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.  



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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!

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.

A Look into The Future of Travel Distribution

Day two of GBTA Conference 2015 Frankfurt in partnership with VDR began with for the first ever GBTA Media Briefing. Buzzing, energetic and full of conversation, international journalists had the opportunity to meet with a range of suppliers learning about the latest in business travel.


Back at Centre Stage, the day opened with a Presidential handover from Torbjörn Erling to Gehan Colliander, marking a new chapter for GBTA Europe.

Gehan said, “As a buyer, I value the GBTA membership and believe there is no other comparable association in the market in representing the buyer's needs.”

EuropeConference_Pres handover

Shortly after, Gehan, head of global travel for Boston Consulting Group, took her place on The Future of Travel Distribution panel alongside Rob Greyber, president of Egencia, and Oliver Quayle, SVP products, partners and marketing for KDS. Lotten Fowler, general manager of the Swedish Business Travel Association, moderated this panel with a focus on how the distribution eco-system is changing, how these changes affect each of the players in the chain and what impact this has on the corporate buyer and their travel programme. Data and how it can be leveraged was a hot topic, but Gehan warned that,  “we have to be careful about how we use data.”


Attendees also shared their thoughts on the panel over Twitter. Here are a few of their thoughtsl: EuropeConference_FODPanelTweets

Stay tuned for more exciting happenings from our record-breaking conference in Frankfurt!

Trio of Industry Titans Take Centre Stage For “A View From the Corner Office” at GBTA Conference 2015 in Partnership with VDR

Attendees at GBTA Conference 2015 Frankfurt were treated to a jam-packed afternoon Tuesday featuring top-notch, global information with sessions on Centre Stage highlighting advocacy, research, and industry insight from a CEO panel.

Building on the message delivered at GBTA Convention 2015 Orlando, ECPAT talked about its vision – a world in which no child is bought, sold or used for sex, and its mission – to protect every child’s basic human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking. GBTA is encouraging the business travel industry to adopt and implement ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, the only voluntary, industry-driven set of guidelines that focuses on the elimination of child exploitation and trafficking. Attendees signed our EPCAT wall in support.


Next up, GBTA VP of Research, Joe Bates, and HRS VP of Global Solutions, Jason Long, took the stage to share the findings from a GBTA Foundation whitepaper on expense reporting around the globe. The session acknowledged that regardless of region, industry or company, expense reporting is never a favourite part of the job. The presenters laid out current practices in expense reporting, detailed pain points and highlighted opportunities for improvement.

Finally, Tuesday’s Centre Stage activities wrapped up with A View from the Corner Office – The CEO Industry Outlook. Alan Rich, CEO of Chrome River; Bill Glenn, CEO of American Express Global Business Travel; and Patrick Diemer, Managing Director and Chairman of AirPlus International came together on stage. Moderated by GBTA’s Mike McCormick, these distinguished industry leaders provided their personal insights into the current state of business travel industry transformational trends such as big data, the rise of mobility, the sharing economy and developments in technology.


“We're focused on delivering value across the chain: corporation, travel manager and traveler," Glenn said. EuropeConferenceDay2_CEOPanel2

“All this data is useless if companies do not have someone to analyse it,” Rich added.

Sticking with our Conference theme of #SharingEurope, here are attendee thoughts shared over twitter on the CEO panel: EuropeConferenceDay2_TweetsCEOPanel

Stay tuned for more from day three at GBTA Conference 2015 Frankfurt!

Riding The Wave of Change with Brand Guru Dietmar Dahmen and a Record Number of Attendees

GBTA Conference 2015 | Frankfurt in partnership with VDR officially kicked off on Monday. Dirk Gerdom, President of VDR, and Christle Johnson, GBTA President, welcomed over 1,000 delegates. This record number represents a strong growth in delegate numbers and sponsor support this year, making it the largest and most diverse industry gathering of its kind in Europe. Europe_Opening_Christle

“The next days are a unique opportunity to become actively involved in the issues that are currently affecting, but also unsettling our industry,” Dirk told the audience as a preview of what is to come over the three-day conference.


During the official opening, Torbjorn Erling, Global Meeting & Travel Manager, IKEA Group and GBTA Europe Advisory Board Chair, was presented with the prestigious GBTA Direct Member of Year Award, previously announced at GBTA Convention 2015. Mr Erling’s leadership, passion and ability to think creatively has helped GBTA navigate the European business travel marketplace. Europe_Opening_Torbjorn

Next up, the energetic Dietmar Dahmen opened Centre Stage showing Frankfurt delegates his dynamic presentation, Riding the Wave of Change, looking at the nature of change and giving attendees strategies for how to adapt keeping their personal brands relevant to ensure future success. Dietmar told the captivated audience, “The real challenge is not the fight. The real challenge is the speed of the fight.” He challenged everyone to embrace change.


Sticking with our Conference theme of #SharingEurope, here are just a few of the tweets our attendees shared during Dietmar's lively session: EuropeTweetsDayOne

Business travel professionals recognize the importance of taking time to invest in education and in building their networks. The next couple days here in Frankfurt will give them the perfect opportunity to do just that. Stay tuned for the latest updates from Frankfurt.

Lufthansa CEO Named Featured Speaker for GBTA Europe Conference

By GBTA Events

Last week, GBTA and German business travel buyer association VDR announced that Carsten Spohr, Chairman and CEO of Lufthansa Group, will be a featured speaker at our joint conference this November at the Congress Center, Messe Frankfurt.


Spohr has served as Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG since May 1, 2014. In this role, he is responsible for the Lufthansa Group, which comprises the Passenger Airline Group, Logistics, MRO, Catering and IT Services segments and has around 117,000 employees worldwide.

As a Centre Stage Speaker at the Europe event, he will share his thoughts on the future of airlines and how they will relate to business travel, specifically focusing on Lufthansa’s strategy and plans for development. The business travel industry is experiencing another wave of disruption, and in the airline world one of the current drivers of this change is Lufthansa. Attendees will hear Spohr’s views on the outlook for his airline and its impact on business travel.

This marks the second year that GBTA’s annual conference in Europe has joined forces with German partner association VDR to create Europe’s foremost business travel conference and this year’s event is expected to attract more than 850 attendees from over 20 countries.