In the final TravelConnect Virtual Series episode of 2020, outgoing ARC President and CEO Mike Premo and GBTA Interim Executive Director Dave Hilfman sat down with ARC’s Peter Kane to share insight into their respective career journeys, highlighting successes, relationships and milestones they each celebrate. They also talk about the challenges they faced in their careers and challenges business travelers and the air travel industry faced in 2020.

Use the links to skip ahead to specific parts of their discussion or watch the full video below.

  • 1:25 Mike and Dave share their perspectives on the state of air travel heading into 2020 and how business plans and their personal plans changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 6:35 Mike discusses how COVID-19 continues to impact the air travel industry, where bookings and service currently stand, the timetable for recovery and where the industry’s heading in 2021.

  • 10:10Dave talks from GBTA’s perspective on what they heard from their members at the onset of air travel shrinking due to COVID-19 and how that evolved going into the second half of 2020.

  • 14:14 Mike shares his journey in the air travel industry, including his start as a reservation agent, his time at a TMC and the emergence of corporate travel business, leading Sato Travel, his time at Navigant and finally his tenure at ARC.

  • 23:00Mike dives into his initial objectives upon taking over at ARC and the shift to be more externally focused with products and engaging more with customers.

  • 25:03 – Mike talks about his proudest moments at ARC, providing insight into ARC’s investment in BlockSkye and how it changed the perception of ARC within the industry and led to more investment and acquisition opportunities.

  • 29:10 Mike answers a question about his bowtie collection when he retires.

  • 31:35 Dave shares his appreciation for Mike and his career.

  • 35:45 – Dave talks about accepting the Interim Executive Director role at GBTA and his approach to the association given 2020’s issues and challenges.

  • 41:15 – Mike shares his thoughts on Dave taking on the role at GBTA and the importance of the organization to the industry.

  • 42:13 – Dave talks about the current state of GBTA and discusses the GBTA Convention in 2021.

  • 44:11 Dave shares his appreciation for returning to the air travel industry in his current role and his plans afterward.

  • 46:03 Both Mike and Dave share their major milestones, key memories and meaningful relationship they made throughout their careers.

  • 51:10Mike and Dave talk about the biggest challenges and toughest moments.

  • they’ve faced outside of 2020, highlighting the industry’s response to 9/11, losing business and facing scrutiny in their previous roles.

  • 58:30Mike and Dave give advice from lessons they’ve learned in their careers, including the importance of showing initiative and a willingness to take on new projects, as well as how to engage with colleagues and customers.