Sam Sterry's blog: Millennials and travel
13 November 2017
Millennials are changing the business travel landscape says Sam Sterry, head of SME at Europcar
You'd think that with the emergence of new technologies such as facetime, video conferencing and face-to-face meetings would be a thing of the past. But our own research* shows that 38% of business travellers still value meeting their clients and suppliers in person. And it seems it's millennials who are travelling more for business than their older colleagues. 38% of 18 to 34 year-olds (millennials) spend five to six hours a week on trips, compared to 15% of 45 to 54 year-olds, all of which is influencing developments in business travel.
Across all age groups, three to four hours is the average amount of time business travellers spend on trips for business each week. But, again, it is the millennials that represent the highest proportion at 41%, compared to 27% of 34 to 44 year olds and 18% of 45 to 54 year olds.
It also seems that business travel is emerging as a lifestyle for millennials, with almost a quarter (24%) combining business with leisure for a 'bleisure' trip. Technological advances that help save time are allowing business travellers to grab extra recreation time while away from home.
But what does new generation of traveller want on their business journey? Well it appears that millennials actually rate free WiFi or 'staying connected' over 'breakfast included'. WiFi came top of the choices for 82% of tech savvy millennials, with free breakfast coming second at 69% and free parking third at 59%.
According to our research, it seems that today's business travellers are spontaneous, with over a third (34%) making their own arrangements just one day before they travel and almost half (45%) leaving plans to a week before they travel. However, as the group most likely to add a holiday onto a business trip, it's unsurprising that millennials rate loyalty programmes as their top business travel benefit. In contrast, travellers aged 35 to over 55 consider access to exclusive deals and discounts as a top perk.
The myriad businesses that serve the business travel market - as well as employers - need to enhance their offerings beyond traditional products and services, to meet the needs of the modern, independent business traveller. This means responding to more flexible working patterns and the trend towards leisure add-ons.