Catherine McGavock, Director Operations GBTA Europe

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GBTA Europe is the first buyer-led European wide business travel and meetings network. Catherine McGavock is the Director Operations


When and how was GBTA Europe born?

This is the first buyer-led European wide business travel and meetings network, it was created in January 2010 through the co-operation of GBTA and our partners, the main business travel associations throughout Europe, including ABTA; DBTA; FBTA; ITM; NATM; NBTA; VDR and of course IBTA.

How many members does GBTA have?

GBTA has over 5000 members globally, 2000 of whom are based in Europe.

Which kind of services do you offer?

GBTA provides its members with networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy. Our online portal, Hub provides members with access to the largest business travel community in the world as well as over 900 resources – research, webinars, toolkits and RFPs, helping them to become more effective in their current role and helping them to develop in their career.

How does the economic downturn affected the profession and the association?

The economic downturn has allowed travel managers to come to the fore and has made travel management, as a profession, an important part of strategic planning. In many cases, travel managers have been asked to lead company-wide efforts to cut travel costs, track those savings and report them back to senior management. We need to ensure that GBTA as an association is keeping our members up to date with the latest information; techniques and developments so that they can succeed in this area.

Do you think that travel management is still misunderstood and undervalued by some corporations today.

There are some organisations who simply see travel management as a procurement category and do not realise the complexity of the discipline. Good travel management is not just about getting the best price, it’s also about effectively rolling out policy; keeping your people safe; efficient processes; understanding what you’re spending, where and leveraging that spend to your organisation’s benefit.

Is the education an important point for a good Travel Manager?

Education is absolutely vital to anyone serious about a career in travel management – things are changing so quickly in terms of technology; data and regulatory requirements it’s essential to keep on top of the latest thinking. GBTA’s extensive events and webinar programme can really help with this.

In addition participation in Academy’s education programme which has courses for all levels as well at the Global Travel Professional certification clearly demonstrates a level of competence and passion for the industry that could make all the difference when looking for the next role.

What about the Global Travel Professional™ (GTP) Certification Learning Guide.

The Global Travel Professional was created by GBTA to raise industry standards, enhance work performance, and recognize individuals who demonstrate core competencies essential to the business travel management discipline. The exam tests competence and does not require a huge amount of study however there is a Reading list on the website and for those who like to do a little more preparation a study guide is now available.

Which are the GBTA regions?

GTBA now has a presence in North America; Mexica; Latin America; Asia; Africa; Australia; New Zealand and throughout Europe – it’s truly global.

How do you want to grow in Europe?

I want to drive more member engagement – members going on to Hub to link in with other business travel professionals and using resources; attending events such as our conference in Prague and Oil, Gas and Marine Travel Symposium in Copenhagen; participating in education sessions and playing an active role in committees. The more members engage, the more value they will derive from membership, the more they are likely to recommend GBTA to their peers.

In Europe we are also moving into new markets and are making significant inroads into both France and Russia.

Which are the most important qualities in a good Travel Manager?

I think excellent communication skills is key – you need to be able to persuade senior executives to adopt your strategy; the staff follow your policy and then presenting the results so that the organisation appreciates the benefits you have delivered.

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