Nov 30, 2016. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the voice of the global business travel industry – and German business travel buyer association VDR – wrapped up their third successful joint conference in Europe this week with record attendance. The event brought together over 950 attendees from 20+ countries for networking, education and top-notch speakers.
Featured speakers included international counter-terrorism and security expert, Hagai M. Segal. Hagai talked risk and security to the packed audience of travel professionals from across the globe covering everything from the impact of ISIS and Boka Haram to the current situations in Africa and the Ukraine, and more. He discussed terror threats to business travellers and focused on the different type of threat felt from numerous small, and seemingly random, attacks saying it has a major psychological impact.
GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick hosted industry leaders Mike Eberhard of Concur and Doug Anderson of American Express Global Business Travel at Centre Stage for one-on-one interviews. Eberhard gave his first European interview as the new President of Concur, sharing his thoughts on leadership, consumerization, duty of care and the future of the buyer role. Doug Anderson spoke about acquisitions, company culture, risk, mobility and the importance of diversity.
Grayling government relations experts Russel McCleave Patten and Richard Jukes took the stage Wednesday for a lively debate on Brexit moderated by Caroline Strachan of Festive Road. While the two had differing opinions on the matter, both agreed that now is the time for engagement and dialogue no matter what side you agree with.
Centre Stage was also the sight of two thought-provoking industry panels. The New Leaders of the Technology Revolution Unplugged featured some of the brightest and best leaders of technology startups sharing their perspectives on innovation in travel technology. The Industry Leader Distribution Outlook Panel featured C-level executives from across the industry sharing their views on industry consolidation, NDC, direct connect and other issues impacting the constantly evolving business travel distribution landscape.
Attendees were also treated to high-level education sessions covering from risk and data privacy to travel policy and more to help buyers find the right balance in their travel management roles.
Next year’s Conference will return to Frankfurt 28-30 November 2017.