The 2022 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) annual convention was filled with heightened energy and optimism as more than 4,600 corporate travel industry colleagues gathered in person in San Diego, California, to network and celebrate business travel recovery. This year’s theme focused on reconnecting, reimagining, and recreating the future of business travel, with keynote presentations focusing on the evolving workforce and travel innovations.

ARC colleagues at the 2022 Global Business Travel Association conference.

ARC colleagues at the 2022 Global Business Travel Association conference.

Omnichannel's Growing Influence

One of the many takeaways from this year’s convention is that omnichannel is no longer a concept– it is in practice. Omnichannel retailing allows travelers to connect with airlines, travel agencies, travel managers and technology resources in an inclusive data-driven retail environment. The emerging omnichannel ecosystem is enabled by suppliers and adopted by corporate business travel and industry leaders.

Omnichannel retailing was on display when Business Travel News announced Visa’s Sr. Director, Global Travel & Events Sourcing, Kim Hamer, as their 2022 Manager of the Year. Kim was recognized for creating a multi-channel customized experience for Visa’s corporate travelers using new distribution capability (NDC), airline collaboration and dynamic data and technology platforms. She is celebrated as a trailblazer in the business travel community, paving the way for her peers to create similar customizable omnichannel travel programs.

ARC at #GBTA2022

ARC had more than 10 team members in attendance at the GBTA conference, including ARC’s Chief Commercial Officer, Steve Solomon, and President and CEO, Lauri Reishus, who participated in panel discussions around omnichannel retailing.

Airline Contract Management in an Omnichannel Worldsession panelists – needs to be cropped per our web specs

Airline Contract Management in an Omnichannel World session panelists.

Steve moderated the session, “Airline Contract Management in an Omnichannel World,with panelists Glenn Hollister from United Airlines, Joe Ondrus from FCM and Steven Van Overmeiren from Baker McKenzie. The group discussed how technology drives travel program innovations that address safety, traveler experience and sustainability needs. They emphasized the importance of timely data, including a nod to ARC Data Connect, in evaluating and improving airline contracts.

Comparing GBTA’s 2021 modestly attended conference to this year with close to pre-pandemic attendance, Steve commented, “The travel industry has rebounded, and it was exciting to hear customers share their business travel strategies with us. We were especially pleased to see corporate customers and industry partners share their success stories on stage and in the exhibit hall, knowing those innovative distribution and data solutions are enabled by ARC.”

Omnichannel: Helping You Navigate Industry Turmoil in the Post-Pandemic World session panelists.

Lauri was a panelist in the session, “Omnichannel: Helping You Navigate Industry Turmoil in the Post-Pandemic World,” with Janet Wyer from Stanford, Dorian Stonie from Salesforce, Greeley Koch from 490 Consulting and Caroline Mayr from Get Travel Solutions. They discussed the benefits of omnichannel retailing for the travel ecosystem, highlighting the need to give travelers relevant content in their itineraries and the option to book travel based on their preferences.

After returning from the show, Lauri was equally optimistic, “It was wonderful to reconnect with corporate travel colleagues and to bear witness to the achievements by forward-looking corporate travel managers and their partners to deliver better products and experiences to meet the needs of the modern business traveler. With airline seats full and newly energized by our time with industry colleagues and friends, we are returning to business with a renewed commitment to omnichannel innovation and transformation.”

This year’s Global Business Travel conference marked another step toward industry recovery. We look forward to connecting with our business travel colleagues in Dallas for #GBTA2023. See you there!