Posted: June 23, 2015

Understanding the business travel habits of millennials
Younger business professionals are traveling more often for work than older employees.

As more of the younger generation continues to enter today's working industries, travel companies are rapidly trying to research and keep up with the growing trends surrounding millennial business travel. From how younger workplace professionals are spending company money during work-related trips to how they're utilizing technology to accommodate travel plans, millennials are certainly bringing their characteristics and traits when it comes to their approach to business travel. Because these younger professionals will make up the majority of hotel and airline customers within the next decade, understanding these business travel habits is what can help the travel and hospitality industries stay afloat with the latest trends surrounding this generation. Take a look at how millennials are slowly changing the current landscape of business travel:

"Millennial business travelers take 4.7 work-related trips per year."

Millennials on the move

Millennials are defined as people who are currently between the ages of 18 and 34, and are very close to accounting for the majority of employees around the world. Studies are showing that more employees in this age demographic are traveling for business than their older counterparts. According to a survey compiled by Expedia, employees under the age of 30 around the world are taking an average of 4.7 business-related tips every year, compared to 3.6 times per year among those aged between 31 and 45 years old. This, in turn, has led to increased spending on business travel, as millennials appear to be more prone to spending company money during these trips. A report conducted by The Boston Consulting Group states that millennial spending on business flights will account for 50 percent of the total market by the year 2020, meaning that travel and tourism industry companies need to begin efforts to attract these travelers immediately.

Christine Barton, a partner of The Boston Consulting Group and lead author of the report, elaborated on how employers and travel companies alike need to start catering their resources and services more toward millennial travelers.

"In as few as five years, millennials will enter their peak earning, spending, and traveling years and surpass the baby boomers in business flight spending," Barton said in a press release. "The window of opportunity for businesses to understand the unique travel approach of this generation and gain its mind share is closing rapidly. Companies will be more successful if they determine an effective millennial strategy now."

Spending habits

Frugality is certainly not a characteristic currently associated with younger business travelers, especially when it comes to their employers' money. The Expedia survey pointed out that 42 percent of business travelers aged 30 and under will spend more of their company's money on high-end meals than they would their own money, whereas only 26 percent of employees aged 46-65 responded with the same answer. In addition, 37 percent of millennials would spend more of company's budget on room service costs, compared to 21 percent of 46-65-year-olds.

Technological dependence

While this should certainly come as no surprise, the incoming young professional generation is more savvy and dependent in relation to utilizing technology during business travel. From seeking out various deals and coupons through Twitter hashtags to utilizing review website resources, millennials are doing their research when it comes to figuring out where to get the best bang for their buck during their business trips. The Expedia survey reported that more than 75 percent of millennials use their smartphones or mobile devices for business purposes while traveling, far more than the other demographics surveyed. This is also a reason why outstanding customer service is so crucial today, as millennials aren't afraid to use their social media powers to voice any experiences of dissatisfaction. The survey pointed out that 26 percent of people under the age of 34 posted a negative review of a hotel, compared to 14 percent of older travelers.    

Millennial business travelers use their smartphone for everything from spending money to reviewing hotel stays. Millennial business travelers use their smartphone for everything from spending money to reviewing hotel stays.

Marketing toward millennials

While these statistics may cause employers to reconsider travel budgets, these figures should leave travel and hospitality companies salivating. This is where creating loyalty programs that cater to younger audiences is crucial, as providing them with more incentives to spend money for your services can lead to a lasting consumer relationship. Because these younger business travelers tend to utilize more leisure time during work-related trips, finding accessible ways to reward loyalty with entertainment or dining benefits is a surefire way to establish customer trust. As for millennials' technological dependence, reaching this core demographic has never been easier than it is right now. Investing more marketing in smartphone apps and social media management are the quickest ways to reach and engage with millennial business travel customers. As this growing demographic will only increase, the time is now for companies to begin steering their marketing efforts towards this spontaneous, curious and eager crowd of business travelers.

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