Travel Apps: Baby Boomers vs. Millennials

A recent GBTA Foundation study released in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel surveyed more than 500 North American business travelers looking at business travelers’ booking behaviors and found some interesting differences when it comes to Baby Boomers (55+) and Millennials (18-34) and their use of travel apps.

While smart phones are practically universal among business travelers, adoption of travel apps is not. Less than half of the business travelers surveyed have downloaded airline (46 percent), hotel (45 percent), travel reservation (34 percent) or general travel (23 percent) apps.

When given a selection of purposes for travel apps, business travelers were most likely to use them for checking their flight status (39 percent), flight check-in (38 percent), navigation (37 percent), looking up information (34 percent) and booking hotels (33 percent). Less common uses included expense tracking (18 percent), making restaurant reservations (18 percent) and requesting a taxi/rideshare service (16 percent).

Both Millennials and Gen-X (35-54) travelers are more likely than Baby Boomers to have downloaded each of four types of travel apps (hotel, travel reservation, general travel and review) on their smart phones. Millennials and Gen-X travelers have similar adoption rates with the exception of ground transportation apps, downloaded by Millennials at a higher rate.


When it comes to how the apps are used, Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to use apps for booking hotels, hotel check-in, booking car rentals, checking reviews and online translation. Gen-X travelers are more likely than Baby Boomers to use travel apps for navigation, hotel check-in, tracking expenses, booking car rentals and online translation.

When it comes to awareness of features for hotel apps, Baby Boomers along with low-frequency business travelers are most commonly unaware of all features.


Why Use Travel Apps?
When asked why they use travel apps, business travelers commonly mention convenience, ease of use and having access to information.


What Does this Mean for Travel Programs?
The levels of adoption for travel apps are similar to adoption rates of other types of apps including banking, games, search and navigation, so this area presents an opportunity for travel programs to assess and incorporate the mobile apps that they consider useful and could help travelers not only stay compliant with travel policy, but also make the experience of business travel a better one.

Want to know more? Register for a webinar on October 20 where GBTA will further discuss the study and its findings.

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