Op Ed

In their Op Eds, industry leaders contribute commentary for publication to the business travel audience outside our paywall. We task these advisors to focus on opinion, analysis and education rather than marketing. We do not accept payment for submissions. Since starting this program in 2018, we’ve published more than 100 Op Eds by dozens of guest authors.

You are encouraged to contribute to the dialogue by commenting on posts.  Want to go a step further and become an advisor? Email us for more details. There is no charge for participation, but it does come with some requirements.

Thanks to all our advisors!

Nick Vournakis, CWT

Op Ed: CWT’s Nick Vournakis On How It’s Time For TMCs ‘To Step Up And Improve’

Travel manager Brad Seitz touched a nerve in his June 22 Op Ed cautioning travel suppliers not to blame corporate clients for failing to precisely project when and to what degree booking volumes would recover. In his response below, CWT chief customer officer Nick Vournakis doesn’t make excuses for insufficient TMC service. He knows providers…

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Brad Seitz, Pro Unlimited

Op Ed: Brad Seitz On The Travel Implosion Right Before Our Eyes

Everyone is swamped and emotions are running high in travel. Industry veteran Brad Seitz, now head of travel, facilities and sustainability for workforce management firm Pro Unlimited, is not alone in accusing travel suppliers, particularly travel management companies, of playing a blame game in laying responsibility for some service woes at the feet of their…

Mark McSpadden, American Express Global Business Travel

Op Ed: Mark McSpadden On What’s Needed To Build Technology For Sustainable Travel

American Express Global Business Travel VP for global product and user experience Mark McSpadden issues a call to action to advance sustainable travel. As the travel industry emerges from the pandemic, we have never experienced a stronger push to transform travel into a catalyst for environmental progress. After seeing the negative impact of zero travel,…

Sam Hilgendorf, Fox World Travel

Op Ed: Sam Hilgendorf On The Role Of Self-Sovereign Identification In Travel

Glimpsing backward and forward, Fox World Travel chief information officer Sam Hilgendorf offers a primer on how self-sovereign identification works and a description of how it will impact business travel. When was the last time you felt in full control of your identity and personal information? For me, it was around 1997. I had my…

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Jeff Klee, AmTrav

Op Ed: Jeff Klee On Innovation, Moats And The Corporate Travel Buyer

AmTrav CEO Jeff Klee argues that consolidation, legacy tech and outdated thinking sacrifice the industry’s greater good. Travel buyers, he asserts, must demand more innovation from providers. A few years ago Elon Musk and Warren Buffett had a pretty entertaining Twitter spat about moats – not the canal-around-the-castle kind, but the economic kind that companies…

Audra Mead, Fox World Travel

Op Ed: Audra Mead On Why It’s Important To Showcase Leadership At All Levels In Your Company

Fox World Travel chief culture officer Audra Mead discusses the benefits of nurturing “leaders-in-progress.” By letting people — regardless of title — lead projects, present to senior executives and chart their journeys, organizations can get stronger from within and individuals can reach their potential. Organizational culture is the foundation from which leaders secure solid footing…

Danny Hood

Op Ed: Danny Hood On Recovery Strategies For The Travel Industry

Danny Hood has seen it all during a career spanning four decades. In 1993 he joined WorldTravel Partners, which became WorldTravel BTI in 2001 and BCD Travel in 2006. He served the company as president of the Americas until 2010. Over the years, corporate travel boomed and busted a few times, and Hood was involved…

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Andy Menkes, Partnership Travel Consulting

Op Ed: Andy Menkes On Fixing The Imbalance Of Knowledge In Travel Management Company Bids

Andy Menkes has spent a career working with travel management companies — as a buyer, a TMC exec and an industry consultant. As companies assess their travel management service needs, he describes what he sees as a problem with fairness in TMC bids and offers a solution to resolve it. We are starting to see…

Robert Quigley, International SOS

Op Ed: Dr. Robert Quigley On Prioritizing Emotional Health In The Workplace

Last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week, followed on October 10 by World Mental Health Day. To help mark the occasion, International SOS SVP Dr. Robert Quigley weighed in on why and how organizations should recognize and support employees’ emotional health. The Covid-19 crisis has put employee health, particularly emotional health, at the forefront of…


Op Ed: Peter Waters On How Hotel Technology Is Opening New Doors For Personalized Business Travel

Peter Waters heads the hotel IT solutions portfolio at Amadeus. Here’s his vision for how hotel companies can use new technologies to better personalize traveler experiences, recognize and reward their business, and earn a few extra bucks. Business traveler expectations for hotel stays have been evolving for a while. In some respects, the pandemic reinforced…

Brandon Strauss, KesselRun

Op Ed: Brandon Strauss On Why Small And Midsize Organizations Will Lead The Way In Corporate Travel

Smaller companies are resuming business travel more quickly than their larger peers. Brandon Strauss, president of CapTrav and partner at KesselRun Corporate Travel Solutions, argues that products and processes designed for that market segment can help expand managed travel and provide best practices for larger programs. It seems odd that less than 10 percent of…

Goldspring Consulting

Op Ed: Will Tate And Kathy Kent On ‘True’ Global

GoldSpring Consulting’s Kathy Kent and Will Tate sketch out the foundations for going global with corporate travel management companies. Global is a frequently used term to describe a corporate travel program and its travel management company support. When you hear “global” and “TMC,” what model comes to mind? Everything from every country is the same?…

Pat McDonagh, Clarity

Op Ed: Pat McDonagh On A Career In The Virtual World

Clarity CEO Pat McDonagh muses on how his career would look today without the essential in-person moments. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak caused a bit of a stir this week by suggesting that young people in business would benefit from being in the office because face-to-face interactions, learning opportunities and relationships are essential…

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Op Ed: John Harvey On How Sustainable Aviation Fuel Gives You Freedom To Travel

John Harvey of the Globalyse and Harvey & Heywood consultancies offers a game plan for taking advantage of a promising development in corporate travel sustainability. Up until the start of the global pandemic early last year, sustainable business travel was largely a matter of personal opinion. Many people were talking about it, but few companies…

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Craig Fichtelberg, AmTrav

Op Ed: Craig Fichtelberg On The Red Flags Of Travel Management Company Consolidation

Craig Fichtelberg is president and co-founder of AmTrav, a travel management company that has not participated in the latest cycle of acquisitions. He knows you’ll take his comments with a grain of salt. Consolidation among travel management companies has accelerated. Employees and customers are the most critical components in every acquisition. They’re also vulnerable and…

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Op Ed: Scott Gillespie On The Case For A Bold New Travel Policy

Scott Gillespie of tClara warned that his advice here would make “old-school” procurement folks gnash their teeth. “So be it,” he said. The sustainability issue is rising quickly up the executive agenda. The problem is what to do about it from a business travel perspective. I see a boldly simple but controversial solution with broader…

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George Kalka, Fox World Travel

Op Ed: George Kalka On Why You Need To Hear The Silent Traveler

Fox World Travel’s George Kalka highlights why corporate travel programs may need to refresh the ways they gather input from travelers. Silent travelers can be found in every organization’s travel program. How are you listening? These travelers are our most challenging travelers to hear. Often, they are technology-forward, self-sufficient employees who are less likely to communicate…


Op Ed: Stefan Wälde On Why ‘Request To Pay,’ Europe’s Answer To PayPal, Apple And Google, Will Change Payment Processes

In this guest post, Stefan Wälde of AirPlus offers a primer on Request to Pay and highlights its potential for commercial transactions. In the digital age, customers have many options for paying for their products and services. For this reason alone, it was important and right that the European Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was implemented…


Op Ed: Tony D’Astolfo On Whether We Have Gotten Too Comfortable Staying At Home

Seasoned frequent traveler Tony D’Astolfo of Serko recognizes the value of face-to-face interaction, and is eager for more of it, but also that travel is harder nowadays. He asks a difficult question: What if businesspeople don’t want to get back on the road? Maybe I’ve gotten a bit too comfortable staying at home, wearing sweatpants…


Op Ed: Matt Blackmon On Common Information Security Vulnerabilities In Travel Management

Matt Blackmon is vice president of customer success for the Travel, Transportation & Hospitality Practice at DataArt, a global software engineering firm. Here he provides a primer on the cybersecurity issues facing those involved in handling corporate travel data. As business travel recovers, corporations will allow employees back on planes and they will reach back…


Op Ed: Lauren Aste On Travel’s Return Hinging On A Commitment To Global Public Health

CWT chief legal officer Lauren Aste discusses how humans have an innate impulse to help each other. She argues that the travel industry, governments and NGOs likewise must collaborate on opening borders and restarting travel, and assisting all countries in combating Covid — and the next threat to global public health. In the book “Humankind:…


Op Ed: Danny Eldridge On The Questions Travel Companies Should Ask About Their Readiness

Adaptable travel companies kept up with planning and process improvement throughout the pandemic. According to Danny Eldridge, CEO of software integration firm ServeVita, they’re the ones best positioned for travel recovery. For the others, it’s not too late to assess resources and develop strategies to emerge better. He’s got questions for those in both camps….

Suzanne Neufang, GBTA

Op Ed: Suzanne Neufang On Reasons For Optimism And A Dose Of Reality With Business Travel Recovery

The Global Business Travel Association in February named Suzanne Neufang CEO. The veteran of HRS, Sabre and other tech and telecom firms offers her two cents on the state of industry recovery here. Recently, CNN interviewed me on “the death of business travel.” It’s a popular topic in media circles, but one which I challenge….

Mark Bresnahan, Prime Numbers Technology

Op Ed: Mark Bresnahan On Commonsense, Absolutism And ‘Negativo’ In International Travel

Domestic corporate travel is showing a slow and steady rebound; international not so much. According to Prime Numbers Technology, its roughly 5,000 corporate accounts together booked 90 percent fewer international air tickets in April 2021 compared with April 2019. Hotel stays and car rentals for international trips were off by 93 percent and 83 percent,…

Katharine Farrell, Dots & Lines

Op Ed: Katharine Farrell On What Brands Need To Consider Following Acquisitions

Executing an acquisition or merger can be tricky, and there have been several in the corporate travel space recently. Katharine Farrell of the Dots & Lines consultancy looks back at previous examples of brand consolidation in the industry and contemplates the pros and cons. May was an interesting month for the corporate travel industry. The…

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Op Ed: Louise Miller On Travel Service Challenges Amid A Choppy Return

Deteriorated or insufficient travel services will be a reality for some as volumes recover. Demanding corporate travelers and their managers, generally satisfied with their service providers’ efforts during the pandemic, will start to lose patience. Areka Consulting’s Louise Miller suggests proactively and thoroughly communicating with travelers, understanding travel management company staffing and information sharing capabilities,…