2013 Global Business Travel Association Conference Pushes Boundaries Aside

August 7, 2013

The theme for the 2013 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) meeting is “No Boundaries”. This year’s show focused on how technology makes the travel industry a truly global market player.  And that theme was certainly present with more than 50 countries represented in the 7,000 attendees at the conference.

This year’s show, held Aug. 4-7 at the San Diego Convention Center, provided a solid platform for the industry to meet, learn and share. 

“There were more than 400 exhibitors covering about 130,000 square feet of exhibit space and representing every facet of the business travel industry, ranging from airlines, hotels and transportation companies to travel agencies and technology providers showcasing the latest technologies, tools and trends,” said  Liz Huh, vice president of operations – USA for GBTA.

She added, “GBTA Convention 2013 showed that people understand the importance of face-to-face meetings to make connections – giving the industry an opportunity to showcase products and services directly to influential business travel executives eager to explore the latest technologies, tools and trends in the market.”

Several first-time attendees reiterated the same thoughts. 

“As a first-time attendee and having both Canadian and U.S. hotel locations, I was very excited to attend and have the opportunity to meet and share information with many people in the travel industry,” said Amie Jansen, Canadian regional sales manager at Coast Hotels. 

First-time attendee Joyce Byington-Clark, Area Government sales manager at Holiday Inn agreed. “This has been a great venue to network and get in front of current and potential clients, and in the travel industry, that personal relationship is a key driver for success.”

Attendee Linda Phillips, vice president of operations for VIP Travel of Wooster, said the educational component and the certification are what brought her to GBTA.

“Things change so rapidly in our industry now with technology and consumer needs, and I attended this year for the educational sessions that will apply and help me adapt to those changes,” she added.

San Diego-born singer Jewel opened the keynote with great stories on travel and how travel shaped her songs and her outlook, giving the show attendees background on how she developed her lyrics for some of her greatest hits. She then serenaded them with stunning voice and acoustic guitar. 

Moving to the showfloor, the exhibitors brought in technology with some remarkable booths and demonstrations. With the educational sessions both on and off the showfloor, and so many participants on site, attendees were primed to learn and share.

Exhibitors also brought their educational game to this year’s conference.

“It is important as industry leaders, we bring content and ideas that will be provocative and matter to the attendees,” said John Tangredi, division president at Insperity Expense Management. “I am excited to be speaking again this year and bringing about conversations that impact the way we do business.” 

Booths were represented companies for rental cars, airlines, trip apps, travel agents, finance technology for business travel, technology for travel agencies, hotels and metamediaries (like Expedia.com).

As a key sponsor and exhibitor, Sabre vice president of Customer Marketing Kyle Moore liked the additions to the educational sessions.

“It was great to see an additional topic added just a few weeks ago on a point of debate in our industry. That responsiveness to current industry issues is what sets GBTA apart.”

Next year’s show will take place at the Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center July 27–30, 2014.

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