Millennials (a demographic whose age ranging from 18–34 years old) are increasingly becoming an integral part of the corporate structure. With their diverse backgrounds and Swiss-knifed skills, companies are continuously utilizing the nuanced resource that this young and vibrant workforce offer – which by extension includes business travel.
Considering this unavoidable inflow, understanding their characteristics and varied peculiarities would serve you well (considering that fact that you’re perennially looking for cost cutback opportunities that would enable you attain your financial objectives).
Here are some travelling patterns for you to consider:
1. They’re keen business travellers
By nature this demographic are adventurous, they’re curious and want to see the world. This innate disposition is evident in their personal/leisure travel (a United Nations study postulates that 20% of international tourists are young people). This also, not surprisingly, extends into their corporate travel habits.
Online travel company, Expedia, conducted a research that suggests that these young professionals travel more than their older counterparts: “30-and-unders report travelling 4.7 times per year on business, versus 3.6 times per year among 30-45 year olds, and 4.2 times per year among 46-65 years-olds”.
Considering the stage they are in their professional lives, these corporate trips appear to be “developmental” in nature. This Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report highlights that, “Millennials fly more for conferences, training, recruiting and other one-off reasons related to career development.”
Clearly, corporate travel provides another conduit for them to see the world whilst enhancing their careers simultaneously. Companies who understand this nuance can tweak (or change) current policies as a strategy to retain these youthful employees.
2. Democratic with travel search using mobile
Technological fluency is one of the pivotal idiosyncrasies associated with this group – understandably so, since they were born into and grew up in the age of the internet. This hi-tech hardwiring, often times, sparks a conflict with most corporate mandates.
For business travel, most companies traditionally require employees to make travel plans using specific traditional mediums (either certain travel merchants or other full-service settings) – which can be sometimes arduous from a process perspective. This is typically in contrast to the search tendencies of Millennials (who are more likely to either use the internet or travel apps on their mobile phones).
The aforementioned Expedia research states that “52% of those 30-and-unders report using a hand-held device (smartphone and tablets) versus 21% for those over age 45 to book business travel”.
Brian Robertson, COO, Vision Travel Solutions (Canada’s largest travel management company) further confirms this assertion. He says, “Younger travellers are more apt to be booking through online tools rather than traditional full-service environment because they are used to searching for everything online.”
Travelling isn’t cheap and companies want keep track of their employee’s spend from start to finish. As such, investing in visually appealing and consumer friendly mobile applications – that make business travel booking process painless - is an expedient measure for both the company (financially) and their Millennial workforce (systematically).
3. Place a premium on convenience
Millennials appear to place a pricey value on their comfort whilst travelling. Here are some brow-raising facts:
- Millennials business fliers are 60% more likely to upgrade for extra legroom, and are far more open to paying more for roomier seats, more headroom, and in-flight entertainment, and to buying frequent-flier points or miles than non-Millennials.
As a result, Millennials report paying on average 13% more per airline ticket than the average non-Millennial business flier, (BSG, 2013).
- 40% would pay more to have an open bar on a plane, while another 25% would pay up to $50 more for a childfree plane, (Hipmunk Travel, 2014).
- 37% of 30-and-under business flyers would spend more on room service versus only 21% of 46-65 year olds, (Expedia, 2013).
4. Have a loose grip on the corporate purse strings
Using the point above as justification: it is evident that this group of travellers have refined palates, and accordingly, have no qualms spending more using the company’s credit card.
So, the next time you (as a Manager) review your subordinate’s travel expenses; don’t be surprised when you see hair-raising figures at the bottom of a receipt of a fine dining restaurant.
5. Adopt a “Bleisure” (Business + Leisure) Lifestyle
Millennials don’t seem to have a rigid separation between business and pleasure in the traditional sense – they tend to inject fun into business trips which can sometimes dreary.
According to this 2014 Bleisure report (yes, such report exists),“94% of younger business travelers are ‘more than’ or ‘equally’ likely to take a bleisure trip in the next five years – significantly higher than the worldwide average.” The primary reason it seems is to go a city they’re never been to or experienced.
Talking about killing two birds with one trip.
Obviously, these are just a few of observations of this group – there are most likely many others. The point here is to have a general understanding of what makes these Millennials tick, so you make put in place procedures that keep them motivated and productive. This in turn will affect your overall business output.
Written by Ross Fastuca @Locomote