ACTE files for bankruptcy amid Covid-19

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has filed for Chapter 11, putting the final nail in the coffin following its end-March announcement that all global and one-third of its US staff were laid off.

The ACTE Status Update announcement on its website, dated July 7, 2020, indicates that it has ceased all operations.

ACTEConnect, when it was first launched, aimed to be a one-stop resource of the industry’s intellectual capital, research, and best practices

The update stated: “The dual impacts of the cancellation of the Asia conference due to the security situation in Hong Kong, and Covid-19 pandemic cancellations have been blows that ACTE, as a small, non-profit association has not been able to withstand.

“For our members and sponsors, we want to say how deeply disappointed we are that we have not been able to continue our operations. When we opened ACTEConnect for the whole industry, we were inspired to see the resiliency of our community and the determination to rebuild. We regret we have not been able to find a lifeline to allow ACTE to continue to play a role in your recovery.”

Several Asian corporate travel managers interviewed, who’ve had past dealings with ACTE, voiced their disappointment.

Former ACTE regional chair Peter Koh, said: “I have been a member since 2001 and I have grown together with the association. I have fond memories of ACTE providing the platform for me to learn and connect with good people from the travel industry. ACTE’s events always offered good content and were relevant to the corporate travel industry.”

A corporate travel buyer in retail commented: “This is sad news indeed. With the current turmoil at GBTA (Global Business Travel Association; whose CEO is on administrative leave for alleged misconduct), I was hopeful ACTE would step in and fill the gap. They have had a much stronger presence in Asia compared to GBTA.”

Florence Robert, regional travel manager Asia Pacific, Ericsson, whose ACTE membership lapsed last year, said she was waiting for developments at GBTA to unfold before deciding if the company would renew its membership.

A buyer in the pharmaceuticals industry observed: “The business model of such associations will be stressed. They need to balance member subscriptions versus sponsorships, paid content, etc; it is very tricky especially in these times.”

The level of association activity to conduct outreach and address an audience to generate new members is highly complex, he added.