Business travel used to be a very cut and dry matter. In most cases, businesses had stringent guidelines for booking travel, occasionally limiting your options to only service providers that were within their trusted network. Today, business travelers are younger and have a different idea of what business travel should look like. They are actively changing the dynamic of how we think of travel for business. Here’s how:
One major difference that we are seeing with Millennials, in particular, is their willingness to travel just about anywhere to have a new experience. Even small cities have something interesting to offer to this generation. They are more likely to arrive at their destination, go out and explore the city, and try the local foods than previous generations. As such, they don’t want to be trapped in a drab hotel room. In fact, they want the chance to book their own hotels or AirBnBs, if that is a better option. They don’t want to overspend to have a night in a premium hotel. They would prefer a cheaper room that is close to the heart of the destination, that puts them close to the locals. It’s about the experience, and yes, they’ll get business done too.
More Concerned with Service
Another shift we are seeing is a focus on great customer service. With the advent of so many review and social media sites, Millennials have very little patience for places with poor customer service. Again, they would rather research themselves and find a hotel or car service with great reviews than end up in a bad hotel because that’s “just where our company always books.” Millennials also look for businesses that provide more information in the form of texts and emails so they can stay on track and not have to call around for updates and confirmations.
This is also the age of personalization. Given the fact that Millennials are so much more likely to go out and enjoy their destination cities, they expect more flexibility in their travel budget as well. They may sacrifice the quality of their hotel if they know that they can free up travel money to go eat local food or explore. They prefer to be given a number that they are allowed to spend, rather than strict guidelines per line item on their itinerary.
These are just three of the biggest influences that Millennials are having on business travel today. These changes are forcing businesses to re-evaluate how they book and cover travel expenses to fit the fluid lifestyles of the younger generation.