In just a few short years, social media has gone from the domain of a few techies and college students to one of the main avenues that people use to communicate with one another. Indeed for some, it has become a truism that, “if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen.” Given social media’s prevalence today, it would stand to reason that business travelers would share updates from their experiences on the road. A new survey, The Digital Business Traveler: A Survey of Business Travelers in North America, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Nordic Countries, sponsored by Sabre, however, found that business travelers are not using social media as much as the general population.
Despite the prevalence of social media, business travelers do not frequently use it to share experiences while traveling. In each country surveyed, only about one-third of travelers or fewer “often” or “always” use it to share experiences. Another one-fifth to one-third in each country “sometimes” use it to share experiences.
The travelers who at least sometimes share their experiences were asked what experiences they share via social platforms. The vast majority gave non-work-related answers—such as reviews of airlines or hotels or pictures of local attractions. However these figures mask significant age differences. In every country surveyed, Millennials are most likely to “often” or “always” share experiences on social media during business trips. In the United States, for example, 57 percent of Millennials share experiences from their business travel experiences on social media while only 31 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Baby Boomers do so.
While social media does currently not play an important role in business travel overall, as the number of Baby Boomers retire and leave the workforce and the number of Millennials rises as they continue to enter the workforce, social media is likely to become a much more prevalent component of the business travel experience.