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2016 Millennial Travel Trends: Not Business As Usual

Millennials are fast becoming the generational majority: By 2030, U.N. statistics show that there will be 22 million more U.S. Millennials than non-Millennials. And good or bad, there’s no denying that these digital natives are shaking things up in many industries.

You may think this trend doesn’t apply to the corporate travel world (business travel is business travel, right?), but think again: a recent study found that 38% of Millennials travel for business, compared to only 23% of Gen Xers and 8% of Baby Boomers. Their influence in this market is sure to keep growing.

So what, exactly, do Millennials do differently when it comes to business travel? Let’s break it down.

Speedy technology wins over hands-on service . . .

In general, Millennials want flexibility, quick access to information and a minimum of hoops to jump through above all else. They are less interested in traditional, hands-on hospitality and service.

Another report states that 36% of Millennial travelers prefer automated kiosk check-ins to a personal check-in with hotel staff, compared to only 19% of older generations. And they are more likely than Baby Boomers to use travel apps for booking hotels, hotel check-in, booking car rentals, and checking reviews.

. . . but face-to-face beats tech for business

Despite their general love of technology, the majority of Millennials (57%) agree that face-to-face meetings can’t be beat when it comes to getting business done. In this area, tradition trumps innovation.

Millennials also book their own business trips less often than older travelers. Combined, these two factors could cause a major trend toward using corporate travel management services as Millennials corner the business travel market.

Internet access is no longer a “perk”

Millennials like to fit work in wherever they can on business trips, and that requires 24/7 connectivity. For the digital natives, Wi-Fi in airports and hotels isn’t a perk—it’s a necessity.

With free Wi-Fi available everywhere from fast-food restaurants, to coffee shops, to low-budget hostels, Millennials reject paying for the service at a hotel or in an airport. They also don’t want air travel to interrupt their productivity: In-flight Wi-Fi is the most important airline amenity for 46% of millennial business travelers.

The new standard: mixing business and pleasure

Millennials prefer to work in social spaces rather than private areas, with 36% choosing the hotel lobby over an in-room desk. As a result, the design of hotel lobbies is becoming more work-friendly.

Finally, 86% of Millennials will happily extend a business trip into a leisure trip (a practice known as “bleisure” travel). Only 56% of Gen Xers and 20% of Baby Boomers are willing to do so. Clearly, Millennials are leading the charge when it comes to embracing “bleisure” trips—which could prove to be good news for work/life balance!

What do you think about Millennial-driven changes in the business travel world? Let us know in the comments below!

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