How to work with — not against — millennial business travelers

Companies constantly revamp their travel policies to better reflect their workforce — from increasing daily allowances to pairing personal time off with business travel — but one area many businesses continue to struggle with is how to effectively work with their younger employees. That’s right, we’re talking about millennial business travelers.

Millennial business travelers — those primarily born between 1981 and 1996 — have carved out a unique name for themselves in the business travel landscape: they expect things sooner, they want real conversations with real people, and they want to enjoy their travel. But for all the negative press they’ve received, these travelers simply reflect the wants and desires of the changing modern business traveler.

Millennial business travelers will make up more than half of all business travel expenditures by 2020, according to a travel survey from Boston Consulting Group. To effectively work with and cater to your younger travelers, you’ve got to understand them — how they travel, why they go and, most importantly, who they are.

To help, we’ve compiled five things to know about millennial business travelers.

Business + leisure = a must

Younger travelers want to make the most out of their business trips — and why not? Business travel is a great excuse to explore a new city, meet new people and even have yourself an adventure.

Enter: the rise of bleisure travel. A portmanteau of business and leisure, bleisure travel has taken root with younger travelers and is becoming an increasingly popular way to couple a vacation with a business trip.

According to a study by Forbes, 73 percent of millennials rate leisure time on business travel as important compared to 56 percent of Generation X and 46 percent of Baby Boomers. Make sure your travel policy leaves room for your travelers to catch a game, explore a local museum or just get to know a new city. Remember: happy travelers can lead to better business.

Embrace the need-it-now culture

Millennials are often criticized for wanting information instantaneously — but that’s exactly what the modern business traveler requires to be informed on the go.

CWT research show that companies need to supply their millennial travelers with speedy, user-friendly technologies — from consumer-grade mobile apps to WiFi access on their flights and in their hotels. Younger travelers want to be able to organize their travel from their phones — with features such as mobile flight and hotel check-in — and they want lodging flexibility and diverse transit options, ranging from Uber to Amtrak.

Millennials are a tech-centric generation and equipping them with the right tools will not only increase their productivity while traveling, it’ll increase their satisfaction.

With millennials it’s all about face time — not Facetime. Unlike some more senior business travelers, research shows that millennials actually prefer face-to-face interaction when it comes to doing business.

Face time (not FaceTime) matters

With millennials it’s all about face time — not FaceTime. Unlike some more senior business travelers, research shows that millennials actually prefer face-to-face interaction when it comes to doing business.

For millennials, making that client trip to close the deal is actually more ideal. In-person meetings allow them to form genuine working relationships and friendships that extend outside of the office. Research from the CWT Solutions Group shows that over half of millennials are connecting with clients while traveling, more than both their Gen X and Baby Boomer colleagues.

Millennials care more about safety, security

Millennials take their personal safety seriously while traveling. Twenty-nine percent of millennials have cancelled a trip due to security concerns, compared to 20 percent of Generation X and 12 percent of Baby Boomers, according to research from the CWT Solutions Group.

Make sure to designate emergency contacts and a form a structured crisis process before your millennial travelers take off. At CWT, our travel counselors are available around-the-clock to assist travelers when disruptions arise — wherever they are.  

Younger workers travel more, more and more

The average millennial takes more than three business trips per year, each trip lasting about three days — and they want more of them, CWT research shows. They believe business travel breaks up the monotony of their daily work. Research shows that millennial business travelers rate business travel as an important part of job satisfaction, much more so than their Gen X and Baby Boomer colleagues.