- Category: Industry News
With the recent announcement by London Heathrow Airport that it would limit travelers to no more than 100,000 per day through September to combat crippling staff shortages, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is calling on the European Commission to prevent a roadblock to the travel industry’s recovery. This comes on the heels of the US lifting the pre-travel testing for US-bound vaccinated passengers in June, which was considered a big win for business travel. With London as one of the most popular destinations or through-points for international business travel, this announcement could impact its tenuous comeback.
“GBTA is calling on the European Commission to prioritize and expediate the needed safety background checks to help alleviate the pressure at airports. The EU must set policies and procedures in place for the future as a precautionary measure should the situation arise again,” said GBTA Regional Vice President Catherine Logan.
Despite the setback, business travel bookings have been increasing each month since restrictions were eased on international travel in 2021. According to GBTA, business travel is projected to reach pre-COVID levels of $1.4 trillion by 2024.
GBTA is doing a bit of traveling of its own as it heads to San Diego for its 53rd Convention this August 14-17. With the theme of (Re)connect, (Re)imagine and (Re)create, the association aims to reunite the global business travel community while looking ahead at the needs of travel buyers, suppliers, and business travelers.
The four-day event includes countless networking events (including its Welcome Reception, “Taste of San Diego” at Bayfront Park), State of the Industry, numerous professional development courses and education sessions (broken into tracks), and Expo floor hours—where many transportation companies in our space have displayed in the past. The event is attended by thousands annually from all over the globe. WINiT, the women’s organization that is a part of GBTA, will also hold the WINiT Summit on August 14. That morning, attendees are also invited to join the GBTA’s 4th annual 5K Run/Walk, which will traverse the sights of San Diego and benefit climate carbon off-setter nonprofit Cool Effect.
Registration and more information is available at convention.gbta.org.
Visit gbta.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
Earlier this year, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Uber for Business teamed up for a brand-new report—The Corporate Travel Comeback: The Evolution of Ground Transportation and Other Trending Business Travel Topics—which surveyed North American corporate travel managers.
The report finds that travel managers are focused on specific key considerations for their post-pandemic travel management plans. According to the data, 75 percent of employers are more focused on traveler safety/well-being, 55 percent on sustainability/social responsibility, and 53 percent on travel policy compliance/enforcement compared to the same time two years ago.
“As we’ve moved through the pandemic, business travel and travelers have changed and therefore company travel programs must evolve accordingly. This research puts a spotlight on some of the important and thoughtful considerations happening across companies and corporate travel departments when it comes to serving employees traveling for business moving forward,” said GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang.
Some key takeaways from the report:
- Rideshare and rental cars top the list. Most travel managers say their company’s employees “frequently” use rental cars (82 percent) and rideshare apps (70 percent) on work trips, but fewer than half (48 percent) say employees frequently use taxis.
- Most travel policies at least sometimes allow chauffeured transportation/black car service (74 percent), premium ridesharing (68 percent), and premium/luxury rental cars (51 percent). Roughly one-third say their company’s employees “sometimes” or “frequently” use chauffeured transportation (36 percent) or premium ridesharing (30 percent).
- Half of travel programs (49 percent) currently have a business account with a rideshare platform and one-third (35 percent) would consider it. The most important features cited by travel managers were reporting (76 percent), integration with expense platforms (69 percent), and ability to apply company policies (62 percent).
- An overwhelming majority (84 percent) say sustainability is at least somewhat important in the design of their company’s travel program, with 50 percent saying it is very or extremely important.
- 73 percent are tracking or considering setting up tracking ground transportation sustainability efforts. However, only 6 percent say their company currently allows employees to spend more on sustainable travel options, and an additional one-quarter (26 percent) are considering allowing employees to spend more.
- Ninety percent say employees are more (30 percent) or equally as interested (60 percent) in bleisure travel compared to pre-pandemic times. And although 36 percent say their company’s travel policy expressly allows bleisure trips, 49 percent their policy does not, but employees are often allowed to take these trips in practice.
GBTA members can download a full copy of the research report on the GBTA Hub.
- Category: Industry News
The American Bus Association (ABA) held the summer meeting for their Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) and Bus Maintenance and Repair Council (BusMARC) June 29-30 at the BWI Airport Marriott in Baltimore, Md. These meetings, which were held concurrently, are the major events for safety, maintenance, personnel, as well as government regulators. They attract motorcoach company owners, safety directors, fleet managers, government regulators, manufacturers, and associated vendors and consultants, as well as luxury ground transportation operators who have buses in their fleets.
“These meetings give operators the chance to focus on safety and maintenance. However, the primary focus on the BISC meeting was drivers—not just driver safety, but driver training, recruitment, retention, and taking care of the details of driver files to help folks prepare for their next audit,” says ABA Director of Regulatory Affairs Brandon Buchanan.
With driver recruitment a challenge for all vertical industries, a highlight of the BISC meeting was a panel discussion entitled Checking In with Driving Force, Recruiting New Motorcoach Drivers, and Addressing Driver Shortage. Driving Force is a program designed by members involved with another ABA council, Women in Buses, to tackle the nationwide motorcoach driver shortage by providing industry operators tools and tips to recruit and retain their most valuable assets: drivers. Among the panelists during this session was CD contributor James Blain of PAX Training.
“I think the Driving Force roundtable at BISC turned out great,” says Blain. “It was an opportunity for the Driving Force to share the resources that the team put together and find out from operators what is working for them. It really seemed like everyone involved was able to find something to take back with them.”
“We were excited at the chance to partner with BISC and host a session at the summer meeting,” adds Driving Force Chair Erin Ducharme of Bloom’s Bus. “We had the opportunity to speak to many operators on the challenges they are facing and what positive changes they are making to retain their drivers. The group was eager to learn about the tools we have put together and share their own experiences with us.”
Other highlights of the BISC meeting included a National Transportation Safety Board update, which explored accidents and what operators should be doing as part of their training and maintenance programs, and a FMCSA update, which gave operators a sense of what new regulations the agency has put in place in 2022.
The BISC programming also included two keynote speakers who each talked about aspects of driver training: Sylvester Giustino of the Commercial Vehicle Training Alliance and Mark Syzperski of On Your Mark Transportation.
“The meeting was very well attended, and the participants heard from a slew of industry leaders and partners,” says BISC Chairman Jeff Shanker. “Sessions were extremely well received and the interaction between the participants and industry experts was boundless! The closing session, Mentor Office Hours, was one of the highlights with a tremendous exchange of information from everyone.”
On the BusMARC side, Buchanan says highlights included a review of a new draft inspection bulletins, as well as site visits to operator Gunther Charters and parts manufacturer Johnson & Towers.
The ABA will hold its 2023 Marketplace in Detroit this February 4-7 at the Detroit Convention Center. Marketplace is an appointment-based show for motorcoach and tour operators and travel industry suppliers who want to expand their group tour and travel business.
Visit buses.org for more information.
Photos courtesy of James Blain of PAX Training and Mike McDonal of Saucon Technologies