Travel professionals from all over the world came together last week for the GBTA 2016 Convention – the largest gathering in the 48 year history of the association! Over 400 exhibitors were on the Expo floor showcasing what’s next in business travel. During the 5 day gathering, we noticed duty of care and technology’s impact on business travel were the primary topics of discussion among attendees and presenters alike.
Just in case you didn’t get a chance to attend, we thought you should know what you missed!
We saw a great deal of excitement in the air from the moment we arrived in the beautiful city of Denver. Kicking off the convention, an opening reception was held at the famous Mile High Stadium – home to the Super Bowl 50 Champions, the Broncos. This casual atmosphere was a great opportunity to socialize with other industry professionals and a perfect way to start this high energy event.
Sessions We Loved
Starting at 7AM, lively speakers awoke even the most bleary-eyed folks in the crowd. Professor Gregory Fairchild from University Of Virginia / Darden School Of Business explained tactical leadership in the session “Building a Winning Global Strategy.” Fairchild focused on brand positioning in a hyper-competitive marketplace where flexibility remains key. Understanding your position and capabilities within the competitive marketplace is vital to demonstrating value.
Bruce McIndoe, CEO of iJET International, presented the hottest educational session of the GBTA, “Managing Travel Risk – Take Control of Your Travelers’ Safety and Security.” McIndoe emphasized the importance of proactively testing risk managements programs. After establishing a process, testing the system with preparation exercises remains essential. Readiness exercises ensure your program is ready when a real life scenario occurs.
Speakers We Loved
GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick took the stage to interview TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. The TSA is often portrayed as an agency struggling with operational discipline and low employee morale. Neffenger sees these challenges as an opportunity to overhaul the perception of the agency. In the past year, Neffenger has focused on streamlining procedures and modernizing resources. The entire system has “been the same for a long, long time” said Neffenger and “we needed to get better.”
The newest program improving business travel was introduced by CEO of United Airlines Oscar Munoz. “Polaris” is the business first class product designed to improve travel for professionals. “The airline industry has made travel hell for business travelers. We need to do better to improve the air travel experience,” Munoz told the audience.
Legendary NFL Quarterback quarterback Peyton Manning also took the stage with his inspirational message that consistency is key in the face of adversity. As a leader, you should lead by your dreams and cultivate the same attitude in the people who work with you and for you.
Not to miss was the well known NASA astronaut Captain Scott Kelly. Kelly’s career as a Navy Captain and NASA Astronaut is record-breaking – he spent more time in space than any other American. Kelly said that despite his impressive career, he was not always destined to become an astronaut. The core of his philosophy is “having a large goal and achieving it by breaking it down into small, manageable steps.” Kelly also commented on duty of care, noting the many similarities between space and business travel, “Sometimes you have to prepare for a very unlikely scenario that could have a huge impact.”
The Expo floor was packed with over 7,000 attendees looking to find the next big thing in business travel. One big announcement from the floor was that JTB USA Business Travel is now a Concur Travel Management Company (TMC) Preferred Partner. The benefits of Concur’s preferred partnership status include advanced level integration. This high-level access to technology solutions delivers rapid ROI, bottom-line savings, and increased productivity. In the hands of an experienced TMC like JTB USA Business Travel, this translates into increased benefits for business travelers, travel managers, and executives.
As we bid farewell to the 48th annual Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention, we also reflect on all the wealth of knowledge that was shared, the new relationships we forged, and the interesting changes that were forecast.
Next year, the GBTA Convention will be in Boston, July 15-19. Will we see you there?