Industry Research

Millennials Prefer To Travel More For Business, Live Meetings

Posted on October 29, 2015


ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Millennials are nearly twice as likely to want to travel more for business than Baby Boomers (45% to 26%, respectively), and most Millennials (57%) believe technology can never replace face-to-face meetings to get business done.

Also, Millennials are far more likely to rely upon social media to meet up with friends when traveling than Baby Boomers (46% to 17%) and are far less likely to want to use their personal credit cards to float business expenses (53% to 69%). In terms of travel amenities, if only one could be selected, Baby Boomers would strongly prefer to pay no fee to check bags (47% compared to 34% of Millennials), while Millennials want free Wi-Fi (30% compared to 17% of Baby Boomers).

These findings come from the latest GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, research from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with American Express.

“Millennials are the newest generation of road warriors and, like their more experienced peers, they understand that face-to-face meetings remain key to getting business done,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “Over the last quarter, business travelers across the board — Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers — reported that their goals were met on business trips, leading to greater satisfaction.”

“Millennials in particular are interested in business travel and see the value it brings to their companies and their careers,” said Susan Chapman-Hughes, senior vice president, American Express Global Corporate Payments. “This generation may see more upsides to business travel because they’ve found new ways to stay connected to their personal and professional commitments while on the road.”

The study also found that overall business traveler satisfaction with getting through airport security declined significantly in the past three months (from 55% in 2Q to 45% in 3Q). Despite this drop, overall satisfaction levels with the business travel experience remain high (73%). But with airplane travel as a driving force in overall satisfaction, a continued downward trend could hurt the level.

A concern raised in the study centers around confidence in the economy. The percentage of travelers who believe the overall health of the economy is excellent dropped from 32% in 2Q to just 21% this quarter. This is despite the fact that travelers’ views of the health of their own company or industry remained virtually unchanged and much more positive. More than half of business travelers feel their own company is in excellent financial shape (62%) and that the overall health of their industry is excellent (51%).

Travelers don’t want passengers to talk on mobile phones while in flight. The study finds that nearly two thirds of business travelers oppose allowing passengers to talk on their mobile phones while a flight is in the air, while just 9% support this.

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