Business Was in Motion at Global Business Travel Association 2014 Convention
The Global Business Travel Association Convention (GBTA) focused this year on Business In Motion. Having the show at the Los Angeles Convention Center kept in line with that theme, and nearly 7,000 attendees interacted with more than 400 exhibitors. The attendance set another record year.
The show ran July 26-30 and hit the ground running with educational sessions that addressed the current industry trends.
“Business isn't just moving – it's accelerating. People traverse the globe more quickly than ever before, letting new ideas and knowledge propel them past yesterday's limits and toward tomorrow's possibilities,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO.
He added, “GBTA Convention is where travel professionals converge to learn about the latest ways to keep pace with the dizzying speed of industry advancement. Three hundred sixty days of the year, they all push forward as individuals, but during the conference, the dynamic members of our world's business travel community swap ideas and forge connections to accelerate as one.”
Another message in the educational sessions was the focus on safety and risk management for travelers.
Theresa Thomas, vice president of Travel Partnerships for iJet, said, “Safety and risk management are no longer an option in our industry. I counted no fewer than four educational sessions around this highly important topic. It is great to see how GBTA brings such relevant and needed topics to the forefront of their educational platform.”
Attendee Nikki Rogan, EMEA Travel Manager at Symantec, said she attended the event for all the education and information on the industry.
“I have been coming to GBTA for several years, and the educational sessions always provide the dialogue we need in the industry about upcoming issues and trends,” Rogan said.
“I come away with great knowledge and further discussions on those topics.” And her trek from the U.K. underlined the global aspects of business travel.
“Currently, Asia Pacific owns the largest share of the business travel spend market with 38 percent, followed by North America (21 percent) and Western Europe (24 percent). GBTA expects that by 2018, Asia Pacific will have gained another 5 percent in market share, while the US and Western Europe will lose three percent and two percent, respectively,” McCormick said. “This report underscores that China, along with the other BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia and India are leveraging their business travel expenditures into more economic opportunities. We expect to see this shift in business travel spending to continue.”
In addition to these trends, the continued importance of technology was seen throughout the show.
At the Hertz booth, senior director of Product Marketing Linda Senigaglia highlighted in her demonstration how the smart home concept has come to the auto rental experience.
“Technology has evolved so much and the level of enhancements in travel is moving so quickly,” Senigaglia said.
She added, “We have seen the importance of technology throughout the show, from the education to the exhibits to the conversations on and off the show floor.”
McCormick summed up the GBTA conference well. “There is no place like this that brings this many buyers and suppliers together in one place for the education and advancement of the industry,” he said. GBTA 2015 will take place July 25-29 in Orlando.
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