The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Podcast: Critical Thinking, Intuition and Innovation

As part of GBTA’s professional development opportunities, we offer the Global Leadership Professional® (GLP) Program in partnership with the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. It is the only masters-level course for travel professionals, and the strategic curriculum uses an interdisciplinary approach that addresses both the opportunities and challenges of conducting business in today’s evolving environment.

GBTA’s Professional Development team recently hosted one of the GLP courses called Critical Thinking, Intuition and Innovation at our headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. As part of the two-day program participants learned methods to map out risks, rewards and varying outcomes to be able to logically assess the consequences of their choices and allow them to make more confident, profitable decisions, while creating better products, processes and services for their customers.

The course was taught by Robert Carraway, Associate Professor of Business Administration at UVA’s The Darden School. For this week’s episode of The Business of Travel, Professor Carraway joins us to talk about executive education, critical thinking and innovation.



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!

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

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

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



You can download and listen to The Business of Travel in iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and your other favorite podcast directories. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you don't miss out!

Podcast: Convention Preview Episode: All About Education!

For this week’s episode, The Business of Travel interviews GBTA’s SVP of Professional Development and Research Amanda Cecil to learn all about what to expect out of education at the upcoming GBTA Convention. Hope to see you there starting this Saturday - August 11-15 in San Diego!



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!

Message From the Office of the GBTA President

*This post was originally sent as an email to GBTA members.*

As the spring season begins, GBTA continues to build on the momentum of their initiatives and events. Below is a brief update on what is happening at GBTA.

GBTA Education
To ensure GBTA is the preeminent source of continuing education in the industry, we recently launched a Blue Ribbon Education Panel to evaluate and enhance GBTA's educational offerings. Comprised of industry leaders, the panel will determine what content is most relevant and how best to deliver it in a way that creates a personalized education experience and career pathway for travel industry professionals. We want to ensure that GBTA's educational programming takes into account the needs of all our members, regardless of their industry tenure, position or membership type. Stay tuned for more information on this.

State of the Industry
Seven years ago last month, we changed our name from the National Business Travel Association to the Global Business Travel Association. With that name change, we effectively broadened our mission from a domestic focus to an international, worldwide vision. Making that change was a momentous decision that has served us well. The business travel marketplace has become truly global in scope.

As the marketplace evolves, so too must GBTA. As I announced recently at the Foundation Gala, in the coming months, GBTA, the Foundation and all the regions will come under one unified brand. The holistic GBTA will support one global community with one global brand on our one digital platform. The core values and activities of the individual regions and the Foundation's cutting-edge research and world-class education will continue unchanged. This year we will be conducting a number of new research projects and member-sponsored studies. And, of course, we will continue to produce and disseminate our trademark spending and pricing forecast studies.

Why the change, you may ask. Creating a single brand will enable us to deliver a consistently high-quality, global customer experience to meet our members' needs. With this exciting move, GBTA will continue to be the preeminent industry leader in events, research and professional development.

Committee Highlight: Government Relations Committee
For this month's Committee spotlight we look at the Government Relations Committee (GRC). The GRC promotes the interests of the business traveler and their companies through advocacy on legislative issues and initiatives designed to minimize adverse impacts on the business travel community. The Committee advocates for improvements in infrastructure, fair taxes and fees, and facilitation of travel around the world including trusted traveler programs, among others.

Navigating the political field is not an easy job, so to help us learn more, the GRC hosts the annual GBTA Legislative Summit. The Summit provides attendees with an opportunity to meet with Senators and Representatives, hear from Administration officials and Members of Congress, and learn more about the issues facing our industry. This year's Legislative Summit will be held on June 4-6, 2018, and has moved to a new venue at the landmark Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown Washington, D.C.

The Committee has also kicked off its 12th Annual Government Relations Challenge which is designed to draw attention to business travel issues and to push for favorable legislation on a national basis. Each of the Challenge tasks help engage our membership in raising the profile of the business travel industry. I hope to see you all at Legislative Summit 2018.

Mexico: GBTA just concluded its 12th annual conference in Mexico City. The conference brought together attendees from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean to discuss the most pressing issues facing the industry. Topics covered everything from how to develop the best travel policy to the growing importance of Latin America for the airline industry.

Looking ahead: On April 16-18, GBTA will be hosting the Canada Conference in Toronto. This is the premier business travel event in Canada. Last year the event was sold out so don't delay in registering. On April 23, 2018, GBTA will be hosting the Brazil Conference in Curitiba. This is one of the most important corporate travel events in the southern region of the country. This event will feature educational sessions and networking opportunities.

We are celebrating GBTA's 50th Anniversary this year at Convention in San Diego from August 11-15. We'd like to hear about your favorite memories of past Conventions. Those memories can come in the form of pictures, videos, brochures or any memorabilia you may have of past events. If you have a great memory of your first Convention or a stand-out Convention, we want to hear about it. We have created an easy way to submit those memories, just click on this link. GBTA Convention will be here before we know it. I can't wait to see you there.

As always, thank you to our members for your continued support and commitment. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have.


Navigating the Ever-Changing World of Corporate Travel

Navigating the ever-changing world of corporate travel can overwhelm even the most seasoned travel professional. From artificial intelligence to the sharing economy to cryptocurrency, myriad factors play a role in shaping the industry, and, in turn, how your organization operates and manages its travelers.  

Staying updated on the latest trends, changes, and progressions in the industry is essential for any organization looking to grow. At GBTA Conference 2018 - Toronto, we’ll be discussing the biggest trends expected to impact managed travel through varying education session topics, including:


Tech Trends 2018

Tech Trends 2018 will focus on the Canadian corporate travel market. This panel of travel and technology experts will square off in a session to discuss the hottest technology trends expected to impact managed travel in the coming year from Artificial Intelligence to the Future of Payments.


Beyond Business: The Impact of Business Travel on the Canadian Economy and Jobs

Have you ever thought about how business travel contributes to more than just your company’s bottom line?When businesses send workers on the road, jobs are created, sales and taxes are generated and the national economy grows. This session will provide highlights from the study on the economic contribution made by business travel to the overall Canadian economy – a GBTA Foundation research, based on the Economic Impact of Business Travel in Canada study


Gender, Ethnicity, Sexuality, Travel Risks – Is your program as diverse as your expats?

This presentation is designed to provide Canadian business leaders who manage expats and have cross-border relationships, with the necessary insight to manage and implement effective employee mobility and support programs for victims of racism, discrimination, harassment and assault during their stay in Canada and/or while abroad.


The A, B’s and C’s (A.I. ~ Bitcoin ~ Cryptocurrency) of Today and their Impact on Business Travel

This panel session of experts will provide the current day landsape of today’s hottest topics, Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency. Understand what they are and how they are going to impact Canadians in general and business travel as we know it today.


Adapting the Business Hotel for the Age of the Sharing Economy

The rise of the sharing economy has not only introduced a range of new competitors to the global travel industry but has also fundamentally changed the way customers choose their destinations, accommodations and experiences. While hotels have attempted to fight these alternate lodging providers through legislation that restricts short-term home rentals – and indeed Canadian territories have been quite successful in this regard – the sharing economy will ultimately prevail. With brand loyalty waning amongst the next generation of corporate travelers and guest expectations continuing to rise, hoteliers must confront this universal challenge with innovative programs and a rediscovery of their inherent strength.


Balancing Compliance with Self-Reliance

Today's travelers demand a level of autonomy when making decisions about business trips. At the same time, the success of a corporate travel program rests on analyzing data and analytics to leverage market share with preferred suppliers. Most travel managers today get the reports they need to implement a strategic program, yet many struggle to create a step by step business plan. In this session we will examine how travel managers can reconcile compliance and self-reliance from planning to bench-marking to duty of care to expense.


Additional education session topics can be found here. Don't miss out on Canada's largest business travel event! Attendee registration for GBTA Conference 2018 - Toronto is open now. Register by March 22, 2018 for up to $200 CAD in savings.

Message from the Office of the GBTA President

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

Dear GBTA Member, I recently had the honor of attending the GBTA Foundation Gala and celebrating the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary. The gala highlighted the groundbreaking research the Foundation has conducted on behalf of the industry. That research has made the Foundation a global thought leader in the business travel industry. Its insights and assessments have been invaluable to GBTA’s members, business travel professionals around the world and the industry as a whole. I can’t imagine where we would be without the Foundation’s work.

The Foundation’s research provides the basis for much of the cutting-edge educational programming that GBTA offers. We draw upon the Foundation’s work to develop and deliver high-quality training to power the careers of business travel professionals at every level.

I want to highlight some of GBTA’s upcoming and ongoing educational opportunities.

Global Leadership Program (GLP) The Gala Dinner was held in conjunction with the delivery of the new GLP course through the University of Virginia’s Darden School Foundation. The first delivery, Strategic Data-Driven Business Leadership, was a two-day Executive Education program that focused on quantitative information, analytics and design thinking to promote superior strategic insights, enduring customer relationships, the development of iconic brands and the delivery of peak performance.

The second GLP course, Critical Thinking, Intuition and Innovation, will be held on July 15-16 in conjunction with GBTA Convention. The third GLP course, Enterprise Leadership, will be held September 10-12 in Minneapolis and the final course, Finance for Non-Financial Executives, will be held November 12-14 in Chicago. For more information, or to register, please click here.

The GLP Designation Program Kick-off  will be held on July 15-16 at Convention.

Online Education
We have already delivered over 20 webinars and it’s only May! View the calendar of upcoming webinars and visit the GBTA Hub to view archived webinars.

Education at Convention
In addition to more than 80 education sessions offered at Convention, you will have the opportunity to take the Fundamentals of Business Travel Management and Advanced Principles of Business Travel Management courses.

GBTA will also be launching a new program highlighting our GBTA Tools and Resources, with demonstrations of our various RFPs, reports and benchmark and assessment tools.

Global Education
GBTA continues to offer on-going education in all regions of the world. It amazes me that we are so prolific in our offerings and opportunities. We offer everything a business travel professional needs and wants. Consider the great work being done in India. We have already conducted 3 sessions of our Business Travel Workshop Series in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Gurgaon. We will be offering two other sessions in India in the coming weeks in response to the great demand we are seeing in the country.

We have recently announced two new conferences there as well—the first in New Delhi on August 18 and the second in Mumbai on October 6th.

I encourage each of you to take advantage of the many, many educational opportunities provided by GBTA. You will benefit greatly from your time and effort.      

December Message from the Office of the GBTA President

*The following message was originally sent as an email to GBTA Members.*

In the United States, we recently celebrated Thanksgiving, a time when we can take stock of all our many blessings. I continue to be thankful for the honor and privilege to serve as President of GBTA, and for all of the work that GBTA and its many volunteers have done in support of the business travel industry. This organization has become a global leader in education and research while making things easier, safer and more efficient for the business traveler. I am grateful and proud of all that GBTA has accomplished.

I would like to take a moment to highlight some of GBTA’s key accomplishments thus far in 2016.

GBTA has always been the preeminent provider of continuing professional development and training for the business travel community. To that end, we have made many enhancements in our top programs.

Five years ago, we launched the Global Travel Professional® (GTP) Certificate program, a first-of-its-kind certification program for business travel professionals. Since then, almost 600 professionals have completed the program and earned their accreditation. Our number of course offerings continually grows as we offer the GTP throughout the world, so professionals can advance their careers.

We have two new GTP enhancements for 2017. First, we will be providing an online platform for the recertification process. It will include a tracking portal for recertification credits, making it easier for members to keep up with their accomplishments. Second, we will be offering practice exams as part of the overall study process.

In addition to these improvements, we are currently working on a massive update of content for the GTP exam and the study material. We have surveyed more than 5,000 business travel professionals to ensure we are capturing changes and maintaining the best and most important information within the industry.

These enhancements build on multiple updates and improvements we made this year.

This year, in response to member feedback, we also made enhancements to the Global Leadership Professional® (GLP) program, a hallmark of the GBTA Academy for more than 15 years. The GLP Program is the only masters-level course for travel professionals. It uses an interdisciplinary approach that addresses both the opportunities and challenges of conducting business in today’s environment. We modified the program format into four two-day courses, adding deep dives into specific competencies. With this change, the participant has more control over his or her participation in the program. These changes in the program also resulted in a pricing structure that makes the GLP program more affordable.

GBTA continues to tailor our educational offerings to meet the needs of our members. This year, we offered nearly 80 different webinars that collectively attracted more than 4,000 member participants. The webinars reflect our ongoing goal of delivering the highest level of professional development, while remaining sensitive to the ever-increasing demands on your personal and professional time and budget.

We continue to maintain a robust research division, which has completed almost 110 research studies this year on wide-ranging topics affecting all aspects of business travel. We completed two new, groundbreaking studies that we unveiled in Frankfurt: Policy and Preferences from The Business Traveler’s Perspective and What’s Next for Booking Channels.

We make our research accessible and publicize it as widely as possible. It has helped shape dozens of GBTA education sessions throughout the world and has been referenced in thousands of articles appearing in print and social media across the globe.

Unlike much research, ours is designed to generate practical applications. Driven by our research findings, we recently introduced two newly revamped global resources to increase efficiency within the industry.

The first is our Sustainability in Travel Self-Assessment Tool. It will enable organizations to identify strengths and weaknesses in their travel programs with regard to sustainability. The tool will also provide recommendations and identify specific resources for improving sustainability. It is designed to transform the entire process of planning and implementing a robust sustainability program. It is easy to use and can be completed either all at once or section-by-section.

Our second resource, our new and improved Managed Travel Index, helps travel professionals benchmark the effectiveness of their managed travel program. It is customizable to a specific program based on information the user provides. Like an expert consultant, it reviews an individual travel program and identifies specific ways to make it better. It is also available in several languages.

These are just some of the ways that GBTA continues to respond to the ongoing changes in our industry. We remain committed to addressing the needs of our members – both buyers and suppliers – and ensuring that they have the tools necessary to succeed.

GBTA offers events literally all over the world. Attendees gain access to the best research and knowledge in the industry, and they benefit from an unparalleled opportunity to network with their industry peers. We offer specific industry sector events, from the Energy, Resources & Marine Symposium (ERM) to Supplier Summits to regional conferences and symposiums. There are simply too many to list them all.

In early March in Miami, we launched a new event—The Masters Honors Summit and Gala. There, we honored a group of GBTA members who are among the most engaged travel professionals in the industry. The program was our way of publicly thanking these individuals for their time, expertise and commitment both to business travel and to GBTA.

Later in the year, we celebrated milestone anniversaries with our regional conferences in Buenos Aires and Mexico. We continued to expand our activities in Europe and North America. I am both amazed and intensely proud of the success of our programming in Canada and Europe. In both areas, GBTA’s annual event continues to be the largest business travel conference in the region.

I attended the Europe Conference in Frankfurt in November with a record-breaking nearly 1,000 attendees. We were treated to some excellent featured speakers including international counter-terrorism and security expert Hagai M. Segal, Concur President Mike Eberhard, and American Express Global Business Travel CEO Doug Anderson, among others. The education sessions were relevant and thought-provoking, and the Expo floor was bustling.

Last but certainly not least, we celebrated another successful Convention. It was our biggest and best yet, with more than 6,500 attendees, and for the first time, a completely sold out exhibition floor. More than 80 education sessions covered topics ranging from best practices in duty of care to the impact of technology on the business travel industry. We heard from incredible speakers, including United’s Oscar Munoz and TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. We had a front row seat to exciting panel discussions, and our featured speakers – actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and astronaut Scott Kelly – did not disappoint.

I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for us. Until then, I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year!

Best wishes,
Christle Johnson
GBTA President

The Future of GBTA Education in China

In July of 2014, the GBTA Foundation announced the “Gift of Knowledge” initiative in China to bring industry-leading education to this rapidly growing market. As the world’s largest business travel market, there was a clear need for innovative, comprehensive education for business travel professionals in China. Through a collaborative partnership with a leading Chinese educational institution and visionary leadership from our Gift of Knowledge sponsors, the Foundation worked to deliver on its mission.

In the past twelve months, we have conducted nine workshops with an average of 55 attendees per session in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu. It has been a highly successful program and one that we were committed to continue. However, forces outside of our control are causing us to put an immediate hold on the future business activities, including the “Gift of Knowledge” initiative in China.

In April, the Chinese government announced it had passed new regulations slated to take effect on January 1, 2017, causing uncertainty for many foreign non-profit organizations operating in the region. We are currently awaiting further guidance on how to meet these requirements along with other organizations who will be impacted.

There is no grace period allowed for meeting the new requirements, which include needing to rent local office space, receiving pre-approval for business activities and formally partnering with a Chinese organization.

Until the new operating requirements are fully understood, we are unable to make commitments for our future education programs in China. We hope to be able to continue in the future, but until we receive further guidance on how to operate within the new regulations, we will delay further efforts.

We look forward to the Chinese government providing guidance concerning these new regulations as soon as possible, so that we can resume operations in China. We will keep working toward this effort in hopes that we will find a resolution and can continue producing quality education programming to continue to elevate the business travel profession in China.

GBTA Foundation Continues to Deliver Quality Education for Travel Professionals Across Latin America

The GBTA Foundation just wrapped up the successful delivery of its Fundamentals of Business Travel Management course at the Belo Horizonte Othon Palace Hotel in Brazil. The event was made possible by the support of GOL Airlines. As part of an innovative and comprehensive program to further develop the travel management profession in Latin America, the Fundamentals course is designed as a guide to cover the key facets of managed travel.


The Fundamentals curriculum includes a full range of basics – safety, policy, trends, performance and more. Participants in this course gain a career boost and a better understanding of business travel management. Specific topics addressed included an overview of travel management, travel technology and managing the relationship with suppliers. Nearly 20 participants engaged in sharing best practices for travel management finding it a productive and informative day that also allowed them to build their networks with others on both the buyer and supplier side.


GBTA was pleased to welcome many participants from the Travel Managers Group of Minas Gerais State (GVMG) – an industry group that has been very active in supporting our last two GBTA Conferences in Brazil as well.

Photo Courtesy of GVMG

Photo Courtesy of GVMG

Education is a key component of the GBTA Foundation’s efforts to help boost the business travel profession in Latin America. We are excited to be able to offer another Fundamentals course next month in Curitiba on December 12. Due to high demand, we are working with our sponsor GOL Airlines to schedule two more Fundamentals courses in the first half of 2017 in Goiania and Fortaleza. Stay tuned for more info!

Risk, Mobility and Consumerization Were the Hot Topics of GBTA Conference 2016 Frankfurt in Partnership with VDR

GBTA, VDR Wrap Successful Event With Record Attendance

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and German business travel buyer association VDR – wrapped up their third successful joint conference in Europe this week with record attendance. The event brought together over 950 attendees from 20+ countries for networking, education and top-notch speakers.


Featured speakers included international counter-terrorism and security expert, Hagai M. Segal. Hagai talked risk and security to the packed audience of travel professionals from across the globe covering everything from the impact of ISIS and Boka Haram to the current situations in Africa and the Ukraine, and more. He discussed terror threats to business travellers and focused on the different type of threat felt from numerous small, and seemingly random, attacks saying it has a major psychological impact. day1-wrap-pic-1-hagai

GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick hosted industry leaders Mike Eberhard of Concur and Doug Anderson of American Express Global Business Travel at Centre Stage for one-on-one interviews. Eberhard gave his first European interview as the new President of Concur, sharing his thoughts on leadership, consumerization, duty of care and the future of the buyer role.  Doug Anderson spoke about acquisitions, company culture, risk, mobility and the importance of diversity. eberhard anderson

Grayling government relations experts Russel McCleave Patten and Richard Jukes took the stage Wednesday for a lively debate on Brexit moderated by Caroline Strachan of Festive Road. While the two had differing opinions on the matter, both agreed that now is the time for engagement and dialogue no matter what side you agree with. brexit

Centre Stage was also the sight of two thought-provoking industry panels. The New Leaders of the Technology Revolution Unplugged featured some of the brightest and best leaders of technology startups sharing their perspectives on innovation in travel technology.  The Industry Leader Distribution Outlook Panel featured C-level executives from across the industry sharing their views on industry consolidation, NDC, direct connect and other issues impacting the constantly evolving business travel distribution landscape.

Attendees were also treated to high-level education sessions covering from risk and data privacy to travel policy and more to help buyers find the right balance in their travel management roles. Next year’s Conference will return to Frankfurt 28-30 November 2017.