Millennial Business Travellers Changing Corporate Travel

Millennial business travellers in the UK are driving an evolution in corporate travel by demanding cutting-edge digital support throughout their trips and 'bleisure' advice

According to an independent global study commissioned by Travelport, nearly half (44 per cent) of British millennial business travellers now count being unable to access booking information across their devices 24/7 as one of their biggest gripes, compared to one third (32 per cent) of Gen X travellers.

Just one in ten (12 per cent) baby boomers, and two fifths (38 per cent) say they get frustrated when companies don’t use data analytics to provide highly personalised travel recommendations based on their past preferences, twice as many as baby boomers (18 per cent).

The research, which surveyed 11,000 travellers in 19 countries who took at least one return flight in the last year, revealed that:

Two fifths (42 per cent) of Britain’s millennial business travellers also say a common pain point is being unable to get advice from human consultants during the booking process, suggesting many are eyeing solutions that offer the best of both the physical and digital worlds.

Millennials escalating thirst for ‘bleisure’ – itineraries combining both business and leisure – is also driving change. Two thirds (62 per cent), for example, now regularly extend their business trips by a few days so they can see local attractions, compared to just one quarter (27 per cent) of baby boomers.

To satisfy their ‘bleisure’ needs, most British millennial business travellers are now doing their own research before finalising their travel plans. Among the most common tools used to build their perfect itinerary are review sites (used by 88 per cent) and general travel advice sites (used by 84 per cent). Looking through friends’ travel videos and pictures on social media is also typical for digitally-advanced millennials (82 per cent). More than half (56 per cent) now use voice search technology, compared to two fifths (38 per cent) of Gen X business travellers and one fifth of baby boomers (18 per cent).

If required to book a trip themselves, the majority of millennial business travellers still do so online through their desktop or laptop (51 per cent), or a corporate booking tool (42 per cent).

One quarter, however, say they now book business travel online through their smartphone (27 per cent) or tablet (23 per cent), twice as many as Gen X business travellers (11 per cent smartphone and 12 per cent tablet) and four times more than baby boomers (6 per cent in both cases).

While on their business trips, on average, UK-based millennial business travellers use 18 different categories of apps, nearly twice as many as baby boomers (10 per cent).

Of these, social media apps are the most popular (used by 87 per cent of UK millennial travellers), closely followed by weather, banking and instant messaging apps (86 per cent). High results for ground transportation like Uber (81 per cent), destination guide (81 per cent), travel review and translation (78 per cent) apps further support that it’s not all business for the UK business travellers.

Simon Ferguson, Vice President and Managing Director, Northern Europe, Travelport, commented: “Millennials’ demand for always-on, omni-channel engagement and personalised recommendations keeps rising. Travel management companies, as well as other businesses that support corporate travel booking and management, need to rapidly evolve to ensure these needs are met or risk losing relevance. Travelport stands ready to support businesses as they respond to the rapid changes in customer behaviour. Having spent many years investing in areas such as mobile, data analytics and artificial intelligence, we feel uniquely positioned to help our customers stay ahead of the curve.”