Several weeks ago, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) held its first in-person convention in more than two years. While ARC data shows corporate travel down in recent weeks compared to 2019 levels, for the ARC team members in attendance, GBTA Convention highlighted the coming weeks and months as a pivotal time for business travel innovation.

ARC President and CEO Lauri Reishus with Delta Air Lines’ Shawn Cole (left) and Bob Somers (right)

Strategizing on sustainability.

International aviation is responsible for roughly two percent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), making sustainability a vital issue for airlines. With the pandemic bringing most air travel to a halt in 2020, airlines and organizations began to rethink their need to travel related to their sustainability initiatives. In the session “Let’s Get Real about Sustainable Travel,Anne Haugland of Shell offered one possible three-step approach for organizations: Avoid, reduce and offset. Similar multi-faceted approaches were discussed in other sustainability-related sessions, including how airlines can respond to companies reducing travel due to sustainability efforts. It’s clear there’s no single solution to address climate concerns, but the industry should work together to develop to address them.

That said, what are the major strategies being explored? One is to avoid GHGs through new energy sources, including wind and solar power. Airlines could also look to “inset” their GHGs by reducing them directly – this could involve new fleet and fuel approaches, as well as reducing deforestation. Finally, any residual emissions can be offset by companies or individual travelers providing funds to organizations and communities that protect the environment. “At the end of the day, travelers will do what is convenient,” said David Thorne, Travel Manager at T. Rowe Price. This makes it especially important for airlines and travel partners to modernize their sustainability practices.

Discussing what’s next for airline retailing and distribution.

In an ARC-hosted session, ARC President and CEO Lauri Reishus, DigiTravel Consulting’s Susan Lichtenstein and Salesforce’s Dorian Stonie covered the basics of omnichannel retailing and how an omnichannel approach can make a difference for stakeholder organizations across the industry. The trio spoke on this topic earlier in November during episode 13 of ARC’s Travel Connect Virtual Series.

In a separate distribution session, panelists talked about New Distribution Capability (NDC). “NDC is the foundation to build and use applications that enable the modern retail experience,” said Tye Radcliffe, vice president of product strategy at Accelya. Cornerstone CEO Mat Orrego mentioned that his discussions about NDC are no longer about what it is or why it’s beneficial, but about how to implement it. At ARC, we find there is still some confusion around what NDC means – but we’re here to help. To learn more about implementing NDC with ARC, visit our NDC webpage.

And, of course, catching up in person.

The day before the convention started, ARC was honored to participate in GBTA’s DEI Committee, a full day of meetings and team development that aligned with the group’s drive for inclusion and diversity in the travel industry. We also took advantage of the many opportunities to network on the exhibit floor and connect throughout the conference’s educational sessions.

A group of people sitting at a table

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