Earlier this week, Gregg and I attended the National Business Travel Association conference in San Diego to help BCD Travel launch their new partnership with TripIt. More than 5,000 travel managers and travel suppliers were at NBTA, making it the biggest business travel conference in the world. The mood was optimistic, and the conference was full of encouraging signs that travel is starting to rebound. There was a lot of talk about lobbying state and federal governments to support the valuable role that travel plays in the recovery of American business.
BCD Travel, the world’s third largest travel agency, featured a TripIt demo video in their tradeshow booth. While we were at the booth, Gregg and I had the opportunity to meet with many of BCD Travel’s top corporate clients, and talk about how social and mobile travel tools could be a part of their managed travel programs. Ten years ago, these companies were only just thinking about moving their travel programs online. Now, with so many business travelers using tools like TripIt, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and LinkedIn, they’re finding ways to use these same tools to help travelers share information and be more productive on the road. It was fun to show them how many hundreds (sometimes thousands) of travelers at their companies are already using TripIt.
It was amazing to see how much things have changed since last year’s NBTA conference, where TripIt was still mostly unknown in the corporate world, and this year’s conference, where most of the people I met at the show not only knew about TripIt, but were actively using it. I was thrilled to see several people pull out their mobile phones and fire up the TripIt app to show me that they are indeed users!
Everyone enjoyed the great keynote speeches delivered by Bill Clinton and Jay Leno, but my personal favorite was Dara Torres (pictured here) a competitive swimmer who, at the age of 41, won three silver medals at the 2008 Olympic games. She was quite an inspiration, delivering the message that it’s never too late to accomplish what you set your mind to. It was great to bring this message back to the TripIt office, where we’re already thinking about all the things we’ve set out to accomplish before next year’s NBTA conference!