The New Generation of Business Travelers. By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends Wednesday, 27th November 2013
Exclusive Feature: With one more month left in the year, all eyes are focused on what's to come in 2014;
In the travel industry, that means putting a plan in place that attracts new consumers, retains repeat guests, and identifying where the biggest opportunities for growth are in the consumer segment. Seems the business travel market is pushing the price points for 2014. At the helm of this are the Millennials.
Expedia.com and Egencia released a survey identifying the various travel habits of Millennials, and how they differ from other travelers.
The Future of Travel study asked respondents how they conduct business and leisure travel – their likes, dislikes, preferences and pet peeves. The study found that "Millennial" travelers - defined as those between 18 and 30 years old - have sharply different business and leisure travel habits and expectations than do their older peers. The most impressive difference: Millennials are far likelier to book on their mobile devices, and embrace loyalty programs while they travel.
"Together, Expedia.com and Egencia help many millions of business travelers book travel each year," said Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer, Expedia Inc., of which Expedia.com and Egencia are a part. "As millennials increase their decision-making power at work and at home, they'll be increasingly disruptive in both areas of travel and our aim is to have the right mix of technology, supply and programs to make the most of every trip they take."
According to the survey, half of millennials find loyalty programs important when booking flights (48%) or hotels (51%), versus only three in 10 of travelers aged 46-65 (31% & 30%, respectively). For booking business travel, 32% of those 30 and under report using a smartphone and 20% report booking on a tablet, compared to just 12% for smartphone and 9% for tablet for those over 45.
"Business travelers are early adopters of technology—millennial travelers even faster—and all on the move from device-to-device, from online to offline and back again," said Rob Greyber, president of Egencia. "We realize that keeping pace with millennials and future generations of corporate travelers demands significant focus on mobile in order to sustainably engage them with the right information."
What might prove to be a huge benefit for hotels is how Millennials spend their business travel budget. When it comes to food, it seems money is no object. Globally, the 18-30 year old group seems to be a bit freer when it comes to spending company dollars on business traveler.
The report shows that they'll spend more of their company's money on high-end meals (42%) than they would their own money compared to those aged 46-65 (26%). A perfect excuse for hotel restaurants to make every accommodation to this age group. Millennials will also likely order more room service, simply because they travel slightly more on business, the study revealed.
Other interesting facts from the study revealed:
Millennials are more likely to extend a business trip into a personal vacation than older employees are. 62% of 18-30 year olds have done so, vs. 51% of 31-45 year olds and 37% of 46-65 year olds.
39% of all business travelers report that they work more hours when they travel than they do at the office.
Millennials are also more likely to voice their displeasure. 18-30 year old business travelers are likeliest to post a negative review online, as it relates to their experience with hotels, restaurants, flights, public transportation, taxis and rental cars. Americans under the age of 34 more frequently posted negative reviews of hotels (26%) within the last year, versus 14% of their older peers.
Location matters over everything when business travelers book hotels, with travelers most frequently citing it as the most important feature (53%). The price of the hotel room (44%) narrowly edged out travel time to the city in question (42%) as next most-important features. Airfare price, at 36%, ranked fourth.
For leisure travelers, hotel room price was among the top three most important features (63%).Hotel location and air fare price were tied, at 50%. On-board Wi-Fi was less important for leisure travelers than for business travelers, across all age groups and regions.
When traveling on business, 83% of respondents worldwide feel that they should be personally entitled to travel reward points. Globally, workers under the age of 45 surveyed tend to feel more entitled to their points than older employees.
A majority (68%) of employees are compensated for their business trips on nights and weekends, either with extra money or with additional compensation days. Across all regions surveyed, 18-30 year olds are more likely to be compensated with either money or added vacation time (78%).
How can hotels leverage this information? The way I see it - and the way this report reads - weekend packages are going to be a huge benefit to travelers in 2014.
If more business travelers are wrapping in leisure travel, booking on the fly via mobile, and using loyalty memberships as an incentive, why not offer these travelers a reason to stay a little longer, past working hours?
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
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