Millennials: Their Place in the Business Travel Landscape
by Cassie Sclafani, on February 7, 2018
It’s important as an employer to understand the needs of employees. Naturally, the unique demands of the millennial generation are no exception. Defined as the those born between 1980 and 2000, millennials comprise 25% of the current workforce. By 2020, that number will leap to 50%, according to a survey conducted by pwc.
The thing is, particular preferences set this generation apart, and the business world sometimes seems ill-prepared to address them.
Most of all, millennials’ penchant for being connected to the digital world is unique. Not only do they enter the workforce with a better grasp of technology than some of their senior colleagues, they expect to use technology in ways that make work align their personal needs. In other words, they’re far less interested in how things “used to be done” and more concerned about what the future holds — especially in relation to their work environment, the corporate structure, business travel perks and advancement opportunities.
So, what does that mean for businesses and business travel as a whole? It’s a bit of a moving target.
According to eMarketer, travel purchases in particular are projected to leap from $26 billion in 2014 to $65 billion in 2018. With millennials making up half the workforce just two years later, and comprising three out of four workers by 2025, implementing mobile travel strategies matters — especially since the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index notes millennials are twice as likely as their baby boomer counterparts to expect frequent business travel as part of their employment.
A business-leisure travel blend
Given millennials are the “mobile generation,” they’re also more apt to work remotely, using technology to stay connected to colleagues. When they do travel, “bleisure” is the name of the game. Blending their personal and professional life, blurred lines are leading employers to offer flexible hours, allow employees to work outside of traditional hours so they can engage in leisure activities, and let employees extend their business travel to include days of leisure and additional travel.
Despite the fact that they want flexibility and remote options, however, the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index found many still prefer face-to-face meetings. In other words, business travel isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s just a matter of wanting to do it (mostly) on the employers’ dime.
Using mobile travel technology
Many employers have yet to catch up with the curve. Most don’t even use mobile technology as a rule. Business Travel News recently conducted a survey that showed only about 40% of companies offered mobile expense filing or mobile air travel booking policies. Given travel budgets are often among the largest company expense, and potentially one of the most disjointed, mobile technology with personalized service can help boost employee compliance while simplifying travel booking and expense reporting processes. They key is to look for solutions that integrate multiple processes — from booking to expense reporting — into a single mobile experience.
There are both clear and surprising benefits to a using a mobile platform for corporate travel. While satisfying a need for a positive user experience, mobile travel technologies let companies hone in on their preferred booking and expense platform, reducing instances of non-compliance. Given mobile travel tools typically report data and expenses in real time, it also helps employers achieve transparency while curbing instances of over-spending.
With reported data in hand, it’s also easier for employers to negotiate deals with hotels, airlines and car rentals, helping employers to align business travelers with their preferred providers, while offering insight into employee preferences.
In short, it’s important to think big picture and longer term when it comes to how you address your business travel policies — particularly when you’re trying to attract the next generation of employees.
By: Jennifer O.