Millennials are redefining business travel: a shift of priorities

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The way we travel for business has dramatically changed in the last decade. From the way we book and plan our trips, to our expectations of a personalized travel experience, our travel habits are much different than just a few years ago. While the modern traveler does not belong to one particular age group, a new generation of business travelers is pushing new habits and priorities. Already populating our workplaces and engaging heavily in travel, millennials are redefining business travel.

Now in their twenties, millennials are already the most frequent business travelers, taking nearly eight trips a year. They are pushing for mobile technology and greater flexibility in the world of business travel. With their demands and expectations, millennials are definitively changing what companies should expect from their traveling employees.

A shift in priorities

A generation of tech savvy digital natives, millennials bring a different attitude to the workplace. Young employees opt for a hyper-connected, flexible workplace that stresses the importance of a healthy work-life balance, yet blurs the lines between on and off time.  Similarly, when millennials pack and go on business, they show a different set of priorities and preoccupations.

Millennials are redefining business travel, traveling for work more frequently and spontaneously than the previous generations. Increasingly knowledgeable and empowered, young business travelers are more engaged with maximizing quality of life. This way, extending a work trip with leisure days is a desirable option for millennials. Not only that, often they want the possibility of taking family with them. These priorities rank the highest in corporations where most travelers are aged 20 to 30 years old.

The shift in traveller priorities: younger travellers versus the rest

CORPORATIONS WHERE MOST TRAVELERS AGED 20-30

ALL CORPORATIONS

Source: Meet The Modern Traveler report - October 2016

How millennials are redefining business travel

Traditionally, the main reason to pack and travel for work is to meet customers or people from another company. Millennials are also doing this, but contrary to the previous generations, younger employees are very likely to travel to attend a conference, training or meeting with coworkers who work in different location.

Is cost savings a priority in business travel anymore?

So… millennials are redefining business travel: young employees are traveling the most and they are doing it differently, with a new set of preferences. What does this mean for corporate travel programs? Modern managed programs must change focus accordingly, even if this means prioritizing traveler satisfaction over cost-savings. Does it sound crazy? Possibly. However, seeing evidence of the behaviors and attitudes that define the new business traveler, companies must accommodate these trends to attract and retain top employees.

The modern business traveler demands a more enjoyable travel experience. One that is productive and highly based on personalization and consumer trends. To meet these demands, travel managers need to take initiatives to improve traveler experience. If employees spend much of their time staring at their smartphones, travel managers must ensure travelers can manager their trip using mobile apps. There are also clear implications for travel policy. For example, business and managers must consider how to include bleisure in their policies. And, while doing so, bleisure can also benefit companies.

As a result of these measures, businesses must start measuring the success of their travel programs differently. In corporations where travelers under 30 are the majority, travel managers are already looking into satisfaction, wellness and retention metrics as equally as savings and compliance.

A new breed of travelers is already on the road. With a new set of priorities and habits, millennials have shaped business travel and now companies must follow suit to adapt their travel programs.