Egencia is the world’s leading digital travel management company. With the backing of Expedia Group, the team has proven its value to customers for many years. GBT’s agreement to acquire Egencia, which we recently announced, is an exciting development for everyone involved. Of course, I must state up front that the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and consultation with employee representatives, but we are already planning for the future.

GBT’s strategy is to offer the best travel management solutions in every segment that we serve. In the global, multinational segment, we have built a strong position, delighting customers and growing our business consistently over many years. As part of our growth strategy, we identified opportunities to strengthen our value proposition for  customers and accelerate the growth of our SME business.

For example, we acquired Ovation Travel Group, a recognised leader in providing best-in-class, white glove service to premium clients. Their knowledge and experience strengthens our offering for this very important customer segment. Customers can be very confident that Ovation will continue to provide the high-quality service for which they have become so renown, while also benefitting from GBT products, technology and global presence.

Similarly, Egencia’s proven expertise in digital-first global travel management would bring a new dimension to GBT and further expand the choice and value we deliver to customers. The Egencia team and Egencia customers should know that GBT is fully committed to the Egencia brand, the platform and the people.  We are fully committed to investing in the platform, delivering even stronger content and experiences.

As part of this proposed deal, GBT would also be delighted to welcome Expedia Group as a shareholder. We already benefit from the powerful backing of American Express, Certares and some of the world’s foremost private equity investors. Adding Expedia Group as an investor is a real vote of confidence in our business, the opportunity ahead and the long-term growth potential of business travel.

Paul Abbott, CEO, American Express Global Business Travel

With more people getting vaccinated and growing more comfortable with the idea of traveling in a world with COVID, some companies are beginning to open up their travel programs and letting their employees take certain types of business trips again.

Whether you have been vaccinated or not, we recommend practicing safety precautions when traveling. Here are five top tips from our hotel strategy team that can help keep you safe and healthy. (And for a complete set of hotel safety precautions to take throughout the entire duration of your visit, from check-in to checkout, click here.)

1. It is very important to follow your company’s booking policy and to book within its designated channels so your employers know where you are. But consider what options are available to you. To limit your interactions and keep a distance from others, you may want to look at smaller hotels or nontraditional corporate accommodation, such as serviced apartments.

2. Avoid the front desk or handling key cards by using app-based mobile check-ins, virtual keys, and digital checkouts wherever available. Many properties don’t require that you stop by the front desk to check out. Consider calling down from your room prior to checkout and having your invoice sent to your email. Many properties offer these services and you can use them to your advantage.

3. Wipe down key areas of your hotel room. While the housekeeping staff is doing everything they can to keep your room clean and sanitized between guests, you can’t be too careful. We recommend traveling with cleaning wipes so you can wipe down key touchpoints in your room – including door handles, light switches, the thermostat, phone, TV remote control, dining menus, desk, and more – anywhere you’re going to be touching. And remember to regularly wash your hands and use hand sanitizer, even while in your room.

4. Consider removing any bedding that can’t easily be washed. Most hotels are in the habit of triple-sheeting the beds so they can easily wash all the bedding between guests. If your hotel has a bedspread or blanket, consider removing this from the bed so you aren’t in contact with an article that isn’t washed as frequently.

5. Limit your exposure to other hotel guests by spending as little time as possible in the property’s public spaces. You may want to opt for room service over hotel buffets when you can. And wherever you’re eating, always thoroughly wash or sanitize your hands immediately before you eat. But retain a sense of perspective – decent, responsible hotels will be taking extra precautions and following best practices, so you shouldn’t feel completely confined to your room.

Be sure you know how to quickly contact your travel management company (TMC), whether by phone, SMS, or in-app webchat, if your travel plans suddenly change or are disrupted. Your TMC should be there 24/7, every step of the way.

For more helpful travel tips, visit Travel Vitals™ to stay up to date on the latest travel information like travel restrictions and what hotel suppliers are doing to protect their guests before you step out the door.

The travel industry has always taken pride in its resilience. In the way it connects people and places. But the grounding of the global travel industry is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

We can’t control the uncertainty. We don’t know exactly when travel will take flight again.

As we move gradually towards a return to travel, let’s demonstrate that it is a force for good by posting photos and videos of the places we are most excited to visit and the people we can’t wait to see.

How do I participate?

Join us in showing the world that travel is a force for good by posting videos and photos of the places you are most excited to visit and the people you can’t wait to see when travel returns. These can be both work-related and personal, and the sky is the limit on how many photos or videos you share.

Follow GBT on Instagram and post your photos and videos to your Instagram story, tagging @AmexGBT and using #WithTravel. We’ll be keeping an eye out for your posts and will share them to our own Instagram Story. Check out the below examples for inspiration to get you started…

You can also post your images and videos to your Instagram grid, and to your other social media channels, including Twitter and LinkedIn. Make sure you tag @AmexGBT and use #WithTravel in your posts so we can find and share them – you’ll find us on both Twitter and LinkedIn.

Keep an eye on our Instagram page for other ways you can get involved in showing the world you are #WithTravel.

As we all show we are #WithTravel, we support our friends and colleagues across business and leisure travel in their efforts to drive hope for when it is safe to travel again:

Campaigns
WTO: https://www.unwto.org/news/stay-home-today-traveltomorrow
WTTC: https://wttc.org/COVID-19/TogetherInTravel

#HospitalityStrong
#TogetherinTravel
#TravelTomorrow
#TravelThroughMemories
#PostponeDontCancel

As we continue our celebrations of International Women’s Day we spoke to Sanghamitra Bose, our Singapore General Manager, about her commitment to the ethos of #EachForEqual, and the leader who inspires her.

What does #EachforEqual/collective individualism mean to you?

To me, it means challenging gender bias and gender stereotyping each day. This is not as easy as it seems. It requires mindfulness and conscious decision-making on things as innocuous as who walks in first through a door, or the chores you assign to your daughter versus your son. We have generations of conditioning to get rid of here. All of us as individuals, and collectively, have a role to play in going above and beyond gender.

Equality in the workplace is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. What steps are you taking in your role to contribute?

I am very proud and fortunate to work for an organization with a large female workforce as well as numerous female leaders. Our employment policies have a strong emphasis on diversity, as well as equal pay. Our benefits, whilst being gender neutral, are highly employee centric. For example, GBT has a work from home program for many of our employee teams, that allows young parents and caregivers of both genders to be a part of our workforce. I personally am a passionate advocate for gender equality, and am very happy to say that gender has never gotten in the way of getting a job done, in my team.

Who is one leader who inspires you in setting the tone for #EachForEqual?

I admire my leader, Jo Sully, VP & Regional General Manager, Australia, SE Asia and India. Jo is a strong female leader who embodies #EachforEqual in her work and personal life. Her leadership style promotes meritocracy and is free of gender bias. I have learnt how to “Balance for Better” from Jo.

As a Vice President in GBT’s Traveler Care organization, Maria Haggarty is responsible for ensuring our travelers receive the best service possible. This ethos is reflected in Maria’s commitment to ensuring diversity across her teams. Here she shares what ”collective individualism” means to her, and the leader that has always inspired her to be her best, and to do her best for others.

What does #EachforEqual/collective individualism mean to you?

I think it’s so powerful; individual actions for the collective good!

Equality in the workplace is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. What steps are you taking in your role to contribute?

One change I’ve made is in how I approach mentoring or sponsorship. The familiar model generally starts from the mentee’s initiation asking for a sponsor or mentor.  I’ve been working to flip the model by intentionally asking leaders if they would like for me to be their sponsor.  I think it’s really important for our rising leaders to hear “I see you. I see your potential. How can I be part of your leadership story? What can we learn from each other?”

Who is one leader who inspires you in setting the tone for #EachForEqual?

When I came into the workforce I had a very small lens in terms of perspective. Joining American Express changed my life.  Ken Chenault so clearly articulated the importance of diversity and talent. Over the last 20 years his influence has been the voice in my head inspiring me in how I see and build teams.  The impact has not just been how I lead at work, it changed the way I raised my two boys.  My hope is they are the strongest voices at the table carrying the banner that success for companies can only happen when your employees and leaders are a full representation of the clients you serve. 

As GBT’s Chief People Officer, Patti Huska holds a key role in advancing equality at GBT. Here she shares what #EachForEqual means to her, why equality is not just a women’s issue, and the leader who inspires her.

What does #EachforEqual/collective individualism mean to you?

For me, #EachforEqual goes hand in hand with accountability. It is a true commitment to doing your part to advance the cause, even when you don’t necessarily need to – it’s simply the right thing to do. It means avoiding complacency, especially when it might be easier. I believe that everyone should feel free to express his or her support for gender equity in whatever way resonates with them as long as they are doing something to move the needle forward.

Equality in the workplace is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. What steps are you taking in your role to contribute?

I am honored to be the Chief People Officer of the largest managed travel company in the world.  I feel it’s a core accountability in my role as a Human Resources leader to take action. Focusing on gender equity is a key component of our talent strategy, particularly around developing talent pipelines – it’s the right thing to do and it makes good business sense. In addition, I feel it’s important to pay it forward and advance gender equity for all.  It was with this commitment in mind that I joined the board of WINiT by GBTA. As an organization focused solely on driving positive change for the career mobility of women in the travel industry, WINiT is uniquely positioned to have a broad impact. By joining the board, I am excited to advance an organization that can help others, not only within GBT but across the industry.   

Who is one leader who inspires you in setting the tone for #EachForEqual?

An often overlooked element in the pursuit of gender equality is the importance of male allies. This is not say that women are incapable of achieving greatness on their own, but rather that with the support and encouragement of male champions, we will get there faster and, hopefully, feeling like a team.

I am fortunate to work for an organization that has so many leaders who are passionate about #EachforEqual but I must give special recognition to someone who has demonstrated time and again his commitment both in words and actions, David Reimer, GBT’s EVP of Global and Multinational Commercial Clients. At the WINiT Awards Gala last November, he won the award for Best Male Mentor or Coach, honoring someone who makes a determined effort to elevate women in travel-related industries. Doubling female representation at the VP level, increasing succession planning at the director level, and championing investment in his people through coaching, mentoring, and development roadmaps, David has set the tone for #EachforEqual and inspires those around him to do the same.

Happy International Women’s Day!

As the IWD website states, today is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

While today is a day to celebrate, every day is a day for action. The travel and tourism industry is uniquely-placed to champion equality and diversity in the workplace. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 2019 economic report,  one out of every 10 people in the world, in every country in the world, work in the sector.  As an industry, we have the opportunity to lead by example when it comes to helping women advance in their careers and to cultivate gender balanced teams and leadership.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion at GBT is integral to our success. As a global company, we know that to perform at our best as a team, our people need to feel free to be their authentic selves. We embrace and encourage different perspectives and believe we are made stronger by our unique combination of culture, race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and physical or mental ability. 

Some recent initiatives GBT is proud of include:

  • WINiT – GBT is a founding sponsor of Women in Travel (WINiT), an organization which serves as a catalyst to drive change, provide support and educate about the benefits of career development, visibility and promotion of women in the travel industry.
  • Recognizing and supporting women– At the inaugural WINiT Awards at the end of 2019, GBT’s Patricia Huska and Jennifer Charlton were named among the Top 40 Women in Travel, while David Reimer won the award for ‘Best Mentor or Coach – Male’.
  • Parity.Org – We are also proud to be a founding member of Parity.org, and voluntarily took the #ParityPledge toward gender parity at the highest levels of business.
  • Women of the World – WOW is an internal employee resource group for women and men who are committed to cultivating strong female leaders at GBT.

However, there is always more that can be done. Throughout the month of March, we’ll be talking to men and women from across GBT about what #EachForEqual means to them.

Keep an eye out on GBT’s social media channels – Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram – to hear how they strive to champion equality for women, and the leaders who inspire them to set the tone for equality.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world. Let’s all choose to be #EachForEqual.

Developed by GBT’s Global Business Consulting team, the Air Monitor is GBT’s annual air price forecast, backed up by analysis of the trends that are driving fares. The 2020 edition includes advice on how travel managers and buyers can build ‘nimble’ programs that help them respond effectively to change.

The Air Monitor 2020 is one of a series designed by our business travel consultants and analysts to help you optimize your travel policy and program.

To access the report, fill out the form below and then click on the “Submit” button. You then will be redirected to a new screen where you will be able to download the document.

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