Industry Research

Duty-Of-Care Dominates Topics AT GBTA Convention

Posted on July 21, 2016

DENVER, Col. –- Risk, duty-of-care and technology’s effects on business travel were the predominant themes throughout the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)'s annual convention July 16-20 that drew 6,587 travel professionals and industry leaders.

The convention was the highest attended in GBTA history, and one of the largest gatherings of travel professionals in the world. The completely sold out Expo floor featured more than 400 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and services in business travel. Next year’s Convention will be held in Boston on July 15-19, 2017.

CNN’s fiery Richard Quest moderated a discussion on the future of ground transportation between David Baga, Chief Business Officer of Lyft, and Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El / Boston Coach Chauffeured Transportation Network. Duty-of-care, fair wages for drivers and safety based on background checks seemed to be where the traditional ground transportation companies make their strongest arguments. Transportation network companies (TNCs), on the other hand, point to their high demand and successful business model to argue travelers have made their decision.

Featured speakers included United CEO Oscar Munoz who candidly assessed his airline, air travel in general and what United is doing to improve and innovate air travel for business passengers.

“The airline industry has made travel hell for business travelers," Munoz told the audience. "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.”

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger also took the stage for a one-on-one interview with GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. Often maligned as an agency struggling with operational discipline and low employee morale, 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 the TSA wasn’t performing great,” Neffenger said. “This last year we focused on three areas of improvement. We needed to get better, be better with our resources, and change the system, which had been the same for a long time.”

With the rapid growth in mergers and acquisitions of some of the best-known brands in the air travel, lodging and ground transport sectors, GBTA Convention 2016 featured a Center Stage panel discussion among experts on the topic of consolidation. Moderated by Guy Langford of Deloitte & Touche LLP, the panel included Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and Founder, Cvent; Dara Khosrowshahi, President and CEO, Expedia, Inc.; and Kevin Frid, COO of Accor Hotels. The panelists agreed that with a healthy and robust reliance on technology, and the continued environment of low borrowing and easy access to capital, consolidation will be among the biggest drivers shaping the business travel landscape for years to come.

Among big name keynoters, actress and comedienne Julia Louis-Dreyfus - known for her iconic characters Selina Meyer from HBO's VEEP, Christine Campbell from The New Adventures of Old Christine and Elaine Benes from Seinfeld - delighted the GBTA Convention audience during her interview with surprise TV reporter Soledad O'Brien. Legendary NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning inspired the audience saying as a leader you should lead by your dreams and cultivate that same attitude in the people who work with you and for you.

Captain Scott Kelly might have more frequent flyer miles than any other business traveler history. As a Navy Captain and NASA astronaut, Kelly has spent more time in space than any other American, including his record-breaking year at the International Space Station. Despite his impressive and accomplished career, Kelly was not always destined to become an astronaut. He was able to reach his goal by "having a large goal and achieving it by breaking it down into small, manageable steps." Captain Kelly also believes there are many similarities between space travel and business travel. "If you don't try to make things better - even a little bit - they are going to get worse... Sometimes you have to prepare for a very unlikely scenario that could have a huge impact."

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 8,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA and the GBTA Foundation deliver world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts.

To learn how business travel drives business growth, visit

Source: GBTA press release

Related Topics: business travel, corporate travel, duty of care, GBTA, Global Business Travel Association, Lyft, passenger safety, procurement, Scott Solombrino, TNCs

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