McCormick Place convention center

The biggest business travel event of the year is slated for August 3 to 7 in Chicago. Nearly 7,000 members – responsible for managing $345 billion of global business travel expenditures annually – will converge on the Windy City for the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) annual convention. Over 175 education and professional development sessions are combined with over 400 travel suppliers who will set up their booths on the trade show floor. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your time at the 2019 GBTA Convention.

Plan Your Agenda

Support a great cause. The GBTA Awareness 5K Run/Walk is happening on Sunday, August 4 at 7:00am. Run or walk around Burnham Harbor while helping to put an end to child trafficking. Register on the GBTA Convention website or on-site.

Travel Leaders Corporate is sponsoring the Welcome Kick-Off Session in the Convention Arena on Sunday night from 6:00 to 7:00pm. Gabe Rizzi, President of Travel Leaders Corporate, and Jon Taffer, host of Spike TV's Bar Rescue, will address the attendees.

Meet up with us! Make an appointment to talk with a member of the Travel Leaders Corporate sales team or drop by our booth on the convention floor – we’re in booth 119.

On Monday, August 5 at 8:00am, catch Anthony Paola, CMP, Managing Director, Meetings & Events at Travel Leaders Corporate, speaking on a panel at a session entitled, “Merging Travel & Meetings: What's the Next Evolution of Travel Management?”


Hopefully, you’ve already booked your accommodations because rooms will be in high demand that weekend. But there may be some last-minute cancellations that could help you snag your favorite spot.

The Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is connected to the McCormick Convention Center allowing you close proximity to GBTA events. You can’t get much closer to the convention floor. But you’re also close to Chicago’s main attractions - sights like the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and Soldier's Field are all within the immediate vicinity.

Swissotel Chicago is the chain's only location in North America and is another great location to make your home base during the convention. Traditional Swiss hospitality is on display here, along with all the modern conveniences of a rooftop workout facility complete with Peleton bikes and The Palm restaurant on-site.

Getting Around

Getting to the convention area from the airport is usually done by taxi or a ride share service. You can also take the “L” train from the airport to downtown. Visit the Chicago Transit Authority website to see how the transit system is laid out and familiarize yourself with the route.

McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America, so make sure you pack good walking shoes and comfortable clothes to help make those long days a little easier on your feet. Scooters from Bird, Bolt and Jump are available for hourly rentals via mobile phone apps. Just be sure to replace it in a designated area after your ride.

Bleisure Time

If your significant other is traveling with you, make the most of your ‘bleisure’ time and take an evening stroll along the city's Riverwalk to check out the architecture and waterside restaurants. Visit an iconic blues club for a romantic evening of music and dancing. Buddy Guy’s Legends on Wabash Avenue offers a chance to glimpse the music legend himself while listening to lively blues music.

Baseball fans shouldn’t miss the chance to visit historic Wrigley Field on the city’s north side to catch the Cubs in action against the Brewers or the A's. Order your hot dog ‘Chicago Style’ which means it’s topped with yellow mustard, green relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, peppers and a dash of celery salt served in the all-important poppy seed bun.

The Windy City has a strong literary tradition - Edgar Rice Burroughs, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sandra Cisneros have all lived and worked here. The American Writers Museum is on the Magnificent Mile and features exhibits on American literature and a unique gallery dedicated to the Mind of a Writer. Find a few moments of quiet in their reading room.

Ready to speak with a corporate travel expert about how you can better manage your business travel? Get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation that can help lower airfare costs and get some added-value perks for your travel spending.