The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Podcast: Live From Berlin: The Future of Aviation

This week’s episode of The Business of Travel comes to you once again from GBTA Conference 2018 Berlin in Partnership with VDR. Hear the Airline C-Level Panel - The 2020 Vision On Aviation, which took place on Centre Stage during the Conference featuring execs from Finnair, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic sharing their thoughts on the future of aviation.  



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: Live From Berlin: One on One Interview With Konstantin Sixt

This week’s episode of The Business of Travel comes to you from GBTA Conference 2018 Berlin in Partnership with VDR. GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick interviews Konstantin Sixt of Sixt. The discussion focuses on the future of mobility, challenges facing ground transportation and the future of Sixt as a company.



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!

Making Expense Mobile

During GBTA Conference 2017 Frankfurt in partnership with VDR, Dan Fitzgerald of Traveldoo announced the launch of the company’s new mobile expense management app. Dan joined GBTA’s Mike McCormick at the Broadcast Studio to talk about the influence of B2C apps in the B2B world, and the importance of making things easier for the user.

He said they are seeing business travelers increasingly prefer a mobile experience for expense over a desktop one. Dan also discussed other industry trends and their impact on the industry, and left travel buyers with a piece of advice when it comes to choosing technology for their program.

View the full interview and hear his advice here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s Europe Conference conducted in partnership with VDR.

Dramatic Political Risk: An Unavoidable Reality

On Monday, international counter-terrorism and security expert Hagai M. Segal delivered the opening keynote at Centre Stage during GBTA Conference 2016 Frankfurt in Partnership with VDR. He called dramatic political risk an unavoidable reality in today’s world.


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.


When asked if business travel is safer or more dangerous now than it was 20 years ago, Hagai said in many ways it is dramatically safer, but that is because we have had no choice but to respond to repeated incidents.

What is a travel professional to do in a world where risk management is becoming an increasingly important part of their job? Hagai brought it back to the conference theme, balance. While terrorism attacks remain rare, we do live in a more risky operational environment than ever, but planning and preparing accordingly will help you achieve balance. He stressed making the case for literacy and ownership of risk management within a company, having adaptable and flexible procedures and constantly re-evaluating policy and strategy.

Hagai Segal’s keynote was not the only highlight from Day 1 of the Europe Conference. The day kicked off with GBTA Committee Meetings where industry hot topics and challenges were addressed. The First Time Attendees session gave newbies the opportunity to hear from the GBTA team and their industry peers about how to maximize their time during the Conference.

The expanded Expo was bustling allowing attendees to experience the latest products and services on showcase by top suppliers and industry insiders stopped by the GBTA Broadcast Studio to share their insight on challenges and opportunities in today’s business travel world.

Stay tuned to the GBTA Blog for more from this year's Europe Conference.

Opening Doors All Over the World

I love to take pictures - specifically, pictures of doors.  I have entire collections of doorway photos from India, Germany, France, UK, and now Prague, Czech Republic.  I have always been fascinated by doors, probably because I always find myself wondering what lies behind and in places like Prague especially the history of what lies beyond the door.   Most of us probably share that curiosity.

The pictures below are from my trip to Prague last week, where I attended the GBTA Europe Conference.  The event highlighted what GBTA does best: bringing together many global perspectives on the business travel industry as we open the door to the future.  The keynote speaker, Gerd Leonhard, author and CEO of the Futures Agency, focused on how social, local, and mobile technology is changing the way in which we obtain, digest and use information.  He expects the future to be characterized by a “digital default,” a networked society where everyone is connected and 80% of Internet traffic is through mobile devices.  His was a fascinating discussion and provided much food for thought on how these issues will impact our industry. 

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We are encouraged not to lose sight of the past or the present.  But more importantly, we can’t lose sight of the future.  Focusing on the future begs us to re-imagine what might or can be done.   An essential part of our role as travel managers is to re-imagine better ways to do what we do.  We should always be trying to figure out new ways of learning and growing -- for our companies, for our profession, and for ourselves.  The GBTA conference featured presenters from Google to IKEA, each with a different perspective.  These various points of view certainly pushed me to think about different ways in which I do my job and how I might handle new challenges as they arise.  Some dialogue may spur controversy but listening and learning all points of view helps us craft better outcomes.

To me, the conference represented the opening of doors.  I learned about things I didn’t know, and I thought about things I did know – or thought I knew – in different ways.  The more proverbial doors I opened and the more people I met, the more I realized both how different and how similar we are, regardless of where we live.  With this conference and its other activities, GBTA is opening doors all over the globe, enabling us to interact with and learn from our peers. As we come to know each other, the world becomes a smaller place – but not in a negative way.   We are getting closer rather than moving apart.  As an association, GBTA is better united than divided.  As an industry, we are better working together and learning from each other because we all face the same challenges. 

While at the conference, I had my own small world story.  I spoke to one of our attendees, Elizabeth Aston from Amadeus.  She is from Madrid but spent some time in Virginia, not far from where I live.  She mentioned that she had a close friend who had a sailing school in Irvington, Virginia.  I was familiar with that area so I decided to ask my Dominion colleague who is big into sailing if he knew Elizabeth’s friend. Low and behold, he knew Elizabeth’s friend, Arabella, very well.  So, we decided to take a picture together and send it to her. 

Elizabeth and I posing for a photo in Prague.

Elizabeth and I posing for a photo in Prague. 

So, here I am in Prague with Elizabeth who is from Spain and we take a photo to send to her friend in Virginia.  Now I plan to meet Arabella on my next trip to Irvington, Virginia. The world is small, but in a very good way.

We may not always know what lies beyond the doors we enter, but we are best prepared when we have taken the time to learn from one another. Below are some other photos from Prague.  It's such a lovely city.

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