The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

GBTA Research and Professional Development Update

Majority of Travel Buyers Believe Female Business Travelers Face Greater Risk on the Road

Nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) U.S. travel buyers believe that female travelers generally face greater risk when traveling for business, according to new research released today by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with WWStay. Additionally, 61 percent feel it is very important to consider female safety when implementing risk management programs. Learn more.


U.S. Project-Based Business Travel Spend Topped $45 Billion in 2017

In 2017, project-based business travel spending reached $45.4 billion USD, comprising 15 percent of all U.S. business travel spending, according to a first-of-its-kind study from GBTA, in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group. In total, 66 million trips were taken last year for project-based purposes, representing 12 percent of all U.S. business trips and 19 percent of all U.S. business trips taken for transient purposes. Read more here. 


Travel Payment Goes Virtual; Travel Policies Now Overwhelmingly Allow Ride-Sharing

Travel payment is going virtual, ride-sharing is overwhelmingly allowed in business travel and gamification is not catching on, according to new research released today by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with AirPlus International. Learn more


Business Travel Responsible for $40.1 Billion in Canadian GDP, Creates Over 573,000 Jobs

GBTA issued a report in partnership with BCD Travel and Air Canada that reveals the high potential of business travel to drive economic development and business success. The economic impact study found that Canadian business travellers took a total of 35.1 million trips in 2016, up 5.7 percent from the previous year. Read more.


GBTA Launches Blue Ribbon Education Panel

In March, GBTA announced the launch of a Blue Ribbon Education Panel to evaluate and enhance GBTA’s educational offerings. A panel of industry leaders has been assembled to determine the relevance of education content, identify educational opportunities and optimize delivery channels with a focus on enhancing the personalized education experience for travel industry professionals. Read more.


Innovation Series Returns to GBTA Convention The Innovation Series is returning this year’s annual event. Following last year’s success, GBTA and Phocuswright have collaborated on this multi-faceted program, designed to bring the business travel industry’s most impactful innovators to GBTA Convention 2018. Learn more. 


Register for the GBTA 12th Annual Golf Classic

“Tee off” the start of the GBTA Convention in San Diego at the 12th Annual Golf Classic at Torrey Pines Golf Club, made possible by United Airlines. Home of multiple PGA Tour Championships, Torrey Pines sits on Oceanside cliffs towering above the Pacific Ocean. The picturesque course allows golfers to marvel at the views of the coastline, deep ravines, and championship golf holes. Enjoy a beautiful day out on the greens and network with your industry colleagues prior to a busy week in San Diego. Register now.




Upcoming Events

June 30: On Demand – Corporate Meetings Program and Design 

July 16: ITM Compliance and Cost Saving Summit – Partner Event 

July 17: The Future of Mobile and Chat-Bots in Corporate Travel

July 19: A Look into the Future of B2B Events 

See More Upcoming Events


Thank You to Our Partners

  • AccorHotels

  • AIG

  • AirPlus International

  • ARC

  • Avis Budget Group

  • BCD Travel

  • Best Western Hotels & Resorts

  • Carlson Family Foundation

  • Cvent

  • Delta Air Lines

  • Denihan

  • Dinova

  • EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

  • Enterprise Holdings, Inc.

  • GBTA

  • Hilton



  • HRS Global Hotel Solutions

  • Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

  • iJET International

  • IHG® - InterContinental Hotels Group

  • Lufthansa German Airlines

  • Millennium Hotels and Resorts

  • Omni Hotels & Resorts

  • Radius Travel

  • SAP Concur

  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

  • Southwest Airlines

  • United Airlines

  • U.S. Bank

  • WWstay

  • Wyndham Hotel Group



The Evolution of Travel

The next time you find yourself irritated because of a delayed flight, put yourself in the shoes of a traveler in the early 1900s. Before the era of mass air travel began, travelers relied primarily on ocean liners for long-distance journeys, and Low-Tech Magazine notes a trip from London to New York would take three days and 12 hours to complete. Today, that trip takes as little as seven hours and 40 minutes, thanks to the commercialization of airplanes.

From horse-drawn carriages in the 18th century to gas-powered automobiles in the 19th century to flying around the world at a moment’s notice today, the way we get around has altered dramatically. The below timeline highlights a few milestones throughout the history of travel, courtesy of the University of Houston, CNN, Motor Trend, and Daimler.


1769 – Nicolas Cugnot invents the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transport

Steam-powered car invented by Nicolas Joseph Cugnot

Image Source: PBS LearningMedia


1885 – Karl Benz creates the first gas-powered automobile 

The original "Benz Patent Motor Car", 1886 - the world's first automobile

Image Source: Daimler


1903 – Orville and Wilbur Wright made history by completing the first-ever manned, heavier-than-air flight

Image Source: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum


1952 – The de Havilland Aircraft Company debuted the world’s first commercial jet flight, a 23-hour trip between London and Johannesburg

Image Source: Finding Dulcinea


1964 – Japan launches the bullet train, a high-speed rail that reaches up to 210 km per hour

World's first bullet train, made in Japan, turns 50

Image Source:


1969 – The first Boeing 747 flight took off, traveling nearly twice as far as other commercial planes

Image Source: Aviation Week Network


1990 – Mazda produces the Eunos Cosmo, the first car with a built-in navigation system

Image Source: Motor Trend


1996 – The launch of booking site Expedia opened up the door for online travel bookings

Image Source: Tnooz

As travel has evolved and increasingly connected our world, so has our Association. Over the years, GBTA has provided a platform for managed travel professionals to share best practices, policies and solutions to the industry’s greatest issues. While these posts are meant to look back and reflect on our history, we look forward to what the future holds, for both our organization and the travel industry.

Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts! Interested in submitting a Convention memory for a chance to be featured at #GBTA2018 in San Diego? Here’s how. You can also share your Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.

Revision of EU Air Services Rules: Business Travelers Highlight Key Issues of Concern

GBTA Urges EU Institutions to Effectively Deal with Price Transparency in Aviation

GBTA welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the on-going policy debate on the EU aviation market, launched by the European Commission in the context of its evaluation of European rules governing competition in the internal aviation market.

On 7 June, GBTA submitted its answers to the public consultation launched by the European Commission in this context, and highlighted key issues to be addressed, in particular the need for fair and transparent ticket price policies to be implemented for the benefit of business travelers and the companies they work for.

GBTA stressed that several disruptive practices by airlines, such as unilateral decisions to impose surcharges on bookings made through Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), the increased use of loyalty programmes to outreach directly to travelers and price discrimination on the basis of a traveler’s residence, result in costs increases for business travelers and disruptions in corporate travel management.

Given its contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation, GBTA looks forward to the results of this consultation, and is ready to continue to cooperate with the European Commission on evaluating the benefits and challenges to address in the aviation market in order to ensure that business travelers’ specific concerns are taken into account in any future revision of EU rules.

Brexit: Business Travelers Concerned by Threatening “No Deal” Prospect

The Clock is Ticking: GBTA Reiterates Call to EU and UK Brexit Negotiators to Agree on Withdrawal Issues and Quickly Start Discussing Future Relationship & Aviation

A few months ago, GBTA commented positively on progress achieved at the March 2018 meeting, where a way forward was finally found on Withdrawal issues, namely Citizens’ rights, the Northern Ireland border and the financial settlement. GBTA also positively welcomed the agreement found on the length of transition period, which provided some reassurance to businesses and their business travelers.

However, looking at the way negotiations have unfolded since then, GBTA’s hope that decision makers will make good progress and start negotiating the EU-UK future trade deal is fading. Despite what was announced this March, and as demonstrated by the Joint EU-UK Statement assessing the progress of negotiations published on 19 June, only minor achievements have been made and Northern Ireland continues to be a sticking point, preventing the EU and UK negotiators from moving forward on trade and aviation issues.

This has created a highly uncertain situation for business travel, and uncertainty is never good for business. Therefore, in advance of the 28-29 June EU Summit, the business travel industry calls upon European institutions to carefully consider the implications of this uncertainty for businesses and commit to rapidly opening up negotiations on the future EU-UK trade deal as well as on the future EU-UK future aviation deal.

A seamless transition towards a sound aviation deal is crucial for the economy, businesses and the business travel industry. Prospects of Brexit for aviation are alarming: obstacles for UK airlines to operate in the EU and with the rest of the world, reduced connectivity and travel choices as well as risks to travel safety and security if the UK leaves the European Agency for Aviation Safety. The practical effect of a failure to reach an agreement would be the immediate suspension of flights between the UK and the European Union.   

The EU and UK economies cannot afford a no deal. Neither can businesses nor business travelers. This is why GBTA remains committed to being involved every step of the way to advocate for the best interests of our industry.


Podcast: GBTA Innovation Series in Partnership with Phocuswright - Part 2

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel highlights round two of GBTA’s Innovation Series in Partnership with Phocuswright. You’ll hear from Gaest, Waylo, and GermFalcon as they deliver their six-minute pitches on why they deserve to be named the “Best Innovator in Business Travel” at GBTA Convention 2018.



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!

GBTA Notice of Annual Meeting

Annual Report;
Election of Directors;
Absentee Ballot Request Instructions and Timelines


Notice of Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), Inc. ("GBTA") will be held on August 13, 2018, at 10:30am in San Diego, California at the San Diego Convention Center on Center Stage in Ballroom 20.

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

If you are a GBTA Direct or Allied Member, you may vote in this election either at the GBTA Annual Convention or by absentee ballot (instructions below).

At Convention 2018, elections with voting by electronic means will be open starting on Monday, August 13 at 11:30am PT until Tuesday, August 14 at 6pm PT at the GBTA Convention at the San Diego Convention Center. Results of the elections will be announced at Convention Arena on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Individuals must be Direct or Allied members of GBTA to be eligible to vote. In the United States, if you are a community member in an Affiliate or Chapter, but not a global member, you will not be eligible to vote. Please note that to vote onsite, individuals must also be registered for Convention by July 31, 2018.

The open Board positions in the 2018 Election are as follows:

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

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

Absentee Ballots
If you are unable to attend GBTA Convention 2018 and vote in person, you may request an absentee ballot.

You will receive information on how to request an absentee ballot on June 28 and you have until July 13 to request an absentee ballot. The ballot will contain necessary information for the Election of Directors.

Absentee ballots will be submitted electronically and must be received by August 6, 2018, which is five days prior to the start of Convention. Instructions for submission and completion will be included on the ballot. We thank you in advance for your participation in shaping the future of GBTA.

Review of Critical Dates:

  • June 28 - Absentee Ballots Available

  • July 13 - Absentee Ballot Request Deadline

  • July 31 - Deadline to Register for Convention if Planning to Vote Onsite

  • August 6 - Absentee Ballots Due to GBTA

  • August 13 - Annual Business Meeting

  • August 13 - Voting Opens Onsite at Convention

  • August 14 - Voting Closes

  • August 15 - Election Results Announced

Supreme Court Ruling Upholds Current Travel Ban

GBTA Projects Future Impact on U.S. Economy and Business Travel

Today, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold President Trump’s travel ban. So, what does this mean for the future of the travel industry? It cannot be denied that the cumulative impact of the travel bans over the past 18 months has been felt by our industry. The initial reaction alone to the first travel ban issued by the Administration was swift and strong – more than $185 million in business travel bookings were lost in one week.

As the second and then third executive orders on travel were narrowed, it lessened the impact, confusion and outcries, but the effect on business travel and the U.S. economy remains. In a poll of GBTA members last week, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of U.S. travel buyers reported that the Administration’s executive orders on travel have driven at least some level of reduction in their company’s travel. Additionally, 37 percent expect some level of reduction going forward because of today’s ruling to uphold the ban.

More than half (52 percent) of U.S. travel buyers also reported concerns of increased traveler harassment in general due to this Administration’s policies and messaging on travel and immigration, while 40 percent worry about a reduction in business travel to the United States. When asked about the lasting impact, U.S. buyers cited the potential for countries to respond, making travel more difficult for U.S. travelers (64 percent), complications in travel to the United States (56 percent), increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad (51 percent) and cancelled projects/contracts between U.S. and foreign companies (36 percent).

Perhaps most strikingly, 62 percent of U.S. buyers believe this Administration is having a negative impact on business travel. For every one percent decrease in business travel spending, the U.S. economy loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes.

GBTA also polled its European members, revealing that 31 percent of European travel buyers report that the Administration’s executive orders on travel have driven at least some level of reduction in their company’s travel. Additionally, 38 percent of European travel buyers say their willingness to plan meetings and events in the United States has decreased because of the Administration’s executive orders and a similar number (39 percent) say the Administration’s policies and messaging on travel and immigration have negatively impacted their company’s willingness to plan meetings and events in the United States.

The numbers clearly show there has been - and there will continue to be - an impact.

GBTA is deeply concerned about the long-term impact of these survey results, and the global perception of doing business with the United States. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and as the United States changes its policies about inbound travel, others are likely to do the same.

Business planning in an environment with turmoil and unpredictable change is difficult. Business leaders would much rather have certainty and predictability so that they can allocate capital and plan business appropriately for the long term. When policies are introduced without consulting stakeholders and presented without warning, it causes damage to the United States as a destination for foreign travel. However, it is not irreparable. The U.S. economy remains strong and is an attractive place for business.  

Security is, of course, of the utmost importance. We can work to ensure safe and secure travel through other proven security measures including continued expansion of the Visa Waiver Program, the implementation of additional trusted traveler reciprocal agreements with countries where possible and encouraging relevant agencies to find more areas of cooperation to pool resources and intelligence.

Congress can work closer together in a bi-partisan fashion to encourage the White House to implement appropriate policies that impact travelers and businesses alike. Our shared mission is to implement policies going forward that preserve both our national security and our economy for the future.

Determine the Future of GBTA - 2018 Board of Directors Election

It is time once again to make your voice heard in choosing new leadership positions for GBTA. Please take a moment to review the election materials and platform statements in the Board of Directors Election Brochure 2018.

This August, during GBTA’s annual Convention in San Diego, all Direct and Allied members will have the opportunity to take part in our election process. The open positions on this year’s ballot include three Direct Member at Large seats and one Allied Member at Large seat. In this online brochure, you will find information and platform statements from all of our participating candidates. I encourage you to take some time to review the information and get to know your candidates, so you can make an informed choice when you cast your vote.

On Monday, August 13, during the Annual Business Meeting at Convention, each candidate will deliver their campaign speech. You will be able to cast your vote for the next leadership electronically Monday, August 13 through Tuesday, August 14. In order to vote, you must be a current Allied or Direct Member of the Association. To vote onsite, you must also be registered for Convention by July 31, 2018. If you have questions about your membership status, please check with GBTA’s Member Care Team at before July 31.

The GBTA Board of Directors serves as the governing body of the Association and is responsible for establishing the focus and direction of the Association. This is your opportunity to vote for the candidates you believe will best lead our organization, so I strongly encourage you to participate in the GBTA electoral process.

Our Association’s continued success is driven by the dedication of many member volunteers. Keep our Association strong by being an active participant and cast your vote this August 13th and 14th at Convention or via an absentee ballot by August 6th! More info on absentee ballots will be coming soon.

Week in Review

Project-based business travel spending reached $45.4 billion in 2017, comprising 15 percent of all U.S. business travel spending, Hotel Management reports. The findings come from a new GBTA study in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group.

American and United are pushing back on the Trump administration, Skift reports. The airlines have requested that their flights not be used to fly immigrant children who are being separated from their families.

According to TravelDailyNews International, an alarming amount of air traffic control strikes across Europe have taken place this year impacting millions of travelers and the region’s overall economy.  

A Swedish real estate investment firm has acquired a portfolio of seven German hotels from Fico Group, 4Hoteliers notes.

On the ground transportation front, Business Today reports a new high-speed rail link between Delhi and Rajasthan has received approval. The project will cost approximately $3.68 billion USD, or Rs.25,000 crore.

In that same vein, Global Indonesian Voices notes preparations are underway for a high-speed rail project that would connect Jakarta and Surabaya. The line would shorten the travel time between the two cities in Indonesia to just five hours.

According to USA TODAY, Orlando’s MCO will become the first airport in the country to process all arriving and departing passengers with facial-recognition technology.

The same source reports fliers in the U.S. will face scrutiny for having powders in their carry-on bags. The TSA will be focusing on containers with at least 350 milliliters of powder, which is about equal to a can of soda.

Rail journeys have fallen for the first time in eight years in the UK, according to Buying Business Travel and findings from the Office of Rail and Road. This is the largest annual decrease since 1993-4.

On this week’s episode of The Business of Travel, we highlight our Innovation Series in partnership with Phocuswright. Hear Tripgrid, lumo, and Stay22 deliver six-minute pitches on why they deserve to be named the top innovator in business travel.

Business travel is ahead of other industries on payment tech, Associations Now reports. A new GBTA study, conducted in partnership with AirPlus International, also finds that 56 percent of U.S. travel agents use central travel accounts (CTAs), ghost accounts or lodge cards that can be used by multiple employees.

According to USA TODAY, Amtrak has revamped its food and beverage menu and introduced a host of new items, including gluten-free options.

Lyft has introduced a feature that makes it easier to track business travel expenses, TechCrunch notes. The new feature allows for a connection between employee trips and the managers in charge of their reimbursement.

JetBlue founder David Neeleman is raising funds for a new U.S. airline called Moxy AirwaysSkift writes. The airline has already secured orders for 60 Bombardier CS300 aircraft to arrive in 2020 and is aiming to start service that same year.

Throwback Thursday: Houston Ice Fishing Team

As we inch closer to our upcoming 50th anniversary of GBTA Convention, we continue to look back and celebrate our history through a series of weekly posts.

Nearly eight years ago, the 2010 NBTA International Convention & Exposition was held in Houston, known for its horrendously hot weather in the summer months. In the video below, former GBTA Executive VP Hank Roeder jokes that the Houston Ice Fishing Team would like to invite attendees to the event. As it turns out, we ended up confusing several legitimate ice fishing teams who didn't realize the video is a joke.

Luckily, the weather in San Diego is slightly more forgiving, and we look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion with all our attendees this summer.

Visit the GBTA Blog every Thursday for more throwback posts! Interested in submitting a Convention memory for a chance to be featured at #GBTA2018 in San Diego? Here’s how. You can also share your Convention memories with us on Twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.