“We find Travel Leaders Executive Forum to be very worthwhile for our corporate clients because it provides a proactive way of sharing new technology and best practices,” said Terri Hiltzheimer, Director of Account Services at Travel Leaders in Johns Creek, Georgia, who had nine clients in attendance this year; some of whom have returned year after year.
John Rose, Chief Risk Officer at ALTOUR, focused his presentation on mitigating traveler risk. “The risks are everywhere: local law, crime areas, the sharing economy,” he said. “You must be prepared to assist your clients with a well-organized plan and provide information for the safe return of their employees.”
The Tech Showcase highlighted tools that travel management companies use to help their clients add another level of safety and care for their traveling employees. Presented in a tradeshow format, The Tech Showcase highlighted solutions such as Travel Leaders 24, which provides mobile and chat services 24/7 to help ensure clients receive the same level of care after hours as the agencies provide during regular business hours. It also highlighted Travel Leaders CONNECT, an award-winning mobile texting tool that allows travelers to chat with a live professional via text messaging when they encounter flight disruptions or other issues.
Other specific topics, speakers and highlights included:
-State of the Union: 21st Century Travel – Gabe Rizzi, an executive at Travel Leaders Group discussed “Transformation Through Innovation” and how it is changing the how, where and what of the travel industry.
-ASTA Legislative Updates – ASTA Chairman Dave Hershberger discussed legislative issues that impact business, work life and the travel experience.
-Duty of Care, Understanding Your Corporate Liability – Various industry leaders provided their expertise on traveler safety, risk management and how to create a robust travel policy. Including:
*How to Write A Travel Policy – Kizer & Bender’s Georganne Bender and Rick Kizer moderated the panel discussion with Amy Mutscher, content manager for the Viewfrom36K.com and Chris Roemmer, senior manager, consulting at Travel Leaders Network’s Business Travel Center of Excellence.
*What is Duty of Care and Travel Safety? Presentation by John Rose, the Chief Risk Officer at ALTOUR.
*Risk Management panel discussion with Rose and Jay Ellenby, owner of the Safe Harbors Travel Group, Brittany Lewis, security operations supervisor at AIG Travel, Jessica Thorud, product management director at Travel Leaders Network.
-Hotels: The Virtual Credit Card Quandary – Examined the complexities and impact virtual credit cards and single use cards. Speakers included:
*Doreen Burse, Vice President of Global Sales, North America, Marriott International
*Kathy Cantwell, former AirPlus executive and payment expert
*Annette Dreibelbis, Senior Business Development Manager, Sabre Corporation
*Mark Meader, Senior Vice President, Industry Affairs & Education, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
*David Sjolander, Chief Operating Officer, HTNG
-Meetings and Events: What’s the Big Deal? Presentation by Kevin Iwamoto, Senior Vice President of GoldSpring Consulting. He discussed the steps to understand the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions space. Additional speakers included:
*Matt McGrath, Vice President Corporate Sales, Carey International
*Barbara Tautkus, National Sales Manager at Vacation Express
-The Beat of Booking Technology took a deep dive into the best practices and future enhancements for the GDS and online booking tools, including:
*Launch/Adoption/Leakage with Sandy Cabalka, Vice President, Destinations Unlimited and David Fox, Senior Manager Consulting, Travel Leaders Network
*Global Distribution Support for Online Booking Tools with Steve Croft, Senior Director Corporate Booking Tools at Travelport
*OBT Content Availability/Technology with Will Elliott, Senior Alliance Manager, SAP Concur and Brian Hace, Vice President, Products – TMC Services, SAP Concur
“The Executive Forum gives our clients a better understanding of the current industry issues they are facing, while giving us an opportunity to spend time with our clients in a setting where we can further explain the topics and make tailored suggestions and recommendations for them,” said risk management panelist Jay Ellenby, owner of the Safe Harbors Travel Group, a Travel Leaders agency in Maryland.
Other attendees agreed.
“The ability to network with other agencies and companies that are facing the same challenges or who are asking the same questions is invaluable,” said Sandy Cabalka, Vice President of the Business Travel Division of Travel Leaders Destinations Unlimited in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
For additional information on joining Travel Leaders Network, visit TravelLeadersNetwork.com.
About Travel Leaders Network
Travel Leaders Network (www.TravelLeaders.com), assists millions of leisure and business travelers annually, and is one of the largest sellers of luxury travel, cruises and tours in the travel agency industry, with approximately 5,700 travel agency locations across the United States and Canada. Travelers also have access to The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a selection of travel offers and discounts available at no additional cost to holders of select American Express® cards.