ACTE Year-end Letter

It goes without saying that 2009 was a challenging year for our industry and many others. However, I remain proud to be part of a group of business travel professionals that have led the industry through these difficult times and will be the leaders that define the new reality for 2010 and beyond. ACTE members around the world have again demonstrated themselves to being the leaders of leaders.  Furthermore, I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve the association as your president.  
ACTE itself was not immune to the realities of this trying year. In addition to facing the economic downturn, ACTE was subject to false rumors and media reports of impending merger or collapse. But as they say, "The best way to dispel a rumor is to prove it to be wrong," and so here we are. Not only has ACTE accomplished a lot 2009, we are truly excited about what we have planned for 2010 and beyond.  So as 2009 comes to a close, I’d like to share with you some of the highlights and headlines. 

• In 2009, ACTE held 60 industry events around the world with nearly 10,000 business travel professionals in attendance.  ACTE continues to bring together the leaders and decision makers of the industry for education, networking and collaboration.

• The ACTE Global Education Conference in Prague received a 100 percent satisfaction rating from attendees. At a time when the world was focused on the devastating impact of the global recession, this event drew the best and brightest together to define the way forward for our industry. The optimism, energy, and collaboration of this event really made it one of the best ACTE Conferences ever.

• And that is not meant to take anything away from our other outstanding events. In fact, 95 percent of attendees at the Washington DC Global Education Conference rated their experience as Good/Excellent and 97 percent of buyer attendees indicated that the conference was worth their time and money. The Canada Education Conference in Toronto drew record attendance again, as well as being one of the most fun conferences I’ve ever attended. In Asia-Pacific, over 96 percent of corporate buyer attendees rated the Regional Education Conference as Good/Excellent. The bottom line is that ACTE has had another very successful year of global education and networking events. 

• ACTE leadership represents our membership from all around the world.  New or returning board members Greeley Koch (Acquis Consulting), Mary Casey (Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide), Susan Lichtenstein (Cisco Systems), Meredith Smith (Merck & Co.), and Annemarie Reininger (BottomLine Group) joined ACTE leadership in 2009. The Board is fully committed to delivering member value and enhancing the values that make ACTE unique.  

• This year we also say goodbye to someone special who has made a difference to our industry. Susan Gurley has served as the Executive Director of ACTE since 2005.  During her tenure we have experienced tremendous growth and the development of ACTE into a professional association – representative of the senior status of our members. Susan has left an indelible mark on ACTE and the travel industry as a whole and will be sincerely missed. 

• Following the 2010 ACTE Global Education Conference in Chicago, we will have the first European president of the association take over - Chris Crowley from BCD Travel. This is a new milestone for ACTE and further shows what a global organization we have become over the last twenty years.  

So as we look forward, we have even more exciting plans for ACTE in 2010 and beyond.  After years of adding additional events for our members all around the world, in 2010 we will focus on taking all these events ‘to the next level’. For twenty years ACTE has always been known for our superior industry education and speakers. In the future you can expect that the ACTE events you attend will present you with information in new ways and challenge you to be part of shaping the future for our industry. 

The ACTE Global Education Conference in Chicago – May 2010 – will be unlike any travel industry event you have ever attended.  We are working on new ways to engage the delegates and speakers. This event will bring together the global business travel community in a way that it has never been before. You don’t want to miss out on this conference – registration is already open

As we end 2009, I wish each of you a safe and enjoyable holiday and all the best for 2010.   I look forward to seeing you in Chicago, Singapore, Berlin, Calgary or one of the other great ACTE events next year.