The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


Week In Review

The business travel industry is seeing the effects of Brexit, with hotel demand in the United Kingdom expected to soar and jump a whopping 30 percent in the second half of 2016, according to Buying Business Travel. International travelers look to this as an opportunity to visit pricier destinations at a more affordable rate, and British travelers will likely travel within the UK due to the weak currency.

Domestic travelers in the United States are reveling as well, with U.S. airfares being the cheapest they’ve been in six years, since 2010. Chicago Tribune reports the average price of a domestic ticket dropped to $361 in the first quarter of 2016, down nearly 8 percent from the same period in 2015.

In other aviation news, Bloomberg reports the need for 30,850 new pilots annually for the next two decades due to a surge in global air travel, according to a forecast by Boeing Co. Boeing also estimates the need for 112,000 pilots in just North American in the same time span. Low-cost carrier JetBlue may be laying the groundwork for flights to Europe in the near future, according to USA Today.

A new law effective immediately requires airlines to refund baggage fees for delayed bags if the luggage is delayed 12 hours after a domestic flight or 15 hours after an international flight arrival, says Yahoo Finance.

Southwest Airlines resumed a normal schedule on Monday, following a technical glitch that caused 2,300 cancellations and thousands of delays over the course of four consecutive days. Southwest remedied the situation by allowing passengers to re-book at no cost within two weeks of their original travel dates and offering customers with delayed flights 50 percent off vouchers for future travel.

The Motley Fool claims United Airlines may be downsizing and eliminating one of its hubs, due to domestic capacity cuts and a loss of market share in its hubs over the past five years. Boeing, on the other hand, considers ending production of the 747 if sufficient orders are not met, according to USA Today. The same source reports leisure carrier Allegiant is rapidly expanding, adding Puerto Rico, San Juan and Trenton, New Jersey to its network.

On the subject of expansions, Louisville International Airport announces the addition of a nonstop flight for business travelers. OneJet now offers direct service to Pittsburgh, with Kansas City, Missouri and Raleigh, North Carolina to be added in October.

In hotel news, USA Today highlights the development of new hotel brands designed specifically for millennials. Chains like Marriott International and Virgin Hotels are now focusing on design and technology to appeal to millennials, who represent one-third of the U.S. population. Travel Daily News shares the launch of Bizly’s new website, which enables users to book hotel meeting rooms in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

Priceline founder Jay Walker is also launching something new, a company called Upside that will enable business travelers to “‘monetize’ the flexibility in their travel plans that they don’t even realize they have,” Forbes reports.

This week's list comes from USA Today: Five exercises you can do in your hotel room in 15 minutes


Breaking News from GBTA Convention 2016

Every year leading travel companies from around the globe gather at GBTA Convention, and many use the event as a platform to announce their latest news, products and services. GBTA's Media Day brings the latest breaking news into one place. Nearly 20 companies participated in the second annual Media Day to deliver their breaking news, innovations and product announcements in back-to-back press conferences.

Deem COO John Rizzo started the day by announcing additions to the Deem management team and that an agreement had been reached with American Express Global Business Travel, making Deem their travel technology of choice.

Groupize CEO Charles de Gaspe announced a partnership with Concur to streamline the booking process for small meeting rooms and groups. Travel arrangers will be able to book and manage rooms and small meetings using the newly-developed self-booking platform and app.

SkyTeam’s Ed Hollo discussed the latest enhancements to its Global Meetings product, a platform designed to make arranging travel for international meetings and events easier than ever.

ARC’s Director of Corporate Communications Peter Abzug was joined by Ovation Corporate Travel’s Shane Chapman and United Airlines’ Joe Tibble, and they discussed the importance of data in decision-making. ARC also released a detailed study on road warriors and the effects of frequent business travel as perceived by travelers.

beTravelWise Co-Founder and Director Saul Shanagher revealed a new line of innovative travel safety education eLearning products in multiple languages including U.S. English, Spanish, German and French.

Uber for Business announced their first enterprise offering, the Employee Pay Billing platform, which allows for integration with third party expense platforms. Business travelers will be able to link their expense platform to their Uber account and send any trip details directly to the expense provider.

nuTravel CSO Rich Miller shared a new booking capability in the OS mobile app and an integration with VIA Rail. Miller also announced several projects undertaken by customers that have utilized nuTravel booking technology outside of their flagship enterprise online booking tool to build solutions that increase market share and product differentiation.

Travel & Transport announced the launch of a new company named Data Visualization Intelligence, Inc. (DVI). Focused on big data solutions for the travel industry, the initial product offered through the company will be a data aggregation and visualization tool for corporate travel programs.

Avis Executive Vice President and CMO Scott Deaver announced a 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. Travelers will be able to manage every aspect of the car rental process, including the ability to change rented vehicles, cancel or extend reservations, and lock and unlock connected cars, all within the app.

Millennium Hotels & Resorts’ Shaun Treacy reported plans to redefine their collection of hotels and resorts, starting with renovations across North America. Treacy also teased the launch of a new socially-driven brand in the near future.

Airberlin revealed increased flight frequencies starting November 2016, including the addition of ten flights from the U.S. to Berlin and Dusseldorf, Germany. Boston and San Francisco were named as new U.S. destinations and Los Angeles flights will begin operation year round in late 2016/early 2017.

In an initiative to educate individuals about the importance of road safety, International SOS and the Global Road Safety Partnership have teamed up to include road risks in the digital Travel Risk Map. Users have the ability to view road risks at both a global and country level.

Furnished Quarters announced the launch of a customer loyalty program called Friends with Benefits for their residential hotel Q&A. Members receive special advantages, including early check-in, late check-out, free upgrades, a welcome amenity gift, a SoulCycle class and direct delivery of a Maple meal.

Marriott’s Brian King discussed the launch of a beta hotel in the next two months. King discussed Marriott’s commitment to providing seamless experiences for business travelers. In addition to offering global mobile check-in and check-out, Marriott enables guests to view Netflix on their TVs.

Christopherson Business Travel presenters released new technology enhancements to their AirPortal 360 dashboard for travel managers and Airtinerary, an intelligent itinerary for business travelers. These improvements were implemented to empower travel managers and increase efficiency.

Generali Global Assistance’s Paige Schaffer announced the launch of its new Identity Protection Services designed to detect and prevent identity theft. The services have been designed specifically for the travel industry, since international travel poses a high risk for identity theft.

McKibbon Hospitality showcased its new corporate brand identity, including a new corporate brand, logo and tagline, “Hospitality Begins With Us.” Also announced was the expansion of its corporate headquarters in Tampa, Florida. The new headquarters will be 10,000 square feet.

For more news released during GBTA Convention 2016, visit the Online Press Room and also hear from industry executives on the GBTA YouTube channel in our Industry Voices series.


Future of Ground Transportation: Can’t we all Just Get Along?

Perhaps no segment of the travel industry has been as dramatically altered as ground transportation. The disruptive force of the sharing economy has turned ground transportation on its head, catching many taxi, limosuine and rental car companies struggling to keep up with the new services offered to commuters and business travelers alike.

Traditional ground transportation companies, however, cite a lack of oversight and duty of care to argue that shared car services need greater scrutiny and regulation. These issues came to the forefront during a Center Stage panel at GBTA Convention 2016, when CNN’s fiery Richard Quest moderated a discussion between David Baga, Chief Business Officer of Lyft, and Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El / Boston Coach Chauffeured Transportation Network.

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Mr. Solombrino expressed the views of traditional ground transportation companies that feel as though ride-sharing companies do not play by the same rules, are poorly regulated and do not have proper duty of care guidelines in place – particularly with background checks and drug tests for their drivers.

GroundPanel 2 Scott

Mr. Baga emphasized the sharing economy’s protocols for transparency and safety while stressing that traditional car services and car sharing services are different industries with different purposes. “We are a different industry and consumers are voting with their mobile phones,” said Baga. “There will always be a place for a chauffeured car experience. That will never change.”

What is changing, however, is how business travelers utilize both traditional and ride-sharing services. Recent GBTA data shows 44 percent percent of business travelers now use ride-sharing apps. Mr. Solombrino noted that traditional transportation companies are not as resistant to ride-sharing services as people would believe. “I think David’s company has been a great disruptive force. We are rolling out our own app that unifies thousands of chauffeured car services that do not jeopardize safety or duty of care.”

Duty of care, fair wages for drivers and safety based on background checks seem to be where the traditional ground transportation companies make their strongest arguments. Ride-sharing services, on the other hand, point to their high demand and successful business model to make the argument that travelers have made their decision.

GroundPanel3 Quest

Despite the chasm that currently appears to exist between traditional car services and ride-sharing services, when Richard Quest polled the audience on whether the two types of services will ever merge, the majority thought that they would. “Congratulations, you two will merge in the next five years,” the moderator said. “Maybe not your two companies, specifically, but these two industries will become unified.”  


Consolidation in Business Travel: What’s Next?

For the past several years, there has been a significant number of consolidations throughout every segment of the travel industry. With mergers and acquisitions of some of the best-known brands in the air travel, lodging and ground transport sectors continuing at a rapid pace, GBTA Convention 2016 featured a Center Stage panel discussion on the topic of consolidation with some of the most well-known experts in the field.

Moderated by Guy Langford, Vice Chairman, U.S. Leader of the Travel, Hospitality & Leisure (“THL”), Deloitte & Touche LLP, the panel consisted of Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and Founder, Cvent; Dara Khosrowshahi President and CEO, Expedia, Inc., and; Kevin Frid, COO of Accor Hotels. The panel brought unique perspectives to an extremely timely and relevant discussion. Cvent is currently being acquired, Expedia has become one of the largest travel companies in the world through acquisitions, and Accor Hotels recently completed an acquisition. Given these backgrounds across travel industries, the conversation provided much needed clarity and insight into one of the biggest drivers shaping today’s travel industry.

There was agreement that having an effective strategy in place must drive the process of successful mergers or acquisitions. If the consolidation is not strategic, it may be unsuccessful. Said Accor’s Kevin Frid, “strategy, when done well, doesn’t change much, but may be tweaked. Economic conditions are always changing.”

Merger Frida

Expedia’s President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi highlighted the unique borrowing landscape that currently exists – stating that, “at this time, central banks lowering the cost of borrowing to such an extent that now a bird in hand is worth a bird in the bush and people are diving into the bush to collect birds.”

Merger Dara

From the perspective of a company that is being acquired, Cvent’s Reggie Aggarwal said that, “if you’re the acquiring company, strategy is the most important thing, but if you’re being acquired, the driving factor is price.”

Merger Reggie

The conversation shifted to the hot-button topics of scalability, technology and if it is still possible to “own the customer.” With respect to scalability, Accor’s Frid sees scalability as intrinsically linked to strategy. Saying of the recent merger, “we wanted a bigger footprint in the luxury space and in the U.S. markets, but the reality is that brands can’t scale to determine a price. Brands can only provide a value proposition for its customers.”

While the three panelists had unique perspectives of the current landscape of consolidation, they were in agreement that it is no longer possible to, “own the customer” as today’s young, savvy traveler is resistant to such notions. It is possible, according to Khosrowshahi and Aggarawl, to rely on technology to interact with the customer and alleviate any pain points.

The panel agreed such uses of technology will continue to drive mergers and acquisitions in the travel industry for the foreseeable future. Said Aggarawl, “There is so much cool tech coming out of the travel industry now, and many travel companies now see themselves as tech companies.”

With a healthy and robust reliance on technology, as well as the continued environment of low borrowing and easy access to capital, consolidation will continue to be one of – if not the – biggest drivers shaping the business travel landscape for years to come.


Oscar Munoz Wants to Put the Heart Back into the Friendly Skies

Listen to United CEO Oscar Munoz talk, and you will hear a lot about heart – how he wants United to lead with heart, how he thinks more heart needs to be incorporated into the business world today and the inevitable discussions of his heart transplant shortly after he took over the reins of one of the world’s biggest airlines.  Indeed, heart seems to be the cornerstone of Mr. Munoz’ mission to redefine the image that United Airlines has both to its own employees and to the traveling public.

During a Q&A session between Mr. Munoz and GBTA Executive Director and COO Mike McCormick during GBTA’s Annual Convention, Munoz offered a candid assessment of his airline, air travel in general, and what his company is doing to improve and innovate air travel for business passengers.

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In September 2015 Oscar Munoz became the new CEO of United Airlines. A month later he suffered a heart attack. In January 2016, Munoz underwent a heart transplant and in March, he was back at the help of United. “It was the thousands of notes I got” from United employees, Munoz says, is what brought him back to the company so shortly after his heart transplant surgery.

While his own story is compelling, Oscar Munoz was also able to share insights on where United and business air travel in general was headed. Although air travel is perhaps the most competitive it has ever been, “If you want to compete, you’ve got to compete… But it’s a people business,” he said. “We’re growing the heart and the caring in this company. I need [United’s] 57,000 employees to be fully vested in the customer experience.”

Heart is one part of Munoz’ personal story as well as the foundation for United’s recent turnaround under his leadership. Much of that drive and focus comes from the “countless” conversations Munoz says he has with employees and travelers alike, as well as being candid about air travel’s past struggles.

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“The airline industry has made travel hell for business travelers. We need to do better to improve the air travel experience. My goal is to show you can run a business with heart that also makes money for its investors.”

United can point to the rollout of its new Polaris Class service as one of its customer-driven innovations that is seeking to improve the customer experience while making money for investors. The new Business Class service has been designed – in part – by the many conversations that Munoz has with United employees on the front line. “The vanity, the bar to pull yourself up are all based on suggestions from employees and customers… We looked at the investment we already committed to a redesign and thought, ‘why don’t we do something really radical?’ That’s what prompted Polaris with a lot of input from customers.”

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Throughout Oscar Munoz’s conversation during this year’s GBTA convention, he often came back to the importance of winning by putting people first, and how “running better is running cheaper.” At the helm of an airline that just celebrated its 90th birthday, United’s CEO has a new contagious enthusiasm for a people-driven airline. Employees are embracing the change in outlook and the company is improving many of its baseline metrics among business travelers.

“A flight attendant once said something to me, which really resonated, ‘I’m sick of having to always say I’m sorry.’ From that one little comment, we were able to make small changes that have had a big impact – from something as small as serving better coffee on up to improve the customer experience. We’re going to show that we care about travelers and win people back.”


A Conversation with TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger: Promoting an Entrepreneurial Spirit within the Government

Despite a long, dedicated and decorated career in the Coast Guard, where he rose to the rank of Vice Commandant, Peter Neffenger is now in charge of an entirely different organization with a global reach and responsible for the daily safety of millions of people: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Often maligned as an agency struggling with operational discipline and low employee morale, Administrator Neffenger sees these challenges as opportunities to overhaul how TSA is viewed by the traveling public and how TSA agents view themselves and their mission. “I came in on the heels of a report that said that the TSA wasn’t performing great,” Neffenger said during an interview with GBTA Executive Director and COO Mike McCormick during GBTA’s Annual Convention. “This last year we focused on three areas of improvement. We needed to get better, we needed to be better with our resources and we needed to change the system, which had been the same for a long, long time.”

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To that end, Administrator Neffenger pointed to several recent successes – such as opening a TSA Training Academy to overhauling the Agency’s entire operating model. While instilling an entrepreneurial spirit throughout an agency of close to 60,000 employees is challenging, that is what drives Peter Neffenger in his drive to change how TSA operates and the perception that the traveling public has of the agency. “I brought some of the Coast Guard’s thinking to the TSA,” Neffenger said. “Now we start at the mission and work backwards. We have seen dramatic improvements… The TSA has had some challenges in its past, but if you have read about it or heard about it, we have already addressed it.”

Part of the new entrepreneurial spirit comes from Peter Neffenger himself, while part of it comes from empowering TSA agents and learning from other security services around the country. In a drive to eliminate the TSA’s “one-size-fits-all mentality,” the Administrator pointed to pilot programs currently underway at airports across the country. One in particular is the automated lanes that have been rolled out at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport. “We have seen a 30 – 40 percent improvement in throughput in those lanes,” he said. “It is just one of the ways we are looking to reduce friction to the traveler…We are always looking for new ways of doing business.”

One topic that was of great concern to the GBTA audience was the TSA’s PreCheck system, which has grown from roughly 4,000 sign-ups a day when Peter Neffenger took over to about 20,000 a day now. “The GBTA has been a huge proponent and partner in this initiative,” he said. When asked where he though the PreCheck system was headed, the TSA’s Administrator said he was thinking globally. “Ideally, I would like to get everybody into a trusted traveler system. It should ultimately be a global system so travelers don’t have to shop on five different government websites to find the right program for them.”

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While TSA Administrator Neffenger feels that his agency is headed in the right direction, he is cognizant that there is still work to be done. “It is a stressful and adversarial interaction by nature, so the more we can get away from that, the better. When I came in, I found an agency that was in chaos and under fire, and we are starting to move away from that. We are literally on the front lines of how citizens interact with their government.”

Asked what prompted him to leave his life and career at the Coast Guard to lead such a maligned agency, Peter Neffenger pointed to the fact that, despite its recent woes, the TSA is an agency, “with a great and important mission and I wanted to help reform it.”


Addressing Security, The Economy and The World Today

*The following speech was delivered today at GBTA Convention 2016.*

Security

The world is a dangerous place. Using our best efforts as a society, we try to protect all of our global citizens from acts of terrorism. But in a world of 7.3 billion people, we will never fully succeed despite all of our best efforts. When these horrific events occur, we must never forget the lives that are needlessly, senselessly lost in this manner.

And for all of us in the travel industry, we feel a deep sense of ownership when those lives are violently taken in our airports, our skies and places we have all traveled to – both for business and for leisure.  Please join me in a moment of silence to honor those lives lost in Paris, in Brussels, in Istanbul, in Nice, in our Convention city from last year, Orlando – and all victims of terrorism.

As we gather here together today in Denver, you might ask…

What can we do differently?

What can we do better?

How can I help?

The answers lie within all of us. We can choose the path of acceptance and complacency – or take action and re-double our efforts to fight for the industry that we all know, love and rely on. Business travel drives sustained business growth. This industry – and all of you – drive the success of every other industry.

The travel industry is the world’s largest employer. We put the sharing in the sharing economy. We bring everyone face-to-face. All of us here along with all of our colleagues must work with our governments to keep us safe and secure by working better, working smarter and removing the barriers that exist to winning the war against travel terrorism both here and abroad.

It starts with better policies and proper funding. Although short-term extensions can show signs of progress, we must continue our fight in Congress for consensus on a proper, long term funding for the FAA, the agency responsible for the safety of our skies. Generic airplane on terminal gate ready for takeoff - Modern international airport at sunset - Concept of emotional travel around the world - Wide angle distortion with enhanced sunshine lens flare

Congress must follow the leadership of business travel champions like Senator Thune and Representative Katko and pass the funding that is long overdue. And as for security, we must support Administrator Neffenger’s efforts to overhaul TSA and build a more efficient, more effective organization that includes the broad expansion of programs like PreCheck and Global Entry.

We must demand that TSA is allowed to expand the private sector partners that would enroll all of your business travelers that are low risk and need to move through the system more efficiently. This allows more resources to focus on inexperienced and higher risk travelers. It also helps to keep travelers from waiting in unsecure, public areas at the airport where the risk increases for all of us.

But that is just a part of the challenge. GBTA has pushed hard to drive better government inter-agency cooperation in areas like in-flight cyber security and intelligence data. We must win the war in the air, on the ground and throughout the entire travel system.

Security is first and foremost. But this part of the experience for any business traveler can be – and must be – a much better one. And because our industry drives the economic success of every other industry, we must be smart about the policies we enact – and the actions we take – as they also have a profound effect on our global economy.

The Economy

GBTA has been sensing a growing need for reform among our members. In fact last year, I spoke on this very issue. We told you we would solicit your thoughts and opinions on industry consolidation, technology, corporate risk and responsibility. With the full participation of our committees, we issued the Rules of the Road, a declaration of the needs of the business travel industry.

It is our goal to support an open and honest dialogue of what the buyers and sellers of travel need to ensure safe, sustainable competition and clear communication throughout the industry. We are asking you to adopt these principles as a unified industry.

This is what we are doing with our elected leaders. We are telling them that as they consider legislative, tax and regulatory actions, they should look closely to see if they are helping or hurting the industry. We announced the Rules of the Road on Capitol Hill in May and received an overwhelmingly positive response from key Members of Congress.

Washington, DC - Reflection of US Capitol Building

We brought our voice to Washington.

The World Today

But no matter how hard we work and how much we prepare, the world continues to be an unpredictable and unbalanced place. Last month, the people of the United Kingdom caught us all by surprise by taking the off-ramp called Brexit and voting to leave the European Union. The vote sent shockwaves throughout the global economy.

No one is certain what this will mean for business travel, but rest assured GBTA will continue to advocate for the same principles in Europe it holds true here in the U.S. We must ensure business travelers move freely so that business is not disrupted. Programs like the Visa Waiver Exemption must continue. This program keeps commerce flowing and is an important security tool for the world.

I thank all of you for not just being a part of – but taking personal ownership in the success of the business travel industry. We are all an important part of the most vibrant, most dynamic, most compassionate industry in the world. Yes, the world is a challenging and sometimes dangerous place. 

But it is our job to look after it… together. Thank you and have a great Convention!    


GBTA Convention 2016 by the Numbers

A lot can happen in just a couple of days, and GBTA Convention 2016 is the perfect example of that.  Nearly 7,000 individuals from over 50 countries attend to reap the benefits of months of hard work. With so many business travel education sessions, industry speakers and networking opportunities, it’s no wonder GBTA Convention 2016 is the largest annual gathering of business travel professionals in the world.

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GBTA Cares: Wish for Wheels

Do you remember your first bike? What about the sheer joy of receiving it or the pure terror of riding it for the first time? With one-in-five children in the Denver area living in poverty, a brand new bike is just a dream. That’s why GBTA volunteers came together to make dreams come true and build 150 bikes for kids at the Sun Valley Youth Center on the first day of Convention.

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GBTA teamed with Wish for Wheels for the Delta-sponsored GBTA Cares Service Project on Saturday. Wish for Wheels is a local non-profit with a mission of transforming the lives of kids from low-income families through the gift of brand new bikes and helmets.

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Over 100 volunteers worked in teams from start to finish to assemble bike after bike before handing them off to some very deserving kids.

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Volunteers were able to make a positive impact on children’s lives and develop new relationships in this charitable experience. kids for bikes 2 kids thank you

Learn more about the workshops, networking events and educational opportunities at GBTA Convention 2016 here.


Guest Post: BALANCING CONVENTION AND SUSTAINABILITY

*Kristina Weischadle, GBTA Sustainability Committee member, and the GBTA Sustainability Committee contributed the following guest blog post.*

GBTA’s convention is a big event with nearly 7,000 attendees from the business travel industry meeting in one amazing location each year. A lot goes into making this event happen and a lot goes out…meaning waste, water, electricity, food, plastic, paper…. which all equates to an impact on the planet. So how is an attendee to balance being a good steward of the earth while attending a top-notch convention such as GBTA? Here is a day in the life of a GBTA convention attendee with an environmentally conscious filter. Sustainability word cloud concept

It is the Friday before Convention and as I pack my business attire and comfortable shoes to walk the expo floor, I throw in my refillable water bottle. There are many refilling stations throughout airports and using my own refillable water bottle eliminates plastic bottles, which usually do not get recycled and will never totally decompose in the landfills they end up in. The water refilling stations are conveniently located for travelers in many airports, including Denver International Airport and at the Colorado Convention Center.

Revolving doors. They can be found in every building we access as we travel to Convention. Do they really work to conserve energy? You bet! Yet only about 20% of people actually use the revolving door according to a 2006 study by MIT graduate students. Believe it or not, the simple choice to use those spinning doors reduces energy consumption by as much as 1.5 per cent preventing 14.6 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air annually.

As I leave the airport, I look for a hotel shuttle or public transportation. Denver has a commuter rail line, the University of Colorado A line, travels between the airport and Denver Union Station downtown for $9. Union Station is located 10 minutes from the Colorado Convention Center. A taxi or shared-ride service from the airport to downtown costs about $40-60. GBTA also offers shuttles between the Convention Center and many of the area hotels. Check out the GBTA app for more information and schedules.

I have finally made it to Convention! GBTA has worked to make registration more efficient and less wasteful, with printing badges on demand, recycling opportunities and requesting that exhibitors print less and recycle unused materials. Balancing the information you need to make Convention successful with eco-mindfulness is an important part of planning each convention. You can even review all those wonderful education sessions you attended via the app.

On Saturday, I make my way to the main lobby of the Convention Center for the GBTA Cares Service Project and Wish for Wheels, building bikes for Denver area low-income children. Bikes are a wonderful way to travel around cities and what can be more inspiring than delivering a child their very first bike.

The expo floor is pretty amazing and knowing that it sits under a humongous solar panel roof makes it even more awe-inspiring! This 300kw rooftop solar array saves equivalent of 282 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to taking 53 cars off the road for a year. Whoa! Make sure you take a stroll down ICARUS Row and learn about how GBTA member companies are making a difference in their organizations.

Lunches at GBTA offer entertaining speakers, industry leaders discussing trends and chances to win once in a lifetime trips by supporting the GBTA Foundation through raffle tickets. Did you know that the Colorado Convention Center sources menus from local farms and producers as well as a 5,000 square foot urban garden managed by Centerplate. Blue Bear Farm can produce up to 5,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetable annually and jobs in the community. Doesn’t that chicken breast with roasted summer vegetables taste a little better now?

As the 2016 GBTA Convention comes to a close, I reflect back on all the people that I met, connections made, learnings and takeaways. Thinking about the actions I can take to decrease my impact on the world around me and how these small changes lead to bigger changes. Together, we can balance Convention with Stewardship!