Travel professionals hit the high seas last month and listened to discussions on strategic and budget issues, similar to those facing meeting planners, at The National Business Travel Assn.’s (NBTA) Fundamentals of Business Travel Management course and focus group onboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
The management course focused on maximizing cost containment strategies, improving productivity, creating a managed travel culture within a company, ensuring traveler safety and security, developing travel policies and calculating the return on investment for a managed travel program. The focus group served as a forum to gather user input regarding the NBTA Foundation Managed Travel Index & Benchmarking Tool, similar to standards being developed by Meeting Planners International (MPI) to position meetings and events as strategic components of organizational success.
Travel managers participating in the discussion explored ways to use the tools to develop best practices and other resources for corporate travel managers. “[The course] was a very worthwhile experience for me because it offered me the opportunity to learn more about the strategic role corporate travel departments play in an organization’s daily operations,” said Nancy White, an administrative assistant for Weyerhaeuser.
The NBTA Foundation will release the latest version of the tools at the NBTA International Convention & Exposition, July 16-19 in Chicago.
NBTA Executive Director and COO Bill Connors approved of at least one strategic move: holding the meeting onboard Freedom of the Seas. “Royal Caribbean [has] been on the cutting edge in the cruise line industry in terms of wanting to engage with corporate travel managers and planners,” he said. “Their new ships are clearly designed with group and conference business in mind. Freedom of the Seas served as a terrific venue for our meetings.”
Freedom of the Seas holds more than 4,000 people and features ample meeting and conference space, themed restaurants, casino and spa facilities.