Every generation, for better or worse, is a disruptor. And there may be no industry more poised to take advantage of disruptive millennial trends than the field of business and event travel.
In 2016, global business travel increased 3.5% and approached nearly $1.3 trillion in spending according to a joint report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Global Business Travel Association. This growth is expected to continue accelerating by an average of 6.5% each year until 2021. For millennials, the last of whom will be entering the workforce in the next five years, business flights are expected to account for 50% of total travel spent by 2020. However, spending by baby boomers, a generation that remains steadfast to brand loyalty, will shrink 16%.
So airlines, hotels and event companies that don't want to be playing catch-up over the next few years need to start catering to the preferences of the millennial consumer. As one might expect from history's first ever-connected generation, the BCG report showcases just how connected they will remain. Here are some of the takeaways from the BCG report to keep front of mind:
- Millennials are twice as likely as baby boomers to want to travel for business.
- Millennial fliers are 60% more likely to upgrade for extra legroom.
- They are four times more likely to pay for Wi-Fi, since they are twice as likely to watch downloads on mobile devices and in-flight entertainment.
- Millennials are more likely to cash in on a deal or turn to social networks first for hotel advice, rather than enter a long-term loyalty program.
- 94% of millennials were likely to extend their business trips for leisure purposes.
- 75% of millennials report having apps on their smartphone, and prefer booking with Expedia, Kayak and Orbitz.
Despite all these new trends, the BCG report also highlighted that millennials in business still place high value on face-to-face meetings. That’s a great sign for the event business. So how can travel brands and event planners engage with this generation that still loves literal face time? According to the BCG report, try these three tactics. The overall takeaway is driving loyalty that results in win-win outcomes.
- Introduce an element of choice, letting attendees decide what exactly is important and allow them to tailor their experience.
- Focus on incentivizing business travelers to save their employers money on trip expenses.
- Create seamless online and mobile booking experiences from the first contact.