Generation Y, the new face of business travel
When travelling for business, Millennials enjoy meeting new people and exploring new cities. As they advance in their careers, their decision-making power within their companies will grow, creating with it a new form of business travel.
Why take an interest in the business travel of Generation Y?
First of all, because of the potential: Millennials currently make up about one-third of all passengers on business flights in the United States and their share should rise to 50% by the year 2020, while that of Baby Boomers will drop to 11%.
Secondly, they spend more on travel than members of other generations, according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group. When travelling for business, they indulge in extras: they frequently make last-minute reservations, opt for refundable tickets, change their seat for one with more legroom, make changes to their itinerary, and splurge on high-end meals or onboard Wi-Fi, all of which leads to higher-than-average business travel expenditures.
Booking and planning travel
Spontaneity and connectivity are the hallmarks of Gen Y business travellers, so mobile devices are crucial: nearly one third (32%) of Millennials use smartphones to book travel while 20% use tablets, compared to just 12% of business travellers over 45. They are also much more likely than their elders to use mobile devices to enhance their travel experience: nearly three-quarters of them have travel apps on their smartphones.
for Gen Y, meetings have seven possible purposes: celebrate, decide, educate, ideate, network, produce and promote
To satisfy this demanding clientele, the Marriott chain has introduced an innovative concept that reinvents how meetings are planned. Meetings Imagined is a very visual, social site that offers expert advice, information on the latest trends in the world of event planning and hundreds of inspiring photos to stimulate creativity. Users of the site can work with the hotels to design customized experiences or browse the ideas proposed by participating hotels. They can also post their favourite images on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. The concept was the result of research showing that, for Gen Y, meetings have seven possible purposes: celebrate, decide, educate, ideate, network, produce and promote. So instead of concentrating solely on dates, rates and floor plans, the Meetings Imagined approach focusses on the specific purpose of the meeting to create and design a more personal experience.
The importance of social networks
The majority (80%) of young business travellers attach considerable importance to online reviews when planning travel. They are also much more likely to post a negative online review of a hotel, restaurant or mode of transport (airline, public transit, taxi or rental car): 26% of those 34 and under said they had done so in the last year, compared to 14% of their older peers. Hotels were the most popular subjects of negative reviews from US business travellers, just ahead of restaurants.
The popularity of “bleisure” travel
The line between business and leisure is become increasingly blurred, particularly among young people. According to a survey conducted by the Hilton Garden Inn chain, 84% of Gen Y business travellers are willing to extend a business trip to take in a few days of leisure, a much higher number than their older peers. Furthermore, 65% said that exploring a new city was the best part of a business trip.
Are Gen Y travellers loyal?
although inclined to join loyalty programs, they do not actually show a lot of brand loyalty
Young business travellers are more likely to join loyalty programs: half of them take such programs into account when booking flights (48%) and hotels (51%), compared to a third of travellers ages 46-65 (31% and 30%, respectively). That being said, although inclined to join loyalty programs, they do not actually show a lot of brand loyalty. In fact, they are less brand loyal than their elders and more apt to switch from one airline or hotel chain to another if they believe the loyalty program is better for them. In fact, Gen Y business travellers do not seek the same program benefits as their colleagues. For example, they are more likely to use airline miles and points on free or discounted travel rather than on upgrades.
Youth hostels, an interesting alternative to traditional hotels
Youth hostels are becoming more popular among hip young business travellers – especially those on a tight budget – who don’t want to spend an entire evening alone in their room. Generator Hostels is one such chain: on certain days of the week, particularly during the off-season, nearly 20% of its guests are young business travellers. Another example is the Fusion in Prague, which is both a hotel and youth hostel. It offers individual standard rooms and dormitory-style accommodations, as well as non-traditional meeting spaces like its 360° Lounge Bar and Playroom, which features over-sized seating attached to the wall that can also be folded up and out of the way. In addition, its social media presence enables business travellers to meet other guests with similar interests, even before their arrival.
Young business travellers are still in the process of trying out different brands to determine what appeals to them most and best corresponds to their life style and travel habits. It is the ideal time for hotels, restaurants and other tourism stakeholders to listen to them and try to meet their expectations for they are the travellers of today… and tomorrow!
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− Bachman, Justin. "The Millennials Have No Patience for Your Corporate Travel Policies," businessweek.com, August 14, 2013.
− Barton, Christine, et al. "Traveling with Millennials," bcgperspectives.com, March 18, 2013.
− Expedia. "Future of travel report," viewfinder.expedia.com, October 14, 2013.
− Internationalmeetingsreview.com. "Hilton Survey Looks at Millennial Business Travel Trends," July 18, 2013.
− Lee, Teresa Y. "Segmenting Millennial Travelers Business vs. Leisure," hvs.com, January 7, 2014.
− Sapusek, Shelby. "Business Travelers Survey: Millennials mix business with leisure," businesstravelexclusive.com, July 29, 2013.