Looking back at GBTA Dallas Convention – Many Voices, One Purpose.
If you had the chance to attend this year’s GBTA Convention, held in Dallas, Texas, you’ll know that there were some striking differences in comparison to last year. We had the opportunity to attend after a long year of anticipation, and we were not disappointed.
For us, we’re still relatively new to GBTA, and had our first-ever attendance in San Diego last year. We had a lot of takeaways, loads of feedback, and went into GBTA Dallas with more confidence, feeling prepared to mix and mingle with fellow attendees.
If you missed us this year, we made a few changes to the booth. Since we were in Texas and we proudly partner with the Houston Rockets, we simply couldn’t skip bringing the basketball theme along with us. We set up a Pop-A-Shot hoop, which drew in plenty of visitors (some more than once), and whether they were a novice or seasoned vet, nobody left without a smile.
Our big prize for the top scorer of the day was a signed Gerald Green jersey and every badge scan was entered into a draw for roundtrip United Airlines tickets. #Amazing.
Our big highlights this year were:
A visit from a legend
Houston Rockets Legend, Gerald Green, brought his natural charisma and jaw-dropping hoop skills to the booth. Fans of the basketball star passed by doing double-takes, then stopped in to meet and grab a photo or an autograph. What an amazing addition to this year’s event.
Fragmented accommodation and the evolving needs of business travelers
Monday morning kicked off with our education session on Fragmented Accommodation, moderated by Cheyenne Randolph, Customer Success Team Leader @ Corporate Traveler. She spoke with Yon Abad, VP Corporate Suppliers & Distribution @ Flight Centre Travel Group, Ches Goodman, Minor League Assistant @ The New York Mets, and Gus Vonderheide, VP Global Sales @ Hyatt Hotels about the post-covid trends of longer-term stays, accommodation that feels like home, and how TMCs will need to adapt to be able to meet the needs of travelers in this new climate.
A few takeaways from this session were:
- Travelers want more flexibility with their work trips and want to be able to blend trips with their personal trips.
- Some long-stay travelers are now looking for apartment/house-style accommodation and to bring their families/partners/pets along with them.
- Businesses can balance this flexibility by building travel policies that clearly outline how to book blended travel. Be clear about what the company will and won’t cover, process of booking/payment, and if there is a cap on how many/how often/how long trips can be.
Supporting the Neurodivergent Traveler
We followed that session with a remarkable session called Supporting the Neurodivergent Traveler, led by Emese Graham, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager @ Flight Centre Travel Group Americas. Emese sat with Dana Folsom, Manager of Compliance DOT Disability Programs @ Delta Airlines, and Charlene Leiss, President @ Flight Centre Travel Group Americas, and the impactful discussion covered:
- Defining neurodiversity and the types of diagnoses that are encompassed in this group.
- How to make travel less scary for your neurodivergent travelers. How to incorporate inclusive needs into your travel policy.
- How to increase awareness in your organization and foster an inclusive environment in your company culture that enables neurodivergent employees to feel safe & supported.
C-Suite Conversation on NDC – From Turbulence to Transformation
The hot (albeit polarizing) topic this year was NDC. While not a new concept, NDC conversations have seen an uptick, and 3 industry leaders touched on the whys and why-not-yets of whether NDC is ready to be introduced.
While every speaker indicated that there are serious pros and cons of introducing NDC this early in the game (considering innovations in the travel industry tend to move at a snail’s pace), each seemed to agree that now is not the time.
There’s no doubt that GBTA is the event to be at for all things business travel, and this year was no different. There were so many great sessions, and we, unfortunately, couldn’t attend them all.
If you missed our session Startups & SMEs – You can’t buy travel like you buy coffee lead by Brett Lindsey, Director of Sales @ Corporate Traveler, don’t fret! Stay tuned for more info on an upcoming webinar we’ll be hosting with BTN.
See you next year!
If there's one thing we learned it's that GBTA Convention is the event to be at, it’s jam-packed with great content, innovation, and most importantly for us, connection. At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about? We’re already looking forward to next year’s event in Atlanta, GA!