StarChapter of August: GBTA Austin


With chapters all across the nation, local leaders of The Global Business Travel Association can definitely share a tip or two about how to run a successful chapter. We spoke with John Hampton, the President of GBTA Austin Texas, and learned that it really is all about listening to members and letting them know how they can make an impact. The key is year and event-round communication. Read our interview with Hampton and get inspired.


1. What was GBTA Austin’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?
This past year, we have focused on content and education to engage our members. With this strategy we utilized our website and social media to help communicate this to our members throughout the year. We based the content and education on the travel industry, looked at the top rated education sessions at GBTA convention and polled our members on topics that they felt would help them in their current roles. 


2. Can you tell me about a successful event/meeting that you organized in the past year?
June Meeting 2014: Where Exactly is the Middle? Presented by Donna Brokowski, Partner Solutions Group - Travel and Transport. This was a view from each side of the negotiation table – how suppliers and buyers approach negotiations and where they can find a common ground. Through our survey, we found that 95% of the attendees felt that the event exceeded their expectations and that it related to their jobs. Given this great feedback, we shared the content and meeting ideas with the Dallas Chapter and they in turn utilized the content and speaker for the Texas Education Day, where over 200 travel professionals could be a part of.


3. What are secrets of running a successful chapter?
Listen to your members. Though this is not a secret, I feel it is important to make sure all members feel that they have a hand in the direction our chapter is heading. The more personalized feeling that they get the more likely they will get more involved. After each meeting we provide a survey to our members via our StarChapter website. We always ask the question to our members on what other meeting topics/ideas they would like to have. To get our members more involved, every January we do a Chapter Committee round-up, where we spend the majority of the meeting talking with each member about all our committees that they can get involved with and how they can make a bigger impact. During this meeting we have our Committee Chairs talk to groups of 4-8 people about their committees and the commitment needed. We rotate the Committee Chairs through each group until each member has been a part of all Committee conversations.


4. Do you get inspired from other GBTA chapters?
Of course. Being in Texas, we have 3 other chapters and their Presidents communicate on a monthly basis. We also reach out to other chapters for ideas on meetings and ways to utilize our website to our advantage. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. We have a lot of great minds and ideas in our fellow GBTA chapters and we should not be afraid to reach out to them for help or learn from their ideas.


5. What's the best advice you can share with other volunteers? 
Getting involved with a volunteer organization is just that, getting involved. Try to be more than just a member and you will increase your ROI 10 fold. The personal and professional development is outstanding within the chapter. By being a part of the board you are gaining additional skill sets that will help you in your everyday roles: public speaking, listening, team management, networking, and the list goes on and on.  


6. What is in stored for GBTA Austin members next?
Continued focus on ROI. Our goal is to have each member leave each event with a direct correlation to ROI and the success of their own business.


7. How did StarChapter help you run the chapter and reach your goals?
StarChapter helped us be more organized and to communicate effectively to our members. By having a tool such as StarChapter, it allowed us to build a website with conformity and precise information on GBTA and design Newsletters/emails to send out to our members to keep them informed. StarChapter pretty much became a one-stop-shop for us to communicate with our members. For a few years we have struggled with how to effectively communicate with our members outside of our monthly meetings. But with the addition of StarChapter, we have been able to effectively utilize the many areas of the website and functions of communications to support our goals. 


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