How is the business travel industry changing
Millennials are transforming the business travel industry - here's how
In 2019, business travel differs significantly from the situation ten years earlier. The past decade has seen a younger, tech-savvy workforce demanding more in return for their work.
The business travel industry needs to evolve to meet these needs. Millennials are continuously shaping the future of business travel - among other things, we are witnessing how this generation makes business travel an experience and prefers to book it themselves. Businesses need to be aware of these widespread trends in order to improve existing business travel policies and adapt them to the growing need for freedom and flexibility demanded by younger business travelers.
Work-life balance: motivation, not laziness
Millennials are sometimes seen as "lazy" or "less work-motivated," but the reality is that they simply have different attitudes when it comes to work. One of the biggest motivations for them is the work-life balance. The traditional 9-5 desk job has become less attractive, and instead more and more people are looking for flexible hours, the ability to work remotely, and the prospect of being able to travel for work.
Finding recognition: Millennials love business travel
This is a generation that wants to feel recognized. She wants new opportunities and doesn't want to be stuck in the same work environment all the time. Much of it comes from social media, the amazing images and contact opportunities with different communities from all over the world that people are exposed to on a daily basis (see digital nomads).
It's a very different mentality than previous generations, such as Generation X & Y, who view business travel as a necessity rather than a privilege and are more concerned about leaving their families alone. Most Millennials, new to family commitments or relationships, see business travel as an opportunity to meet people and network, get away from your desk, see new places, and most importantly, get new experiences.
Bleisure: Experience and work, side by side
The younger business travelers definitely want to do more, and if they go on a business trip they will likely want to extend it.
But while millennials are interested in extending their trips, many feel bad asking for extra days of travel. In fact, a recent study by Hilton Hotels & Resorts found that around 45% of employees admitted they felt guilty about it or feared it would make them look bad in front of management.
This is a great opportunity to stop doing that and keep and motivate your business travelers both in and out of the office. Developing a clear travel policy to support Bleisure Travel will increase employee satisfaction and ultimately lead to more productive business trips.
Self-booking: Introduce a “price-performance mentality”
While there are many options for booking business travel, Millennials have their own preferred method, the same one they would use at home for a personal trip. Actually, it's all about finding the best value for money, so it's mutually beneficial.
Millennials tend to use price comparison websites more heavily and, instead of looking for luxury, may be looking for “experiences” to immerse themselves more in local culture during their trip. That interest in getting the best value for money won't always amount to finding something “cheaper” per se, but it does mean they are on the lookout for bigger discounts or deals, and sometimes they prefer Airbnb to a soulless hotel room.
They will also do their own research to find out what is being said about accommodation and restaurants. Since experiences are valued, millennials are reluctant to waste time and money going anywhere that expectations are not being met. Social media and peer review sites are vital for younger travelers who base their trips on reviews and recommendations.
This is an excellent strategy that businesses should adopt as well. As people begin to shy away from the idea of the "luxury hotel", companies can save costs by encouraging travelers to book themselves. Allowing this freedom is often cheaper - more and more young business travelers are looking for shared accommodation to build more meaningful relationships with their colleagues.
Technical adeptness: maintaining contacts through technology
When employees are traveling, you need to be able to communicate with them and make projects accessible. Thanks to Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, Zoom and Skype, users are always available. Airbnbs and hotels are becoming more and more aware of this and have increasingly better and more reliable WiFi connections.
Although Millennials are the internet generation, they actually prefer face-to-face meetings. If there is the option of traveling to a meeting (even if it's just taking the train to the nearest town), they'd prefer it to calling the office. The technology in this case acts as a complement to the business trip, but not as a replacement.
Just as the entertainment industry has had to adapt to consumer behavior, it is time the business travel industry and businesses did the same with regard to business travel. Modern, productive business travel should strive to create a good, end-to-end experience for travelers, from simple self-bookings to extensions for private travel - before or after the business meeting.
Business trips no longer have to be a burden for anyone! If done right, it should actually help make your employees more engaged and aligned with your company, which in turn will contribute to the overall success of the company.
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