By 2020, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) will comprise half of the global workforce. Millennials will have more and more decision-making power within organisations to shape travel policy, which is why it is so necessary for employers to understand the needs, expectations and habits of this next generation of workers, especially when it comes to business travel.
Millennials love to travel
Among the key trends differentiating millennials from previous generations is the “experience economy,” a term coined to define how businesses can create memorable events for their staff and customers. This is especially true for the travel industry, with 72 percent of millennials choosing to spend more money on experiences than material items.
With increasing numbers of millennials working from home or working flexible hours, the line between their personal and professional lives is often blurred. According to a recent Expedia survey, millennials embrace this flexibility and freedom, particularly when it comes to travel, and are jetting off 4.7 times per year on business compared to 3.6 times of their baby boomer colleagues.
Millennials embrace Bleisure
“Millennials are more comfortable with the concept of Bleisure, a term used to define the trend of combining business and leisure travel,” says Chantal Kliche, Retail Manager of Thompsons Travel, Cape Region. “They are more likely to take advantage of having fewer responsibilities at home, such as children or families, and can therefore extend a business trip to gain cultural experiences and see more of the world.”
“As long as your travel policy explicitly articulates where your responsibilities end and the traveller’s begin, this trend can be quite positive overall and result in more productive, engaged and loyal workers in the long term,” adds Kliche.
Technology and travel expectations
Millennials are innately tech-smart and rely on technology for the entire travel booking process. “Millennials expect the business travel ecosystem to be completely seamless and mobile-friendly, from online reviews and mobile check-in to staying connected with their friends while on the road,” says Kliche.
Partnering with Thompsons Travel gives you access to the mobile app CheckMyTrip and web-based booking tool, Thompsons Traveller Online, which allow you to provide your employees with some flexibility and freedom in making their own business travel choices.
“Pre-negotiated airline and hotel rates in place give millennials greater scope to select the options that best suit their needs, within the parameters of the company travel policy,” says Kliche. “In addition, using tech tools such as Mobile Messenger give you and your employees the peace of mind knowing that should travel disruptions occur, these can be managed effectively and efficiently. You know exactly where your staff are, at the touch of a button.”
The future of business travel
Business travel is a high-in-demand job perk. New research has found that 30 percent of business travellers would accept a lower-paying job if it meant they could travel more for work.
“Companies need to adapt their business travel offerings to accommodate growing trends,” says Kliche. “Freedom, flexibility and work-life balance on the road are some of the key focus points for millennial business travellers. We can assist in crafting business travel solutions that meet these needs and more.”