Business travel can be challenging. Between the need for corporations to keep a close watch on travel expenditures and the travel industry’s increased safety and cost-cutting measures, the business trip is no longer luxurious. In fact, many would consider it downright unpleasant.
Travel professions, stuck in the middle between management’s financial woes and the business traveler’s basic needs, are facing many difficulties. Companies are asking travel buyers for greater accountability on expenditures and proof of how their actions are increasing shareholder value.
For those working in the corporate travel industry, the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) is a vital resource. NBTA exists to keep travel professionals abreast of current trends, legislation and opportunities. This allows them to turn around and help their own clients and companies have the most comfortable, cost-efficient travel experience possible.
NBTA members are corporate and government travel and meeting managers, as well as travel service providers. With 41 chapters across the country and more than 8,200 members in 31 nations around the world, the NBTA is preparing its members for whatever challenges they may need to overcome.
There are two NBTA membership levels.
Allied Members: Allied members are professional suppliers from every segment of the travel industry. An Allied Membership allows suppliers to network among the nation’s most prolific travel buyers to not only help spread awareness about their services, but help companies tailor their services to meet the real needs that exist in the industry.
Direct Members: Direct members are actual corporate travel management professionals from all over the world. Membership provides them with information, training and networking to help them optimize their professional effectiveness.
For all members, education, both formal and peer-to-peer based, is one of the strongest membership benefits. Networking between suppliers and buyers at monthly chapter meetings and annual conferences is the most basic form of education the NBTA provides. In addition, NBTA keeps its members apprised of the latest industry news through its Web site as well as daily and monthly e-newsletters.
Members seeking to further their practical knowledge of the industry will benefit from the various traditional education programs the organization offers. The Certified Corporate Travel Executive (CCTE) certification program is the industry’s only professional certification program. NBTA also offers Web-based programs such as The Fundamentals of Business Travel Management classes and Netsmart™.
In addition, NBTA tackles industry research topics and has a visible presence on Capitol Hill to keep members’ needs at the forefront of the legislative process. Any action that occurs either through research or legislation is quickly relayed to members, helping them stay informed.
The NBTA has two chapters in Missouri. Both branches are committed to the professional excellence of its members and provide local networking and educational opportunities. The St. Louis chapter and the Kansas City chapter host bi-monthly educational meetings. For more information about the St. Louis chapter, visit www.stlbta.org, and for more information on the Kansas City chapter, visit http://mabta.tripod.com/mabta/. For more information about the NBTA at the national level, visit www.nbta.org.