Study Reveals Millennials’ Love of Business Travel

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Millennials are nearly twice as likely to want to travel more for business than baby boomers (45 percent to 26 percent, respectively), and a strong majority of millennials (57 percent) believe technology can never replace face-to-face meetings to get business done.

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

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“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 percent in Qtr2 to 45 percent in Q3). Despite this drop, overall satisfaction levels with the business travel experience remain high (73 percent). But with airplane travel as a driving force in overall satisfaction, a continued downward trend could have an increasingly negative impact.

Given a choice, business travelers overall prefer getting through security easily (52 percent) to other airport amenities, however, smoothly getting through security is much more important to Baby Boomers (59 percent) and Gen Xers (56 percent) than to Millennials (35 percent). While almost one-half (48 percent) of business travelers want free Wi-Fi at the airport, this is more important to Millennials (54 percent) than Baby Boomers (44 percent). Additionally, regardless of age, two in five business travelers (39 percent) want airports to offer non-stop flights to their destinations.

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