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.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The holidays are right around the corner and it's time to start thinking about gifts for your wine-loving friends. If you or someone you know is planning an upcoming trip to a wine region, check out Argaux. The all-women-operated and -owned online wine shop and educational platform offers a series of tasting sets to celebrate and introduce some of the best wine destinations. The Gaux-To Tasting Sets are perfect for travelers to experience the wine before they travel — or without having to travel.
The Red Sea Development Company recently finalized its utilities deal with a consortium led by ACWA Power for The Red Sea Project, setting the development as the largest tourism project in the world set to be powered solely by renewable energy.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers the chance to get up to $5,000 off per person on a 2022 sailing if booked by Nov. 30 as part of a Black Friday deal. This offer is valid on bookings made through Nov. 30 on cruises in 2022. Additionally, this deal can be combined with any publicly available promotion and standard River Heritage Club membership savings or benefits.
Peru-based hotel brand Inkaterra was named the first-ever “climate-positive” hotel brand in the world by GreenInitiative. Climate-positive can be defined as “any activity that furthers the achievement of net zero carbon emissions, providing an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” Endorsed by the United Nations, GreenInitiative announced Inkaterra Hotels’ achievement upon measuring the company’s carbon footprint and offset.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Premiere luxury resort L’Auberge de Sedona debuts the Home for the Holidays experience to go with the resort’s holiday celebrations. Guests are invited to join in the festivities this year amid Arizona’s beautiful natural features like Oak Creek and Red Rocks.