March 28, 2017
Understanding the needs and expectations of millennials is crucial to employers’ future business success. The Travel Talk in March takes a look at the largest generation’s travel habits and how to adapt your travel program to fit their needs.
Millennials have recently surpassed baby boomers as the largest, living generation, consisting of the children born between 1982 and 2002, and is comprised of about 81 million children who have taken many who have already entered college and the workforce. This group of individuals is intrinsically tech savvy and socially minded, and according to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index – are nearly twice as likely to want to travel more for business than the baby boomers were. This desire for travel is the reason that the Boston Consulting Group is predicting that by 2020 millennials will account for close to 50% of all business travel spending.
This is relevant to companies for many reasons. First of all, giving employees, especially those who fall under the millennial category, certain freedoms – such as mixing leisure travel with business travel, and awarding them flexible hours, allowing them to work in the evenings and engage in leisure activities during traditional work hours, creates a culture of engagement and increased loyalty to an organization.
Secondly, a positive travel experience will offset the negative effects on family life. Most millennial business travelers say that business travel has a positive impact on job satisfaction, however over half of millennial business travelers say that business travel has a negative impact on their family life. This is a new challenge for employers compared to the gen X and Baby boomer generations. The millennial group is busy juggling work, new marriages, even children. Creating this positive travel experience gives them more time to focus on these responsibilities and less time dealing with the headaches that can come with travel.
So what are millennials looking for?
Rideshare services. Millennials like variety and rarely carry cash. Because of this, they are more likely to use services such as Airbnb or Lyft. 81 percent of millennials prefer to use ridesharing over taxis, according to Skift.
Roomsharing is also a popular trend among millennials. Similar to ridesharing, these options offer variety, and seamless expensing options with business profiles make paying for their overnight stay easier than ever.
Despite their technological inclinations, millennials still prefer to meet face to face. They believe in the significance of meeting in person and its importance in helping businesses grow, develop, and sustain customer relationships.
They also want to have options available 24/7. These options aren’t limited to how they book their travel, but even how they spend their time when traveling. Bleisure is a term that was created due to many of these individuals incorporating elements of play into business trips by extending their stay or mixing leisure activities into their work itineraries. The bleisure concept is extremely significant – about 70% of travelers say it is important to have the option to extend their business trip for leisure
Lastly, a seamless, mobile experience. As mentioned, millennials are intrinsically tech savvy – they understand and enjoy using technology to stay connected. Whether it be to review flight itineraries, or post details about their trip to social media – they need to have these mobile applications work together in real time to enjoy a positive experience.
What can companies do to cater to the millennial group?
First, pay for additional conveniences that improve the millennial traveler experience, such as TSA precheck to speed up the security screening process, or pay for WiFi to allow their travelers to take advantage of their time in the airport; completing any time sensitive work before arriving at the hotel. This allows them the flexibility to enjoy their time in a new city, meet up with old friends, or maybe just relax once they get to their hotel.
Companies also need to make sure they are considering the diverse needs of business travelers. To do this, provide different options for boomers, gen x-ers, and millennials, which helps them cater to each generation’s opinion of what the travel experience should look like.
Review travel policies. We’ve already mentioned today that business travel can have a positive impact on job satisfaction, when managed correctly. Take a look at your policy – does it allow employees to mix business travel with leisure – within acceptable guidelines of course? Use this bleisure concept to empower employees with a flexible, seamless, and tailored experience to gain happy, well rested, and more productive employees. It’s not a secret that happy employees are more loyal, which makes for good business, use it to your advantage.
Companies should also partner with innovative companies that provide the booking options millennials are looking for. Some of the top innovative companies that have captured the attention of Short’s include Fairfly, which maximizes savings by tracking flights after booking; Freebird, which empowers travelers to book a new ticket on any airline, at no additional cost, in the event of a cancellation or delay; Lyft and Uber, rideshare services; and Airmule, which allows travelers to sell their luggage space.
Finally, partner with a travel management company who keeps their finger on the pulse in the industry. At Shorts, we’re continually working towards just that.