The number of business trips is on the rise across all generations, but Millennials are leading the way, according to the new Portrait of Business Travelers (POBT) study by MMGY Global.
As Millennials advance in their careers, they take the most business trips of any generation (7.7 over the past 12 months, compared to 7.4 on average) and expect to take more than any other generation (8.6 in the next 12 months, which is an 11 percent increase). Business travelers are also redefining business trips with increased use of ridesharing and “bleisure” trips.
The POBT includes responses from 1,007 U.S. adults who have taken one overnight business trip and plan to take at least one more during the next 12 months. The following are topline results from the first POBT study:
Millennials Represent the Highest Increase in Business Travel
Millennials took 7.7 trips in the past year and expect to take 8.6 (an increase of 11 percent). Over half of them want to take even more.
All generations of travelers expect an increase in business travel. Overall, travelers took an average of 6.8 business trips in the past 12 months, and travelers expect to take 7.4 trips in the next year (an increase of 9 percent).
The number of business trips is increasing among all generations of travelers, primarily because companies have increased travel budgets and perceive that travel is important to maintain and grow customer relationships. This has a positive effect for both travelers and companies, because three quarters of survey respondents indicate that such travel has a positive impact on their job satisfaction.
With More Business Travel Comes a Struggle for Work-life Balance
While members of all generations appear to embrace business travel, surprisingly, Millennials who are seeing the greatest increase in business trips and express a desire to take more, are significantly more likely to perceive that it has a negative effect on family life.
While 81 percent of Millennial business travelers say that business travel has a positive impact on their job satisfaction, 61 percent agree that business travel has a negative impact on their family life, compared to 40 percent of Gen Xers and 26 percent of Baby Boomers.
48 percent of Millennials wish that they took more business trips, whereas 29 percent of Gen Xers and 15 percent of Boomers do.
Business Travelers Prioritize Technology Over Tradition
Business travelers make choices that prioritize technology, such as selecting hotels that have free Internet access over hotels with a better location, using ride sharing instead of taxis, and preferring to use their phones as a room key over going to the front desk. While Airbnb and HomeAway still haven’t approached the interest levels of branded hotels for business travelers, MMGY said it has seen an increased usage of sharing economy among leisure travelers in the MMGY Global 2016 Portrait of American Travelers and expects to see an increase in interest among business travelers.
84 percent of business travelers choose free Internet access from guest rooms as the most influential feature, whereas 76 percent say proximity to the meeting/conference location is the most influential feature.
81 percent of business travelers prefer using a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft over using a taxi, and 67 percent of business travelers prefer using ride sharing over a rental car.
While four in 10 business travelers express interest in shared accommodations, nearly seven in 10 Millennial business travelers express such an interest.
59 percent of frequent business travelers prefer to check in on their phones and use it as a room key over checking in at the front desk, compared to 25 percent who prefer to check in at the front desk.
Quality of Service Reigns Supreme for Business Travelers
When choosing an airline, quality of service is the most important reason for business travelers across all generations. The quality of service of airlines and hotels matter more to Millennials than to members of other generations.
When choosing an airline, quality of service is the key differentiator for airline preference with 61 percent of travelers choosing it as the key differentiator when selecting a preferred carrier, followed by the airline’s frequent flyer program and the ability to fly nonstop.
When choosing a hotel, there is no consistently dominant reason across all generations. 72 percent of Millennials say quality of service is the most important reason, 69 percent of Gen Xers say quality of rooms and 63% of Boomers say location.
Among Millennials, 75 percent say quality of service is their reason for choosing an airline compared to 55 percent of Gen Xers and 52 percent of Boomers.
The frequent flier loyalty program matters most to 53 percent of travelers, followed by the ability to fly nonstop at 51 percent.
“Bleisure” Travel Leads to Vacations
Having time for leisure on business trips is important to six out of 10 business travelers. This combination of business and leisure, or “bleisure,” is significantly more important to Millennials (73%) than to Gen Xers (56%) and Boomers (46%). Many business travelers engage in “bleisure,” with nearly nine in 10 business travelers extending a business trip for leisure in the past and 59% expecting to do so during the next 12 months.
“Bleisure” vacation extensions are typically 3.6 days long and usually involve family members. Three quarters of business travelers say their spouse or significant other typically accompany them, and 30 percent say their children come along.
58 percent of travelers say their experiences on business trips help them decide where they should go for vacation.