How to Communicate Travel Policy Change in the Age of Generational Diversity
by Cassie Sclafani, on May 20, 2019
The travel industry is changing at a rapid pace. Each day it feels like there are new developments in our ever-changing industry. With this comes the challenge for both travel managers and travel management companies (TMCs) of how to effectively communicate these changes. From travel policy to unused tickets to support, communication and adoption can be daunting.
The communication and acceptance of new travel policies across the diverse generations in today’s work force can be particularly challenging to implement company-wide. The one thing the entire workforce – from Baby Boomers to Gen Z – has in common when it comes to new travel policies is asking the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Knowing that companies nowadays have an extremely diverse workforce — Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996) and Gen Z (1997 and beyond) — it’s probably no surprise that employees all respond to change differently. Knowing how to effectively communicate with your audience when explaining ‘what’s in it for them’ for travel policy changes can alleviate potential conflicts.
If communicating change to your employees is a daunting task, we hear you. Here are some recommendations on how to effectively communicate with the different subsets of your workforce.
Boomers are typically executives and senior managers. Being so, Boomers know the ins and outs of their industry. Their preferred communication style is face-to-face open and direct. But keep in mind that this group is increasingly using electronic media more (welcome aboard, Baby Boomers).
Gen X are typically in the middle of a company hierarchy. They are well adapted to change, tending to be flexible and self-reliant. Their preferred communication style is electronic devices, such as email. Communicating with this group in short, direct messages and sharing information immediately are the most effective tactics.
Millennials tend to be first level managers in organizations. Most importantly, they value connectivity. They grew up with cell phones, the Internet, email, and text messaging. Similar to Gen X, effective communication for Millennials is frequent, accurate, specific, and immediate.
Like Millennials but even more digitally native (if you can believe it), Gen Z travelers are currently at the entry level in their organizations. Gen Z doesn't just value connectivity, they expect it. Cell phones have always been smartphones with the Internet, email, text messaging, social media and cameras, so they've always been able to express themselves. Effective communication for Gen Z is timely and specific, with an emphasis on empowering them ("The easiest way to do X is to do Y.").
The travel management industry is always evolving, and travel policy changes are no different. Getting to know your audience ahead of time and understanding how to explain ‘what’s in it for them’ is a proactive step in getting acceptance and maintaining adoption of new policy changes across the board. Figure out who they are and what works for them — whether it’s with face-to-face conversation, emails, or telecommunication.
One thing that helps all bookers and travelers, no matter when they were born or where they sit in the company? Out-of-policy flags right in the air, hotel and car rental results with explanations of why the option falls out of policy. These timely reminders of policy make it easier for everyone to find travel options that work for them and for the company. Learn more about AmTrav's in-app travel policy features.
Written by: Samantha Seymour