Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, far fewer airplanes are lifting to the sky to connect us with friends and business contacts around the world. The impacts for the business travel sector are clear: jobs have been cut, budgets have tightened, nerves are frayed, and each of us worries about colleagues impacted by the pandemic and its economic fallout. For those of us at SAP Concur, it is times like these that we redouble our focus on the core principles around which we operate: community, trust, and transparency.
The business travel community is incredibly important to us. At SAP Concur, our ability to serve customers at the level we think they deserve is closely tied to the success of the Travel Management Companies with whom we work so closely, and to the hundreds of partner organizations that help us provide an ecosystem of services invaluable to organizations everywhere. The trust we have worked hard to maintain with our customers and partners is why we have been able to thrive throughout the years. It allowed us to catapult from a small startup, to multi-billion-dollar acquisition, to an important player within one of the world’s largest technology firms, SAP. And, of course, it is impossible to establish trust without transparency into why we make key decisions. It is these principles of community, trust, and transparency that compel us to respond to current events.
First, we have terminated our relationship with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) on the national and the international levels. We have been deeply troubled by recent allegations about misogyny in its workplace, incendiary comments toward an elected official by its chief executive officer, and reports of a hostile work environment. While we believe in due process and will not pre-judge the outcome of this ongoing situation, we are resigning our corporate membership and executive committee seats. We will not be involved with GBTA until we are convinced the underlying issues have been fully addressed.
We know the power of community and remain committed to the collective power of bringing the travel industry together. That’s why our second move this week is to announce an inaugural SAP Concur Travel Industry Summit, a virtual event, on September 17, 2020. There will be no charge to attendees because we understand the economic pressures our friends in the industry face right now and we do not want cost to be a barrier for participation. There is much to discuss as an industry, including how and when to restart business travel safely, to bring back its economic and other benefits as soon as appropriate. We will convene a wide swath of the industry, along with stakeholders in government and public health, for constructive conversations.
Business travel has always expanded and contracted along with economies, and we believe there are better times for all of us just around the corner. By recommitting ourselves to community, trust, and transparency, we will get through this together. Those of us at SAP Concur are determined to be a positive and collaborative contributor in that effort, and we look forward to connecting with our colleagues in the industry in meaningful ways in the months to come.