Business Was in Motion at Global Business Travel Association 2014 Convention

July 31, 2014

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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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.