A new study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation (GBTA), shows some surprising differences about the way Baby Boomers and Millennials book business travel.
According to Booking Behaviors: Helping Business Travelers Book Smarter, two of the top three rated factors when business travelers book hotel stays focus on the outcome of the booking, rather than the process. In fact, 56 percent of travelers ranked “finding the right price” among their top three booking priorities, showing they may be receptive to travel buyers’ efforts to convince them to book using methods that yield the greatest savings.
The study, conducted in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, surveyed more than 500 North American business travelers and examined how they make bookings for business trips, with particular focus on hotel bookings revealing differences between types of travelers based on age and the size of their organization.
Findings showed that employees from large organizations were more likely to use a corporate online booking tool (OBT) than those at smaller organizations. When participants were asked about booking through alternative channels for hotel accommodations, 54 percent used a direct channel, 41 percent used a third-party website and 5 percent used an event registration site. The study also found that 42 percent who used an alternative channel said they are not required to share their travel information with their company. According to GTBA, this hampers a travel buyers’ ability to monitor and enforce policy compliance and also means they may not be able to locate their traveler in an emergency.
“In identifying the booking habits of business travelers, the study revealed several ways companies can improve their travel policies,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. “By meeting traveler expectations with corporate booking tools, travel buyers can encourage travelers to stay within the system and not seek out alternative methods. Travel buyers also have an opportunity to influence what travel apps are downloaded and used bringing consistency to the use of travel apps within their travel programs.”
Other key findings taken from the study show that 39 percent of business travelers have used a smart phone to book a hotel for a business trip in the past six months compared to 58 percent using laptops and 43 percent using desktop computers. Millennials book their own trip less often than older travelers, and also communicated more often with others, such as a hotel representative or travel counselor, prior to booking.
The study also found that less than half of the business travelers surveyed have downloaded airline, hotel, travel reservation or general travel apps, however Millennials and Gen-X travelers are more likely than Baby Boomers to have downloaded each of four types of travel apps (hotel, travel reservation, general travel and review).
The study, Booking Behaviors: Helping Business Travelers Book Smarter, is based on an online survey conducted of 521 business travelers in the United States and Canada during April 2015.
GBTA will be hosting a webinar on October 20 at 2pm (ET) to further discuss this study and its findings.