Youngsters in the workforce want to put their phones away and forge tangible connections at meetings and conventions, contrary to popular belief.
For all the talk about teleconferencing and mobile technology replacing meetings, the latest study from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and American Express Travel shows that millennials actually want to travel for business.
A solid 45 percent of millennials want to travel more for business, and a full 57 percent said that face-to-face meetings can’t be replaced by technology, according to the latest GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index update.
“Research continues to show that technology and face-to-face communication both go hand-in-hand,” said Mike McCormick, executive director and COO of GBTA. “Making those connections and being on the road is important to the group coming into the work force.”
McCormick thinks that younger business travelers are more comfortable traveling than their predecessors. Leveraging mobile technology can also make being away from home easier for the age group.
“The millennial group personally have likely traveled and their exposure to the world outside of the country or their city is really high,” said McCormick. “Coming into the workforce, their appetite for travel is really strong; the technology element of it gets all the play because people are on their phones, but the reality is much different than that.”
Millennials also lead all age groups in social media usage; 33 percent of millennials said they use social media to meet up with colleagues and business contacts while traveling. For comparison, just 16 percent of baby boomers said the same.
Continuing the trend, 46 percent of millennials use social media to meet up with friends while traveling for business and 37 percent use social media to find reviews about hotels and airlines.
“If you’re traveling as a millennial, you’re probably in the first couple years of doing business travel for your job,” said Susan Chapman-Hughes, SVP at American Express Global Corporate Payments. “And you want the same experience you have at home [while on the road].
The other trends seen in the study are negative for business travelers: annoyance at dealing with airlines, security concerns abroad and a new pessimism about the state of the global economy.
“In Q3, 55 percent of business travelers said they were satisfied with traveling by plane, compared with 59 percent in Q2 and 57 percent in Q1,” reads the study. “Compared to flying, business travelers were moderately more satisfied with every other mode of transportation.”
Most striking seem to be concerns about global economic growth that have been reported by business travelers.
“Companies are largely looking at the budgets they have today and are going to continue to make their investments, but the growth rate is slowing,” said McCormick. “You’ve got concerns about the marketplace in Europe, slower growth in China and concerns about the way the global economy is all intertwined.”