GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego - The largest most comprehensive gathering in the Business Travel


The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is an advocacy group that represents over 10,000 professionals in the business travel industry. Utilizing research, the GBTA creates and develops tools, templates, guides and educational programs in support of business travel professionals. Members of GBTA have access to over 1800 research studies, whitepapers, webinars as well as the largest online library dedicated to the business travel industry.

Involved in monitoring and supporting legislation that beneficially affects the business travel industry throughout the world, GBTA holds seminars, conferences and workshops internationally on every continent. One of the largest events throughout the year is the annual convention.

Convention Show Floor

Isaac Pacheco Hornblower Cruises & Events

Danya Raphael Sonesta

Singapore Airlines

Celebrating 50 years, the GBTA Convention 2018 was held August 11-15, 2018 in San Diego, California at the San Diego Convention Center. The San Diego Convention Center is centrally located allowing attendees easy access to the city and its transportation along with a variety of accommodations. Located downtown, the San Diego Convention center is a short distance from the exquisite bay and marina, close to the gaslight district and airport, allowing easy accessibility to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo.

Stephanie Fielder Grande Colonial

Jill Fox Shangri-La

Catherine Foo Meritus Hotels & Resorts

The GBTA Convention 2018 showcased over 400 exhibiting companies, featured over 100 education and professional development sessions with over 7000 attendees from 50 countries. For more than 50 years the Convention has allowed travel professionals to share new practices, policies and solutions to issues that affect the business travel industry. GBTA Convention 2018 consisted of 5 days of events, programs and social gatherings.

The GBTA Convention 2018 began on Saturday August 11 and included the Global Leaders Reception and Dinner for invited guests. For those not attending the dinner, the first night free of scheduled events offered a wonderful opportunity to settle in, explore the sights and sounds of California’s most southern city on the bay.

C.J. Lillis Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport

Barbara Hillman Visit Berkeley

Cassidi Haskell Twenty Four/Seven Hotels

Bill Jordan InterContinental Hotels Houston Texas

Hallie Leitter La Fayette Hotel

Sunday Morning, August 12th, kicked off at 7:00 AM for a Social Golfing event, the GBTA 12th Annual Golf Classic. For those attendees not socializing on the golf course, a full day is scheduled at the Convention Center starting at 8:00 AM. Events throughout the day included the first time attendee Orientation and Luncheon, highly recommended if you are attending a GBTA Convention for the first time. The orientation will guide you in planning your time, making the most of the available programs each day, while allowing you time to visit the hundreds of exhibitors in between your chosen events.

Michelle Shullo Towneplace Suites San Diego

Aparium Hotel Group

Meeting Room

Press Cocktail Event

Singapore Airlines Cocktail Event at the Omni Hotel

Event Speakers

Event Luncheon

The morning of Monday August 13th began with the Education sessions and the Annual Business Meeting of GBTA. The Center Stage Guest Speaker for Monday was Billie Jean King followed by a luncheon. The afternoon was dedicated to free time giving attendees ample time to visit the exhibitors throughout the expo, making contacts and learning about the newest service and programming modules in the business travel sector.

On Tuesday August 14th the Convention 2018 schedule mimicked the Monday offering, except the special guest on Center Stage and at the luncheon, was one of the Sharks from Shark Tank, Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary.

The final day Wednesday August 15th began with time to explore the Expo one more time, allowing attendees to connect with some of the over 400 exhibitors. Past convention attendees have overwhelmingly made new connections at the Expo that they incorporate in their daily business travel. In fact, 84% of convention attendees make and utilize the services of 3 new contacts by visiting the expo. Convention 2018 ended with a series of Educational Sessions and a Convention Luncheon which featured the captivating keynote speaker, Victims Rights Advocate, John Walsh. Mr Walsh told the story of the abduction and murder of his son Adam and the establishment of the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center which led to the passing of two bills in congress to help missing and exploited children. Thank you to Mr Walsh for that moving presentation, not a dry eye in the house.

Attendance at one of the annual GBTA Conventions is not mandatory, unless you want to expand your career and broaden your contacts by engaging with your peers in the business travel industry while learning and interacting with the world’s best and brightest. The GBTA Conventions are a gateway to adding support, education, along with technological enhancements that will grow your business and career in the fastest growing segment of the travel industry.

Find out about everything GBTA has to offer at their website https://www.gbta.org/

You can also find out the latest news on GBTA by following them on social media, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

GBTA Convention 2019 dates are August 3-7, 2019 in Chicago. See you there!

Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page

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