travel.
GBTA will continue to monitor these developments and provide updates. GBTA is also working to assess the impact these measures will have on global business travel and the economy.
According to CNN Money, the Trump administration announced new security restrictions on Tuesday, in what is being called an electronics ban. Passengers flying from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa are barred from bringing electronics larger than a smartphone into cabins for U.S.-bound flights. The UK shortly followed suit, announcing similar restrictions.
Skift reports the travel industry has reacted with caution and frustration to the new ban. The ban has raised concerns among business travelers, since it could compromise business traveler productivity and confidentiality of information.
According to Buying Business Travel, Emirates has responded to the ban with a free-of-charge laptop and tablet handling service. Passengers flying with the airline will be able to use their electronics during the first half of their trip and layover in Dubai before handing them over at the gate, where the devices will be packed into boxes, loaded into the aircraft hold, and returned to the customer in the U.S.
According to TravelDailyNews International, a recent GBTA study revealed how safe business travelers feel in developed and emerging destinations. Los Angeles Times notes business travelers feel safest in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
NBC Washington reports Ronald Reagan National Airport is preparing for a $1 billion renovation, which includes two new security checkpoints and a new commuter concourse.
Business Traveller notes low-cost carrier Jetstar has extended its mobile boarding pass service to 21 additional destinations.
According to Buying Business Travel, an Italian air traffic strike led to the cancellation of nearly 40 percent of Alitalia flights on Monday.
Tnooz reports companies aren’t getting the hotel rates they negotiated. A new study by GBTA in partnership with HRS revealed only two percent of companies conduct weekly audits to ensure that the rate they negotiated is the rate that appears in the GDS.
According to USA TODAY, airlines carried a record 823 million passengers last year, the first time U.S. airlines have carried more than 800 million passengers in one year.
GBTA's Board elections are held each year in conjunction with the annual Convention. Volunteering on the Board is a chance for our industry's leaders to make a long-term positive impact on our profession. This message is meant to advise you of the GBTA Board election process and to invite you to participate by nominating candidates for vacant positions. We hope that you will choose to participate by nominating a peer - or even yourself.
Volunteering to serve on the Board has many benefits. You have the opportunity to serve with fellow leaders that could benefit your professional life. Your opinions and experience provide needed input into shaping the strategic goals for the organization.
The Board consists of thirteen (13) Members comprised of the President, Vice President, Immediate Past President/Chairman of the Board, President of the Chapter Presidents' Council, President and Vice President of the Allied Leadership Council, five (5) Direct Members elected at large, and two (2) Allied Members elected at large. The Executive Director & COO also serves as an ex officio Member of the Board.
Officers (President and Vice President) will be elected by GBTA Direct Members. Allied Members at large will be elected by GBTA Allied Members.
Eligibility Requirements: (As stated in Article VI of GBTA’s bylaws.)
To be eligible for nomination, the following requirements must be met:
Any Direct Member of the Association may nominate a qualified Direct Member or themselves to be an Officer.
Any Allied Member of the Association may nominate a qualified Allied Member or themselves to be a Director.
The Role of the Board: The Board of Directors serves a crucial role in determining the long-term strategy and future governance needs of the Association. A Director attends approximately four (4) in-person meetings of the Board throughout the year as well as periodic Board conference calls as needed. In addition, all Board Members attend the annual GBTA Convention where they participate in several leadership assignments, on and off stage. All Board Members spend time deliberating on matters and policies related to the Association's programs and services. In addition, Board Members should expect to carry out special assignments and make appearances at local chapter meetings, committee meetings or other forums where GBTA's leadership presence is needed throughout the year.
In addition to the GBTA Board of Directors, Allied Member positions will also serve on the GBTA Allied Leadership Council. This Council advises the Board on industry related matters from a supplier perspective.
What Should a Candidate be Prepared For?
All candidates for the Board should be knowledgeable of GBTA's programs, services and Bylaws. All candidates are asked to submit a platform statement and respond to questions. The candidate's platform statement and responses are published in an election brochure that is sent to all Members in advance of Convention. In addition, candidates appear at the Annual Business Meeting / Election on Monday of our annual Convention, and provide a brief, three-minute statement to their peers.
All candidates must adhere strictly to campaign guidelines.
The Election Process: GBTA's election process is guided by GBTA's Bylaws, which require that activities and deadlines are met in a timely manner. The critical dates and process are noted below:
How to Submit a Nomination:
GBTA is once again using an online nomination process this year. You can nominate yourself or another Member that has personally agreed to run for election. You may nominate as many or as few candidates as you like. You will receive an email directly from Election Services with a personalized link to submit your nomination(s). Nominations must be submitted by April 18, 2017.
If you have any questions about the online nomination process, please contact Election Services Corp. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free +1 866 720 HELP (4357).
Please note: Any other method of submission of the nomination form will not be accepted.
According to The New York Times, two federal judges have ruled against Trump’s second travel ban. On Wednesday evening, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order blocking the ban, and a second federal judge in Maryland issued a separate order preventing the ban.
On Thursday morning, President Trump released a blueprint highlighting the Administration’s top-line budget priorities for fiscal year 2018. It includes proposals to privatize air traffic control, cut certain TSA screening programs and increase the passenger security fee. While GBTA commends efforts to modernize air traffic control, we strongly discourage cuts to TSA funding and increasing the passenger security fee.
USA TODAY reports American and Delta have announced modifications to the way passengers board planes.
According to Buying Business Travel, a recent GBTA study revealed business travelers view terrorism as the greatest safety risk they face while on the road. The study delved into business traveler attitudes and perceptions of safety risks while traveling.
Last week, the European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution that could suspend visa-free travel for American citizens. According to Travel Agent Central, suspension of visa-free travel between the EU and U.S. would have negative consequences.
Business Insider reports American Airlines is bringing back free meals on select domestic flights, most likely in an effort to compete with Delta.
According to CNN, an airline passenger’s battery-powered headphones caught fire midflight. The batteries most likely caused the fire, but authorities are still investigating to determine the exact cause.
Business travelers face a variety of risks - from the mundane to the catastrophic, from pickpockets to global terrorism. In today's world it is important to be prepared no matter the destination. GBTA research shows nearly 85 percent of companies already have travel risk management programs in place and many of these include travel insurance and assistance services for business travelers. It is imperative that these plans are communicated to employees, so they are aware if an emergency does arise.
This morning, I will be sharing information from a new GBTA Foundation study on media outlets across the country exploring business traveler attitudes and perceptions about safety risks while traveling.
Read highlights from the new study below and click here to view a free preview of the research.
Risk on the Road: Safety and Security Concerns Lead to Traveler Behavior Change.
Business travelers view terrorism as the greatest safety risk they face on the road, according to a new study released today by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association. Almost half (45 percent) rank it as their greatest concern when traveling for business, much higher than the share indicating street crime (15 percent), illness/disease outbreaks/sanitation (13 percent), property crime/theft (12 percent), kidnapping (8 percent) or natural disasters (6 percent).
We often talk about the resiliency of the business travel industry in the face of terror threats, economic uncertainty, political unrest and other factors. Keeping travelers safe on the road is a prime responsibility for travel professionals. Understanding the road warriors’ fears and anxieties about business travel as well as communicating the available risk protocols and assistance services, can go a long way in building an effective risk management program.
A decent share of respondents are wary about business travel in the emerging world as seven out of the 10 emerging market destinations measured “unsafe” or “not safe at all” by at least one-quarter of U.S.-based respondents. Business travelers generally feel developed cities in North America and Western Europe are safe for business travel as all of the mature markets tested are viewed as at least “somewhat safe” by more than eight in ten U.S.-based business travelers. However, at the same time, the share who only rate these same destinations as “somewhat safe” – rather than “safe” or “very safe” is relatively high, exceeding 20 percent for each destination. This could reflect the fairly common view in today’s world that any destination can be high-risk.
Survey respondents were asked to rate the safety of 16 specific destinations for business travel ranging from domestic to international and developed to developing.
Business travelers not only view terrorism as a safety threat they face on the road, but also agree it has an impact on the business travel industry more broadly and can change the frequency or ways in which people travel. When rating this impact on a 10-point scale, business travelers give terrorism an average rating of 7.6 with 60 percent rating it an eight or higher. This implies that terrorism is more impactful than disease outbreaks, corporate budget cuts or the effects of the global economy.
While one-third (37 percent) of business travelers feel safe when they travel regardless of destination, more than half (52 percent) feel safer when travelling domestically compared to internationally. Baby Boomers are most likely to feel safe when they travel both domestically and internationally.
In the past year, 30 percent of business travelers have traveled for work to a destination they or their organization consider to be high-risk. Millennials (37 percent) are more likely to have traveled to such a destination, compared to Gen-X travelers (27 percent) or Baby Boomers (25 percent).
When it comes to attitudes about high-risk travel, more than half (57 percent) of business travelers feel that nowadays any destination could be high-risk. Baby Boomers are least likely to hold this view. In addition, almost half (48 percent) of business travelers agree they would avoid traveling to certain high risk destinations even if it hurts their career, compared to 31 percent who disagree. Younger travelers are more likely to worry if they did not travel to high-risk destinations, it would reflect poorly on their career.
Methodology: The GBTA Foundation conducted an online survey of 798 U.S. business travelers in September of 2016 using an online panel of business travelers. Respondents qualified if they were employed full- or part-time; had traveled for business at least four times in the past year and had traveled to an international destination for business at least once in the past year. To supplement the survey findings, the GBTA Foundation also conducted four unstructured interviews with travel and security professionals.
On Thursday March 2nd, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution calling upon the European Commission to reintroduce a visa requirement for Americans traveling to Europe unless political issues over visa reciprocity between the regions are resolved in the next two months.
The issue centers on visa exemption reciprocity for all members of the European Union and has been on the EU political agenda since 2014 when Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania notified the U.S.’s failure to implement visa reciprocity to the European Commission. The United States declined to grant visa reciprocity for these five countries because they do not meet the criteria to be included in the Visa Waiver Program. Despite continued pressure to do so, the European Commission had not suspended visa-free travel for American citizens given the potential economic and administrative implications.
GBTA strongly urges government officials on both sides of the ocean to work together through this challenge and come to a resolution that does not put a halt to visa-free travel that currently exists. At a time when transatlantic cooperation and stepping up our common efforts in the fight against terrorism is more important than ever, the reintroduction of visa requirements could seriously damage the relationship between these two strategic partners.
The current waiver agreement encourages cooperation in the fight against potential attacks by allowing intelligence and information sharing of potential terror threats among the participating countries. It spurs job creation and economic growth, while remaining the gold standard of security and efficiency in balancing the need to protect travelers while facilitating global business travel. It is a vital tool for promoting international trade.
Additionally, the expense and cost to the EU will have a large negative impact. The suspension would require processing 10 million annual visa applications. Managing this would take serious efforts, increased staffing, new infrastructure and cost millions of euros to handle this increased demand. And if as expected the United States retaliates, EU citizens and companies would also face roughly €2.5 billion in costs as a result of the United States responding with its own suspension, ending visa-free travel for EU citizens to the United States – meaning roughly 8 million travelers would need to pay the $160 visa fee and related application costs.
A recent Oxford Economics study also revealed that ending visa reciprocity would lead to a 23 percent decline in travel revenue for the United States and Canada. The study also showed more than 200,000 total jobs could be at risk projecting 140,000 jobs could be lost in Europe and an additional 73,000 lost in the United States.
A suspension would create a lasting, negative impact on business travel, which accounted for an estimated $1.2 trillion dollars in global spending last year. The global economy already faces many uncertainties, and this move could deal a devastating blow to further economic growth.
GBTA, as always, will continue to press the importance of visa-free travel reciprocity between the EU and the United States and the message that together we are stronger, and will encourage our European and American leaders to search for common ground to avoid suspension of a vital international program.
On Monday, President Trump signed a revised executive order following his initial January 27 travel ban that was halted by court order.
According to Skift, European companies anticipate a reduction of business travel to the United States because of the new order. Forty-five percent of European business travel professionals indicated their company will be less willing to plan future meetings and events in the U.S., and 38 percent said their companies would be less willing to send business travelers to the U.S. as a result.
The Economist pointed out that a clause in the revised order could cause problems for all visitors entering or exiting the country. A section in the order directs the secretary of homeland security to complete and implement biometric tracking for inscope travelers, which could require these visitors to line up at an additional security line.
According to The New York Times, the European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution that could suspend visa-free travel for American citizens. This resulted because the U.S. does not offer full reciprocity, requiring citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to receive a visa to visit the country.
Quartz reports Qatar Airways plans to enter India’s aviation market with the launch of a domestic airline.
According to Condé Nast Traveler, the TSA introduced more comprehensive pat-down procedures by gradually rolling them out at airports across the country.
Skift reports Qatar Airways unveiled a new business class product, featuring double-bed seats that turn into meeting areas.
According to Skift, the European Union adopted new rules to tighten border security and better track people who may have traveled to fight in war zones.
4Hoteliers reports U.S. hotel transactions accounted for nearly 50 percent of all global sales in 2016, totaling $29 billion.
GBTA launched a contest, giving exhibitors the chance to win VIP seats to Convention Arena Luncheon with Michael Phelps.
Buying Business Travel reports British Airways is set to cut legroom on some of its short-haul flights.
According to TravelDailyNews International, a new air traffic control strike wave in France could result in more than 1,000 flight cancellations.
According to Business Traveller, a ground crew strike in Berlin is causing major disruption, with reports of over 650 flights already cancelled.
This week’s list comes from Skift: 6 Things to Watch at Middle Eastern Carriers as They Cut Services