Travel Times Newsletter

Travel Times 2018 - Sept/Oct Print

President's Report

President's Message
Written by Sarah HillSarah Hill - Delta KLM Air France Alitalia

Hello and Happy Autumn!

It looks like our weather wants to take us right out of our record number of 90 degree days to cooler temperatures. We kicked off our fall season already with Will Tate at September’s monthly meeting, be sure to check out the recap in this newsletter. We look forward to our upcoming speakers for October and November then right into our Scholarship Fundraiser.

Speaking of the Scholarship Fundraiser we need your donations! We are looking for creative new items for the silent auction so please put your innovative thinking to work and send us some fun items.  Reach out to your colleagues and work together.  Also please think about applying for a scholarship.  Every year we only receive a few applications and this is a fantastic way to enhance your education in the industry, help with that promotion you want to get or try another aspect of the industry.  The world is your oyster!   I will give you a gentle reminder when the scholarship forms go out.

Now I need to get down to business. We have had a Direct Representative resign from the Board for the upcoming 2019 term. We worked very quickly to fill the position and as we have done in the past we reached out to those people who accepted nominations for the past election to see if they would like to join.  I am happy to let you know that Mike Krebsbach will be filling this position.

In the meantime, enjoy the crisp weather with pumpkin-spiced treats, sweaters and bonfires with friends and family. I will see you at the next monthly meeting.

Thank you

Sarah Hill

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Meeting Recap

GBTA North Central – September Monthly Recap
Written by Hazel Vokral
Pictured left to right: Patti Anderson, Travel One, Mary Cole, Travel One, Will Tate, GoldSpring Consulting, and Dave Knudsen, Travel One

Will Tate is a partner at GoldSpring Consulting, an independent travel management consultancy company. Will spoke about travel management and jazz having a syncopated conversation. He talked about what are the key elements of jazz. Strong rhythm: regular repeated pattern of movement and sound. Syncopated: a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn’t normally occur. Improvise: to invent or provide something at the time when it is needed without having to plan it.

Will then spoke about what is travel management rhythm? Some of the key elements discussed were: traveler experience which can look at a corporation’s policy and look at the traveler’s experience to get to the value of the co-efficient. Travel policy, TMC/OBT, Service Delivery, and Security were other elements which make up the travel management rhythm.

What is travel management syncopation? Will spoke about mobile – devices, apps, etc. Incentives, for example hard cash offered to travelers to fly economy instead of business, or trip price to beat incentives where a traveler can save and bank the dollars for future travel. The opposite side to these incentives is the possible increase in travel cost as more individuals could take more trips. Another element discussed was NDC which has been growing in the airline space though hotel and car rental companies will soon want to jump onto this. Big data, Concierge (personal TMC at no cost), and TMCs were also discussed as part of what makes up travel management syncopation.

Will went on to speak about what is improvisable in travel management? Mergers was one where he stressed you will have three mega competitors. Predictive Analytics is being used at times to decide when to rebook or buy, for example if a flight shows it has a 70% cancellation rate. Other elements are revenue/channel management, price assurance technologies, and customer experience.

The key here is to play together in harmony. Engage in a strong rhythm (drum a common beat), establish a flow (accenting a different beat), and effect your voice (create another beat, for example look at doing something to differentiate yourself).

The best travel management requires buyers and sellers to move to ever-changing music. They must keep their mutual rhythm by staying connected to a common goal. They must syncopate and have room to improvise, creating new and different value propositions as they grow.


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Chapter President's Council

Chapter President’s Council Coming to MSP!
Written by Sara Hill

May 2019 the Chapter President’s Council (CPC) 2Q meeting will be hosted by GBTA – North Central Chapter. As the Twin Cities gains more attention with hosting the Super Bowl this past January and the Final Four coming next year the Board of Directors thought it would be a great time to feature our fair cities to the CPC. The CPC Board is made up of all the US Chapter and Affiliate Presidents, Direct and Allied members, which come from all industries, agencies, hotels, and airlines.

We are looking for sponsors for this event which will be the day after Education Summit.  A dinner sponsor is also needed the night before the meeting and food throughout the day. If you are interested in being a sponsor for any of these events please reach out to our Sponsorship Committee at Renaissance Depot will be the venue for both Education Summit and CPC meeting.  We will continue to update you with more details as they become available.

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Committee Updates

Membership Committee
Written By Ryan Comstock

All potential Direct Members can come to a meeting as a guest for free for their first meeting. Help spread the word about our great organization and when registering the potential Direct Member be sure to let us know.

As a reminder, the All Access Membership with GBTA does not include the cost to attend a meeting. Below is a list of our membership options that can be found on our website at

Community Direct Membership, $175, this membership requires a $75 fee to attend any meeting.
Community Allied Membership, $175, this membership requires a $75 fee to attend any meeting.
Direct All-Inclusive Membership, $395, this membership includes pre-paid regularly scheduled monthly meetings including the Scholarship Fundraising Event but excludes Education Summit.
Allied All-Inclusive Membership, $395, this membership includes pre-paid regularly scheduled monthly meetings including the Scholarship Fundraising Event but excludes Education Summit.
GTBA All-Access Membership, $495 Direct and $545 Allied, the All Access membership does not include the meeting package. If you would like to prepay for your meetings you also need to purchase the meeting package for an additional $220.

If you have any questions about membership types or pricing, please don’t hesitate to contact Ryan Comstock @


Government Relations Committee
Written By Gina Zappa

Chapter Challenge Update
I’m happy to report that the GBTA North Central Chapter has achieved our 2018 goals and met the Chapter Challenge!  As a reward, five members who attended Convention in San Diego were invited to a photo opp with keynote speaker, Kevin O’Leary.  The members were selected based on contribution amounts.  Pictured are: Anne Lawler, Lori Reid, Kevin O’Leary, Gina Zappa, Sarah Hill, Valerie Barnes.

Thank you to all who donated to our PAC fundraiser – your donations are greatly appreciated.  The 2019 Chapter Challenge will shared as soon as announced!



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

We have lost a few committee members recently and are a team of four volunteers.  If you have any interest in joining our committee to either advance your marketing and communication skills, or build new ones, please consider us.  We handle the chapter’s Press Releases, Social Media posts, Travel Times newsletter and photography for chapter events. 

As always, please stay connected with the Chapter’s activities via our social media platforms. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter@gbtancc and join us on our LinkedIn company page.


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Legislative Summit 2018

2018 Legislative Summit Recap
Written by Valerie Barnes

 From June 4-6, 2018, the GBTA – North Central Chapter was represented at this year’s GBTA Legislative Summit in Washington D.C. by Board Members, Jan Shoemaker and Valerie Barnes.  This annual event is open to anyone and provides the opportunity to advocate for the future of the business travel industry.   You learn about Congressional debates and outcomes that will impact the business travel industry.  You meet with your Senators and Representatives on current business travel issues for your voice to be heard on Capitol Hill.

The agenda included a boat cruise on the Potomac River (which cancelled due to flooding) on Day One.  Day Two was Education Day and included presentations by GBTA Leadership, workshops on Capitol Hill Preparation and a Congressional Overview 101 by Members of Congress with a reception to end the day.  We took to the Hill on Day Three to meet with our Representatives and Senators.  It was a packed schedule with networking too.

This year we had appointments at the offices of Representatives Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen, and Senator Tina Smith.  We were joined by a member of the Cornerstone Government Affairs organization that was responsible for arranging our appointments.  His knowledge of the business travel issues and status of these issues on the Hill helped us as we represented GBTA, our organizations and the state of Minnesota discussing the issues.

Three topics we spoke about were: 

1.    Economic Benefits of Business Travel:   GBTA prepared a U.S. Business Travel Economic Impact Report that included facts and figures on the overall impact that Business Travel has on the economy.  Business Travel helps to grow the economy. Supporting polices that lead to increased travel is good for everyone.  Did you know that Business Travel was responsible for about 3 percent ($547 billion) of U.S. GDP in 2016, which is comparable to the entire domestic auto industry!

2.    Federal Aviation Administration Re-Authorization Bill:   Business travel is reliant on an air traffic system that works.  Did you know there were roughly 144 million domestic business trips in 2016?  GBTA supports the following and wants to see them addressed in the final bill;  a five-year authorization to provide long term planning and stability to upgrade the air traffic control system and NextGen programs, opposition to voice calls during flights, and no increase on Passenger Facility Charges.  The House passed a five-year bill on April 27, and now we want the Senate to vote on the bill before this year’s election.

3.    Protection of the 9/11 Security Fee:  Congress began charging the 9/11 Security Fee in 2001 to offset the Transportation Security Administration and protect the traveling public following the September 11 terrorist attacks.  In 2014 Congress voted to use a portion of the security fee for deficit reduction to reduce the national debt.  GBTA believes Congress should only use funds collected through the 9/11 Security Fee for its original purpose of funding TSA programs.  During our Hill meetings we also asked them to co-sponsor the FASTER Act introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio which will end this diversion

Participation in GBTA’s Legislative Summit was a very rewarding experience that I strongly recommend you all attend if you can.  The more people we have representing GBTA and the business travel industry the more impactful our message is on the Hill.

UPDATE:  Shane Downey, GBTA Government Relations announced that the FASTER Act became legislation on September 5, 2018 and will ensure that all September 11 Security Fees are used to help finance aviation security including screening equipment, personnel, and research and development. Also, on Friday, October 5, 2018 President Trump signed a five-year FAA reauthorization law after the bill passed the Senate last Wednesday and the House the week prior.


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Chapter Internship Open Position

Open Position for North Central Chapter Internship
Written by Valerie Barnes

The Chapter Intern position is to provide an individual interested in the travel industry the opportunity to work alongside various travel-related professionals. The Intern will gain exposure to the structure of the organization and will contribute to the success of all committees. This individual is expected to bring a new perspective to each team/project and will be encouraged to make suggestions on how the chapter can further develop.

This internship is an unpaid position; however, the intern will receive free chapter membership during the duration of the internship.  This membership grants access to the chapter website and monthly meetings free of charge.  The Intern schedule is flexible and number of expected hours/week.  The preference is a full year (Sept 2018-May 2019) commitment; however, a semester (Fall 2018 or Spring 2019) commitment will be considered.

At the start of each new intern position, a committee board liaison will be selected to provide oversight and guidance to the position as well as a liaison between the chapter and the school (if applicable).  The board liaison will be responsible for communications to the board and other committees on tasks/projects that can be assigned to the intern.  This includes monitoring hours tracked to the chapter that have been agreed upon for membership reimbursement or that may be required by the school.

• Follows requirements set by their school if credits are achieved through the internship
• Assists all committees and board members with a la carte projects on an as needed basis
• Attends Monthly Board/Chapter Meetings and Events as school schedule permits
• Engagement across all committees to include attendance in committee meetings
• Meets with Committee Board Liaison to review credit commitment status on a monthly basis at minimum

Chapter Committees include:  Advertising & Sponsorships, Marketing & Communications, Education Summit, Governance, Hospitality, Membership, Monthly Meetings, Newsletter, Scholarships, Special Events, and Technology.

Please contact the Chapter for more information at

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Special Mention

Scholarship Fundraiser
Written by Mary Cole and Keri Furlano

The 2018 Scholarship Fundraiser is in the planning phase to be held November 29 at the beautiful new InterContinental Minneapolis - St. Paul Airport, 4:00p-7:30p.

In addition to a great night of fun, food, lovely venue and camaraderie… the goal of the Fundraiser is to raise money for Chapter Scholarships.  Your contribution supports the professional advancement and career development of fellow North Central Chapter members.  We strive to support the pursuit of professional certification through the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) programs and educational offerings.

Please start planning your donations for items such as tickets to a movie or a sporting event; think outside the box.  Contact restaurants or grocery stores near your home or company.  Is there a Von Hanson’s in your area? Contact them! Make a creative gift basket.  Use your imagination!  All donations are welcome.

Every year we also select a charity for our Chapter to support. This year we have selected Jack's Basket, a non-profit organization that supports families and celebrates babies born with Down syndrome.

Below is a link to Jack's Basket, as well as a link to their Amazon wish list. We encourage you to look at the website and be generous in supporting this great organization.

(Amazon gift cards and cash donations are welcomed in addition to the items on their list)

Jack's Basket Website: Click Here

Jack's Basket Amazon Wishlist: Click Here


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Member Profile - Allied

Teresa Blythe

I am currently the Area Director of Sales for the Kahler Hospitality Group in Rochester, MN. I have been in the hospitality industry for over 30+ years working at Full Service, Limited and Focused Service properties as well as Branded and Independent Hotels.  

Work history:
I started my Hotel Career at the Front Desk of and Independent Hotel in Champaign, IL. I moved to St. Louis and worked at the Front Desk, Reservation, and Sales Coordinator at the Airport Marriott. Then went to Marriott in Chesterfield, MO as EMM. In the early 1990’s a career took me to Washington DC area, Chicago IL, Rochester MN, Salt Lake City back to Rochester, MN.  Five years ago I moved to Madison, WI to open the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Madison with Raymond Management Group. With Raymond I was also, a Task Force Director of Sales, where I went to Houston, TX to help two properties there and then opened the Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Worth Downtown.  In April of 2018 I came back to Rochester, MN where I am the Area Director of Sales for Kahler Hospitality Group, where I oversee four hotels, Kahler Grand Hotel, Kahler Inn & Suites, Rochester Marriott and Residence Inn & Suites by Marriott.
Travel Industry / GBTA North Central Chapter Specific:
What made you decide to work in travel?  I originally wanted to be a travel agent in the late 80’s. I have a degree in Travel & Tourism from Parkland College in Champaign. After I was not able to find a job as a travel agent. I was offered a job as a Front Desk Agent to gain hospitality experience.
Why did you join the GBTA North Central Chapter? When I came to Rochester, MN I was introduced to the Chapter by a Director of Sales that was already a member. I really liked the people in the Chapter and it was a good networking opportunity. I have also been a member of the Houston and Fort Worth Chapters of GTBA.
Are you currently on a committee/board within our chapter?  I am not on a committee/board within this chapter.

How long have you been a member of our organization?  I just recently rejoined the chapter.

What are the biggest changes you’ve experienced in regard to working with travel?  There are a numbers of changes I have experienced, just a few: using a real key vs. key card, using an IBM select typewriter to type guest registration cards and banquet event order. The list goes on….
What is the most rewarding aspect of working with travel?  The most rewarding aspect of the travel industry is making people feel at home away from home. No matter if they are on business or going through a difficult time.

Just for fun:

What is currently occupying your personal life? I like to hang out with friends and enjoy the nice weather in MN.

If you had to live somewhere other than Minnesota, where would you move to?   Fort Myers/Naples, Florida

Most memorable experience in your life:  I have a lot of memorable experiences.

Favorite trip you’ve taken:  My birthday vacation Naples, FL every year.

Favorite pastime hobby or leisure activity: Golf

Favorite food:  Chinese

Where do you live / marital status: Rochester, MN and I am single.

Favorite sport:  I like watching College Football, Golf

Favorite color: Purple/Lavender

Favorite drink: depends on the day.

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Dates to Remember

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: Jack Raynaert, Meritor, Inc.
Topic: Travel Management = More Trips, Within Your Budget

Sponsor: Ascendas                                                     

November 8

11:00 am to 1:30 pm

Delta by Marriott (formerly Ramada Plaza)

1330 Industrial Boulevard NE
Minneapolis/Roseville, MN

Scholarship Gala

Sponsor: Direct Travel

November 29

4:00 pm to 7:30 pm

InterContinental Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport

5005 Glumack Dr.–Terminal 1 of MSP
Minneapolis, MN


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