Last week we launched our report Understanding The Digital Habits of Business Travelers, which looks closely at the opportunities available to brands to understand working travelers through the digital ecosystem they rely on for information and connections.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to understand this trend.

Key to almost any consideration of the business traveler and changing in-trip habits surrounding the use of digital devices is the advent of the Millennial within the sector. It is a demographic already aging into business travel, a phenomenon that will continue (and increase) between now and 2025.

When Millennials travel for business, they use mobile devices more often than their other colleagues. In a recent survey, among the 75% of travelers (representing multiple age groups) who indicated that they use smartphones for business and personal reasons during travel, respondents 18–30 years old were the most likely to do so.

Other highlights of their influence and impact include the following points:

  • 32% of business travelers younger than 30 book their trips via smartphone.
  • Millennials are four times more likely to pay for onboard Wi-Fi on their planes.
    The demographic is twice as likely to download and watch in-flight entertainment. Travel leaders are taking notice. The right information — and the right kinds of digital access to provide it — will be key to attracting the burgeoning segment.
  • “Business travelers are early adopters of technology — Millennial travelers even faster — and are on the move from device-to-device, from online to offline and back again,” said Rob Greyber, president of Egencia, in a press release. “We realize that keeping pace with Millennials and future generations of corporate travelers demands significant focus on mobile in order to sustainably engage them with the right information.”

Additionally, what Millennials want, to a significant extent, based on recent reporting by Teresa Lee on the subject, is a digital experience that removes extra steps and includes every option for resolving triprelated queries. For example, Lee described one perceived gap in the search function of Southwest’s website.

“The most common route I book with them is New York City to the San Francisco Bay Area,” she wrote, in early 2014. “Southwest operates at Newark and LaGuardia for NYC and out of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland for the Bay Area. That means I have to perform individual searches for each possible combination as they do not have an ‘All New York City Airports’ or ‘All San Francisco Bay Area Airports’ option. This is extremely frustrating when my dates are flexible as well.”

If brands can provide the right options to capture business among the demographic, then the following chart suggests that Millennial business travelers will spend money more freely, in-trip, than their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts.

One other note, Millennials’ loyalty to particular travel suppliers is not yet won, according to a recent MMGY Global/Harrison Group study. But when it is earned — or not earned — the Millennials will tell us.

Research shows that they tend to announce positive and negative experiences through social media — with 90% of the demographic interacting with their network, the public, and, ultimately, brands in this way.

With so much potential revenue on the line, and their spending habits positioned to create new income streams for the business-travel industry, reaching Millennials effectively in the digital space has never been more important.

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