Name: Suzanne Neufang
Company, city: Global Business Travel Association; GBTA’s headquarters are in Alexandria, Virginia, and I am based in New York City.
First job: County 4-H Program Coordinator in North Dakota
Where to next: Orlando, Florida, for the GBTA annual global convention, and then Germany in December for GBTA Conference Berlin
A LITTLE BIT MORE
What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
Reese Witherspoon. She’s super smart, and she’s delved into some really intelligent projects as a producer.
What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry?
I would be running a consultancy or launching a bed- and-breakfast in Europe or writing poetry. I’ve written my whole life, especially at moments when I really need to center myself.
What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
Any crime drama or series, especially from the BBC
What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
There are many, but because I just saw a PBS special about her, I’d say Sandra Day O’Connor. I’d love to understand more about what it was like to be the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice and what challenges we all still face to drive equality in the workplace and society.
What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
Our most important recent project is planning our in-person GBTA Convention in November in Orlando. It’s GBTA’s first face-to-face annual conference in more than two years due to the pandemic — and its inspiration is to make the industry “Ready. Safe. [and] Travel.” again. This is the business travel industry’s coming-out event, and we need to make it special and safe for everyone. For the convention and beyond, the recent announcement from the Biden Administration that U.S. borders will reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers makes the return to business travel even more promising.
What is your favorite aspect of the job?
I love leading global teams of smart people who work hard, collaborate with each other and inspire many types of stakeholders with great ideas and content. That’s what I have at GBTA!
What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?
Everything in the time of COVID and its recovery seems to be a risk these days.
Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
I admire Sam Gilliland, who was CEO of Sabre for many years when I was there, for his ability to lead and connect with customers, employees and shareholders with a great deal of humility and humor.
AS A TRAVELER
Tell us about a travel nightmare: Several years ago on a trip to Asia, I connected from Dallas (DFW) through Chicago (ORD) and forgot my purse in the women’s restroom. It didn’t contain my passport but had just about everything else. To my relief, within 15 minutes of realizing my heart-dropping mistake, I heard my name on the airport intercom. I retrieved the purse with everything still in it from the Customer Service desk. Whew!
Share a comical travel experience: Hmmm, every time I’m going through security at a new foreign airport where the rules for shoes, liquids, laptops, iPads and watches are different
What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? I love U.S. road trips, which is ironic because we no longer own a car, living in NYC. In Europe, it’s definitely rail. And I have spent so much time in airplanes over the course of my career and on family vacations that they feel like a second home, so planes are definitely right up there.
What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? Definitely that O’Hare Customer Service agent who returned my purse so many years ago. But I see great customer service at airport gates and on every airplane I’ve been on in the time of COVID-19. These frontline workers deserve all of our respect.
Six Senses Zighy Bay sets sail for its latest out-of-the-ordinary experience. The newly refurbished Dhahab, meaning gold in Arabic, offers one- or two-night voyages for the ultimate sea-hotel adventure.
Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Minneapolis, Minnesota, with us.
IHG® Hotels & Resorts certainly has a lot to celebrate, starting with an incredible growth story. Over the past five years, IHG has acquired or launched six new brands: Six Senses® Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent® Hotels & Resorts, Vignette™ Collection, voco™ hotels, avid® hotels and Atwell Suites™. Most recently, IHG reached an important milestone with its 6,000th open hotel. The company looks to further expand its portfolio by 30 percent with 1,800 hotels in the development pipeline, with significant focus on growth in the luxury segment where IHG is positioned as one of the top two hotel chains.
This October, The Bodrum EDITION hosts its third Zen Weekend in collaboration with artisanal lifestyle brand Caravana. Oct. 6–9, guests can indulge themselves in rebalancing wellness sessions aligning the body and soul before winter starts.
Copa Airlines celebrated its 75th anniversary recently by showcasing a Boeing 737-800 NG in an aircraft livery that harkened back to the airline’s look in the 1990s. During that time period, Copa Airlines launched an expansion of their network to become the Hub of the Americas, connect the Americas and promote Panama.
Much of the global business travel industry has already made sustainable business travel a priority with a focus on reducing emissions and their environmental footprint. But the industry, as well as external stakeholders, such as policymakers, recognize more needs to be done.