The next generation of entrepreneurs or millennials is changing the way business travel is conducted. They are more tech-savvy, socially conscious with different habits and needs than baby boomers. According to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, millennials are also twice as likely to travel for business.
The line between personal and professional life is not always clear either as some work flexible hours or even from home. Coupled with the fact that most millennials delay marriage and having children, the additional free time allows them to put aside personal time on a business trip. As a result, their expectations of business travel differ from older generations. Corporate travel agencies, in particular, need to adapt or risk losing out to those who do.
Millennials tend to be more adventurous and love to explore new places. They rely on their social networks for input, feedback or recommendations from where they conduct research and shop around. They don’t mind spending money while traveling for work either but it has to be great value for money.
Earning loyalty points in a business environment also encourages them to spend more but don’t be mistaken, millennials remain savvy when it comes to finding the right deal. They might always look for the best value but it doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest offer wins.
From a corporate travel agency perspective, providing millennials with some flexibility to tailor their own travel packages, within reason, could be hugely advantageous. Negotiating special rates with a few airlines and hotels will give millennials a better idea of the option that best matches their requirements. Keep in mind that certain policies and regulations still need to apply regardless of the travel package.
Millennials are the first true digital generation who can’t imagine life without technology but ironically, most of them still prefer face-to-face meetings. This clearly indicates that business travel will continue to play a major part for the millennial traveler in feeling connected.
They rely on technology more than most and making the entire travel booking process effortless and mobile-friendly will dramatically improve the travel experience. With technology advancing at supersonic speed, creating an efficient online system should be first on the list. A good place to start is online reviews, mobile booking, payment and checking in services.
Business travel can be exhausting but with a few minor adjustments, trips could be tailored specifically to the traveler. Perhaps adding in a few personal days before or after the trip is enough to reset and travel back feeling refreshed. One way or another, the millennial generation is shaping the future of the travel industry. The question is; how will the industry embrace the change? Certainly, we at TravelManor, are excitedly to evolve with the industry!