By: Holly Leber
The Global Business Travel Association is seeking input from its members regarding their involvement with and benefits received from local chapters. The poll is part of the association’s work on the Chapter of the Future initiative, a program introduced last year and designed to govern GBTA’s relationships with individual chapters.
In light of push back from some chapters regarding cost and timing concerns, GBTA established a task force to propose modifications to the plan. More recently, to become better informed on member needs, the association hired Mariner Management and its research partner Whorton Marketing & Research to conduct the survey, which closes Feb. 7.
In a January email, Chapter Task Force co-chairs Donna Kelliher (also travel and corporate services director at Dominion) and Doug Payne (also senior vice president of corporate sales at Altour) asked members to complete the survey as a means to “investigate your needs and experiences at the national and chapter levels so that we can better understand what value you receive from membership and we can adjust programs/services, activities and policies to increase the value you receive.”
Members are being asked to rate their local chapters and the national organization as a whole on such topics as educational events and quality of networking; to describe the importance to them of their GBTA affiliation and chapter membership; to explain how those affiliations are funded (by themselves, by their employer or a mix of the two); to identify factors that “impede you from being more involved” in GBTA and its local chapters; and to describe how a member’s local chapter can “increase the value it delivers to you.”
Though GBTA declined to comment on why it decided to employ an outside firm to conduct the survey, it provided a written statement on why it specifically hired Mariner: “The task force chose a firm that specializes in chapter relations in order to leverage their experience and best practices. GBTA will use the results of this survey to help us ensure that we are offering the best services, activities and programs to all of our members. We take the opinions of our members very seriously and we use these surveys to shape our member offerings.”
In a document obtained by BTN, Kelliher and Payne told chapter presidents and leaders of GBTA’s Chapter Presidents’ Council that “many associations are grappling with similar issues particularly given the trends in communication, interconnectivity and a multi-generational workforce. There are probably an equal number of associations who have traveled this path successfully. So we move forward with some measure of relief and much confidence that we can find the right partnership for BTAs and GBTA.”
In a related development, the Georgia Business Travel Association last year opted to end “exclusivity” with the national organization, in favor of relationships with other industry bodies. That prompted GBTA to allege breach of contract against GeorgiaBTA, leading to arbitration, which according to sources familiar with conflict, has not been resolved.