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A new study released today from the GBTA Foundation, in partnership with American Express, reveals that Millennials are significantly more likely to want to travel more for business than Baby Boomers (45 percent to 26 percent, respectively). In addition, a majority of Millennials (57 percent) believe technology can never replace face-to-face meetings to get business done.
The study dug deeper to find out how Millennials feel about many things related to business travel.
Airline and Airport Amenities
When it comes to airline and airport amenities, Millennials, not surprisingly, have different desires than Baby Boomers. When asked to select one amenity all airlines should offer, Millennials care more about free Wi-Fi on flights than Baby Boomers (30 percent compared to 17 percent) and are less likely than Baby Boomers to want free checked bags (34 percent compared to 47 percent). They are also much more likely to book a flight offering free Wi-Fi than Baby Boomers (49 percent compared to 39 percent).
At the airport, Wi-Fi is again paramount for Millennials, with 54 percent looking for free Wi-Fi compared to 44 percent of Baby Boomers. In fact, it is even more important to them than getting through security smoothly. Business travelers overall rank getting through security easily (52 percent) top among airport amenities. When you break it down by age group though, only 35 percent of Millennials compared to 59 percent of Boomers find this important. As most Millennials are only familiar with business travel post-9-11 travel procedures, the current practices may not seem as laborious to them as older travelers.
When booking hotels, it is very important for business travelers to be close to the place they need to visit for work (87 percent), however, all things being equal, three quarters (76 percent) also say they are more likely to stay at a hotel offering free Wi-Fi than at one that does not. When looking at other hotel features, Millennials are much more interested in having access to a pool or fitness center than Baby Boomers (53 percent compared to 40 percent) while access to a business center is more important to Baby Boomers (56 percent).
Corporate Cards Over Personal Cards
Business travelers overall are more satisfied with using a corporate card (77 percent) for expenses on the road than their personal card (62 percent) and Millennials show the greatest preference for using corporate cards rather than their personal ones.
Younger business travelers are much more likely to use social networking for a variety of purposes when traveling for work than their older cohorts. Whether it is to meet up with friends (46 percent compared to 31 percent of overall business travelers) or colleagues (33 percent compared to 24 percent) or to research company reviews (37 percent compared to 28 percent), Millennials much more often turn to social networking sites for making plans and decisions when on the road for work than business travelers overall.
Understanding the wants and needs of Millennial business travelers can help both travel buyers and suppliers to create a more satisfactory business travel experience for this newest group of road warriors. Stay tuned for another post on the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™, in partnership with American Express, to learn more about how business travelers feel about their travel experience and how those feelings affect their actual behaviors related to travel.