The global business travel industry is back and continues to move through recovery as evidenced by the robust attendance and levels of interest and insights at GBTA Convention 2022, held this week at the San Diego Convention Center.

The industry came together to “(Re)connect, (Re)Imagine, and (Re)Create,” with more than 4,600 registered attendees including 1,020 travel buyers from more than 50 countries, 550 buyer companies and 250+ exhibitors. Fueled by a return to business travel, the event attracted significant numbers of first-ever attendees and new companies attending the convention. The evolution of the global business travel industry, future of work, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion were prominent topics as the industry moves forward post-pandemic.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to bring the industry together at Convention to celebrate achievements, recognize our members and volunteers and build momentum for the future of business travel. Our industry is back after a few challenging years and the value of the networking, collaboration and learnings gained from being together in-person cannot be underestimated,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA. “And there’s more to look forward to with our other GBTA events coming up around the globe including in Mexico City in October, Brussels in November and Bangkok in December.”

There’s still an opportunity to access the best of the GBTA Convention 2022 on-demand. Non-attendees can sign up for GBTA Convention Plus for on-demand viewing of the five Main Stage sessions, five Collaboratory Spotlights, and 15 education sessions.

Key highlights from GBTA Convention 2022:

  • GBTA unveiled its new brand on the Main Stage, including a new look and logo to represent the changes and future focus of the association. The new logo and tagline “Many Voices, One Purpose” represents the collective, global and diverse voices of GBTA’s members coming together to shape the future of the industry.
  • GBTA hosted its first-ever Sustainability Pavilion and presented engaging Green Talks on key sustainability topics and featured sustainability experts in the Green Village exhibition space. A dozen chief sustainability officers from the industry's largest supplier companies were among those educating, debating and networking. In addition to other “going greener” efforts, GBTA offset all carbon emissions from the Convention event and related staff travel for an estimated 835 metric tons.
  • The event featured 300 speakers including 90 educational sessions to provide attendees with information, insights and learnings across a wide-ranging number of topics including “Managing Travel’s Carbon Footprint,” “The Workforce Revolution,” and “Accounting for Inclusion: DEI and Cultural Fit.”
  • The WINiT by GBTA Summit, was a standing-room-only event which engaged, inspired and challenged industry professionals of all levels with the sole mission to positively ignite the careers and lives of women in travel-related industries.

Main Stage Sessions:

  • National Geographic photographer, Dewitt Jones, shared his vision of “celebrating what’s right with the world,” inspiring the audience with his photos and words to be open to possibilities and reframing problems into opportunities.
  • The Future of Work session kicked off with keynote speaker and workforce strategist, Seth Mattison, exploring the war for talent and the importance of attracting, developing, and retaining talent. This was followed by a CEO panel including, Bob Jordan, CEO Southwest Airlines, Chrissy Taylor CEO and President, Enterprise Holdings and Scott Wayne, CEO Envoy, for a deeper discussion around changes and trends that are influencing how the travel industry supports employees and customers, and the opportunities projected for the future.
  • Neufang reported on the newly released key data from the GBTA Business Travel Index™ and the 2023 Pricing Forecast along with key trends to watch. This was followed by a fireside chat with Robert Isom, CEO, American Airlines.
  • Cynthia Marshall, CEO, Dallas Mavericks, took to the stage for an engaging session - “Leading with Heart” - about her life and role as Senior Vice President of HR and Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T, her move to the Mavericks, her strategy for values-based leadership, and why putting people first matters the most.
  • Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber, sat down with Gehan Colliander, Global Head of Travel, Boston Consulting Group, for a discussion on his leadership in transforming Uber’s financial strategy, corporate culture, social initiatives, vision for sustainability, and his priorities in future innovation.
  • Sustainability keynote, Ryan Panchadsaram, Technical Advisor to the Chairman, Kleiner Perkins and co-author of Speed & Scale, discussed climate change and efforts to improve sustainability practices for the business travel industry focusing on what’s happening today and what’s on the horizon.
  • JoeBen Bevirt, CEO, Joby Aviation explored the rapid advances in transportation innovation and how advances in aerial ridesharing could benefit the future of business travel and clean air travel. This was followed by insights from the latest McKinsey research in a discussion with senior travel buyers from Cisco, Bank of America, and MGM (now an Amazon company) as they shared their views on industry-specific travel recovery, changing travel needs in an increasingly hybrid environment, and the latest on new technology and tools in the return to travel.

Industry forecasts, data and insights

  • GBTA released its latest GBTA Business Travel Index™ 2022-2026 (made possible by MasterCard) which revealed that although the global business travel industry continues its progress towards getting back to pre-pandemic spending levels of USD $1.4 trillion, recovery has hit some headwinds. Changes to macroeconomic conditions are impacting the timing, trajectory and pace of business travel’s recovery, both globally and by region, pushing the forecast for full recovery into 2026 instead of 2024 as previously forecasted. GBTA members can download the 2022 GBTA BTI* on the GBTA members-only hub. (The report is also available for purchase - reach out to [email protected] for more details.)
  • The GBTA-CWT Global Business Travel Forecast 2023 showed global travel pricing increases are set to continue in 2022 and throughout 2023. Rising fuel prices, labor shortages, and inflationary pressures in raw material costs are the primary drivers of the expected price growth, according to the report, which uses anonymized data generated by CWT and GBTA, with publicly available industry information, and econometric and statistical modeling.
  • A new study “The Evolution of Travel Program Technology” from GBTA and FCM revealed the latest tech trends and how technology has impacted the travel manager’s role, the traveler experience, and the TMC business.
  • During GBTA Media Day, 16 industry companies announced news and industry firsts, while the GBTA Broadcast Studio and Podcast Booth hosted 70 executive interviews from some of the leading and most innovative companies in business travel and beyond. (You can also view Convention photos here.)

Recognizing outstanding GBTA contributors

GBTA named its annual award winners:

  • Direct Member of the Year Award: Holly McTague, Senior Manager North America Travel, Halliburton
  • Allied Member of the Year Award: Hank Benedetti, Global Head of Corporate Sales, American Airlines
  • President's Award: Jenny Sabineu, Manager of Travel Services, Salesforce
  • Dave Hilfman Leadership Scholarship: Colleen Kearney, Global Corporate Travel Leader, Raytheon Technologies

GBTA announces election results

Association bylaws up for review were approved and three newly elected Board members who will begin to serve immediately for a two-year term are:

  • Direct Seat, Director-At-Large: Barbara Rose, Americas Travel, M&E Lead, Ernst and Young
  • Direct Seat, Director-At-Large: Sue Spear, Travel and Fleet Manager, Cengage Learning
  • Allied Seat, Director-At-Large: Kevin Sullivan, Senior Director of Sales, Southwest Airlines ​

Upcoming GBTA global conferences and events

GBTA Convention 2023 will be held August 13-16 in Dallas, Texas, and upcoming regional events in 2022 include:

About the Global Business Travel Association

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 members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers 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. Visit www.gbta.org and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook