Travel Times Newsletter

Travel Times 2020 -Sept/Oct Print

President's Report

Written by Jan Shoemaker
Sarah Hill - Delta KLM Air France Alitalia

This is a time like no other in our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to produce uncertainty and stress in the travel industry.  By now, we have all been impacted by this virus, which has been devastating for so many.  Despite the challenges we all are facing every day, this is also a time that is bringing out the best in many people. 

Change is happening in real-time, but the one thing that remains constant is GBTA North Central’s commitment to serve our members now and in the future.  The health and safety of our members and guests is our top priority. 

In May we held our annual Board of Directors Elections.  I would like to thank all candidates in the 2020 election.  Our election resulted in new board members and current members who extended their term in a new role.  The three new board members with a two-year term to begin January 1, 2021 are Rex Heineman, General Mills as Direct Representative and Megan Boosalis, Sheraton Bloomington Hotel and Greg Bashaw, Intercontinental Minneapolis St. Paul as Allied Representatives. 

Current board members who are extending their term are Kari Bigot, ALTOUR as President Elect, Valerie Barnes, U.S. Bank as Direct Vice President, and Bonnie Parlin, The Toro Company as Direct Representative. 

There have also been two changes to the Board of Directors.  Sandy Swenson has retired from Delta Air Lines.  Toni Denardo will assume her role as Allied Vice President through 2022.  Mike Kresbach has resigned from his position.  We are in the process of filling the open board position.  If you are Interested in joining our Board of Directors, please reach out to me at [email protected]

In August, we held our Board of Directors Strategic Planning Meeting where current and new board members attended a long-range planning session.  We discussed successes & opportunities, reviewed best practices, and established next year’s budget.  As a member, you should be proud that our Board of Directors has a fiscal responsibility with the Chapter’s finances.  Education is a core pillar of our Chapter and we are dedicated to ensuring our membership has the tools and skills needed to be the best.  Please let our Monthly Program team know of any speakers or topics you feel would benefit our membership.  

Our next virtual monthly meeting will be on November 12 with Keynote Speaker Tyler Enslin, Owner, Tyler Enslin International.  Tyler will present Remaining Positive in Times of Crisis.  Registration is now open.  To close 2020 programs, on December 10 we will host a virtual Education Summit.  The Education Summit team has created a great agenda.  Speakers will present on Travel and Security, Travel Risk, Travel Manager Challenges & Changes Post COVID-19, and our Keynote Speaker Kat Perkins on Fearless.  To register for Education Summit, click registration.

As mentioned in previous communications, we will continue with complimentary monthly virtual meetings through March 2021.  Pending circumstances at that time, we plan to host an in-person meeting in April.  Information to follow with all monthly program registration details. 

With the continued developments of COVID-19 and the effect to our industry, GBTA North Central will advise should any additional changes become necessary.  I hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and well during this time. 

Let’s band together and support one another. We appreciate your understanding, trust, and patience.  If I can be of help in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Jan Shoemaker
GBTA North Central Chapter President

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Meeting Recap

September Meeting
Written by Jennifer Vogt

Rebuilding in Today’s Environment

Why is rebuilding important? And how does trust play a part? These are the questions that Will Tate and Charlie Mitchell from GoldSpring Consulting examined during their discussion Rebuilding in Today’s Environment.

Will Tate began the discussion by analyzing the current environment. Recently we have seen a transition from customer service experience being a top priority to safety now being the top priority. The goal here is to keep employees safe while traveling. Secondly, employees are working from home. We will not begin to see travel increase until we start to see more people return to the office. This is the key metric to watch for. In addition, there are so many unknowns and since safety information changes as frequently as week to week this makes it more difficult to build a safe way to travel. And while hotels and airlines are doing their best to build confidence, most travelers are not confident with traveling at this time. In regards to meetings, it is not expected to see a pick up in large gatherings until Q2 of 2021, at the earliest.

This is where trust building comes into play. Our travel suppliers (hotels, airlines, ground transportation, etc.) need to build trust in our community. Once this community has built up enough trust, then risk management teams inside each organization will become more involved. Human resources will be involved for caring for employees while the legal departments will look at the legal risks. The next step will be for the travel departments to combine the confidence in travel suppliers with the confidence of the internal risk management teams to develop a plan to show stakeholders and employees that “now” is the right time to return to travel. Once this is accomplished, we can move on to building trust and confidence in the individual traveler. Right now, we are seeing a tightening in partnerships between travel suppliers, risk management teams and travel departments which in return is building trust in the individual traveler.

Let’s take a look at four key points that put the spotlight on buyers and suppliers according to Will. Wise buyers are resetting their programs to build strategic programs for the future. Travel suppliers are being looked at as trusted advisers which leads us to the third point- “key component of growth”. The key component of growth is making sure the travel program is efficient. This leads us to our last point- “open to innovation”. We are going to start to see an increase in artificial intelligence which will allow a more automated process of the whole travel experience, resulting in a more satisfied program overall.

Moving forward, Will discussed the changing times and renewed partnerships with TMCs. When COVID first hit, there was a change in operation. The first step was to get travelers home or where they needed to be, followed by dealing with unused tickets and a shift in how the TMC operates overall. Next, we saw account management realignment and financial models shift. What will buyer likely do next? There will be open and transparent discussions, leading to a mutual agreement moving forward. This may move to service changes and the welcoming of OBTs.

Transitioning to OTBs, Charlie Mitchell mentions that Online Booking Tools are starting to evolve. Artificial and chat integrations are starting to happen on a mass scale. When done correctly, this will reduce costs on the employer while easing the experience on the traveler. As many of us know, virtual cards will be the way of the future. Virtual cards will allow companies to authorize travel charges for particular travel itineraries and reduce the need for expense reports. OBTs are also a great tool to use for guest travel bookings. Systems can be integrated to allow guests to have the same booking experience as employees while allowing them to stay up-to-date with ongoing safety and security measures of the company.

These changing times are also going to have an effect on airline and lodging partnerships. When COVID first hit, we saw a great reduction of airline tickets being issued. This stopped a lot of cash flow, and eventually led to refunds and credits being issued. One major change that airlines have implemented is the elimination of change fees. Unused ticket management is going to be very important to the airlines going forward. This has a large ripple effect because change fees were once a major revenue avenue for airlines. Moving forward we may see an increase in ticket prices but overall removing change fees is going to give travelers a better experience. In regards to lodging partnerships, we have seen property closures and occupancy diminish. Hotels are also moving their focus to cleanliness and safety precautions. Charlie goes on to explain that we will see a great change in RFPs, and static versus dynamic pricing. More dynamic rates are going to be what we see in the hotel model. The biggest change we have seen and will see more moving into the future is video conferences.

Are you “Zoomed” out? Attending an in-person conference versus participating in a video conference does give users a different overall experience. In December 2019, Zoom had 10 million daily participants. Moving to March 2020, that number jumped up to 200 million. This is going to have a big impact. Internal travel will take a big hit due to these advancements even as travel returns.

What else is going to change? With COVID, we are seeing a change from travel engagement to travel policy. Communication has become paramount. This includes communication between stakeholders, travel suppliers and travelers. Traveler wellness is evolving as well. There will be enhanced duty of care. Airlines and airports are introducing new traveler scans and requirements such as temperature checks. Down the road, wearables may also be the way of the future.

To recap- Charlie summed up what you can do today:

  • Re-visit the OBT
  • Map out your data flow for all travel
  • (Re)Establish price re-assurance
  • Look at pre-trip processes



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GBTA North Central - Education Summit

Written by Audrey Burchett 

When:  Thursday, December 10, 2020
Times:  8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where:  Virtual

The GBTA North Central Education Committee cordially invites you to attend the virtual Education Summit.  Registration is now open for this complimentary event - click

Watch a video from our keynote speaker. click


8:15 - 8:30 a.m.                      Zoom Meeting Room Opens

8:30 - 8:45 a.m.                      Welcome & Opening Remarks:  Jan Shoemaker, President North Central Chapter

8:45 - 9:30 a.m.                      Travel & Security with John Rose, Chief Risk & Security Officer

Speaker John Rose Chief Risk Officer, GBTAJohn Rose, Chief Risk Officer, GBTA

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.                    Driving the Gender Agenda in Travel Risk

Carolyn Pearson, CEO & Founder, Maden VoyageCarolyn Pearson, CEO & Founder, Maiden Voyage   
 Michael Baker, CEO, GeoSure Global
Michael Baker, CEO, GeoSure Global

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.                  Break

 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.                  Travel Manager Challenges & Changes post COVID-19 
                                               Moderator:  David Grace, Chief Revenue Officer, Deem 

David Grace, Chief Revenue Officer, DeemDavid Grace,  Chief Revenue Officer, Deem

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.          Keynote Speaker: Fearless with Kat Perkins

Kat Perkins, Motivational Speaker, Songwriter & SingerKat Perkins, Motivational Speaker, Songwriter & Singer

12:30 - 1:00 p.m.                    Closing Remarks, Presidents Award:  Jan Shoemaker & Sarah Hill

1:00 p.m.                                 Adjourn


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Committee Updates

Marketing & Communications (PR, Social Media & Newsletter) Committee
Written By Valerie Barnes

Even more now than ever we want to stay connected with our members. Make sure that you’re following us on social media for chapter news and industry updates. Facebook, Twitter @gbtancc, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

If you are not involved in a chapter committee and would like to get to know the chapter members better, please consider volunteering with our committee.  We’re looking for someone to help with the social media posts and compiling the newsletter.  You can be as involved as you wish.

Our virtual September meeting had good attendance with at least 20% Direct/Buyer members.   Please register for our next virtual monthly meeting on November 12th and invite other industry friends as registration is complimentary for all.

Member Status



Written By Megan Boosalis


GBTA North Central is pleased to welcome the following new members, as of March 19, 2020:

  • Dianne Bennett – IP Corporation
  • Eric Brustad – Erix Coach and Car Transportation
  • Kari Bale – Aero Systems Engineering

*** 2020 Membership Drive ***
Keep an eye out in the next newsletter for our upcoming membership drive!

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Industry News

David Leibowitz (NORAM), 602-317-1414, [email protected]
Nikki Stimson (EMEA), +44(0) 7764 618199, [email protected]

Business Travel Association: Administration, Congressional Leaders Must Continue Stimulus Package Negotiations Or Jobs, Economy Will Suffer Greatly

GBTA Urges Leaders On Both Sides of the Aisle to Stop Playing Politics, Immediately Resume Talks to Save One of the U.S. Economy’s True Employment, GDP Drivers

Alexandria, Virginia (October 6, 2020) – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, expressed deep concern today over the breakdown of COVID-19 supplemental funding discussions between the White House and Congress.

The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on the business travel industry. In the initial round of CARES Act funding, U.S. airlines agreed to forego layoffs in exchange for $25 billion in grants. This agreement expired September 30. Since then, media reports of massive airline layoffs have noted that as many as 100,000 workers will be let go in the near future unless elected leaders take action immediately. According to the World and Travel Tourism Council (WTTC), international GDP losses could total as much as $5.5 trillion – with job losses for 2020 projected at nearly 200 million jobs.

“With hundreds of thousands of jobs hanging in the balance, the business travel sector and the American economy need help now, not a month from now,” said Dave Hilfman, the GBTA’s interim Executive Director. “Our association and its members urge the Administration and Congressional leaders not to wait on a relief package, because without additional financial support from the U.S government, companies nationwide will be at serious risk of a meltdown.”

Hilfman noted that the near-complete shutdown of business travel in the U.S. and internationally has negatively impacted the entire travel ecosystem, including travel agencies, hotels, ground transportation and airlines: “If the economy is to come roaring back, business travel will be a major player. We need the travel system to be ready to meet the demand.”

About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit

COVID Relief Now

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Dates to Remember

The GBTA North Central Chapter typically meets on the second Thursday of every month. 

Here is the upcoming schedule of events:


Monthly Meeting

Keynote: Tyler Enslin

Topic: Remaining Positive in Times of Crisis

November 12th



Virtual Meeting

Education Summit

Thursday, December 10th


Virtual Meeting

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GBTA North Central Chapter is among the top business travel associations in the United States and is a chapter of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). GBTA - North Central Chapter members represent corporations that influence in excess of $200 million dollars in annual travel spend.

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