‘Millennial’ might seem like a bit of a media buzzword at the moment, but there’s no denying that Generation M are making waves in the corporate world – particularly when it comes to business travel. So, with that in mind, here’s how to create a millennial-friendly corporate travel programme…
It’s estimated that by 2020 millennials will make up half of the global workforce and therefore will account for almost half of all business travel spend. However, how they contribute to that business travel spend is vastly different from their non-millennial colleagues.There have been numerous studies into the differences between how millennial and non-millennial, but the overall themes are as follows;
– Due to their intrinsically tech savvy nature, millennials feel comfortable searching, booking and managing their own travel using a variety of mobile devices.
– The majority of millennials see travelling for business as a ‘perk’ and approach business travel with a positive outlook, seeing it as a lifestyle experience.
– Millennials are more likely to be flexible with their work hours when travelling for business, often choosing to check out their surroundings during the day and then work during the evening.
– Most millennials prioritise a customised travel experience whilst also looking for options and packages that deliver the best value – they’re also more likely to try and benefit from loyalty schemes and rewards!
– With an organisation paying for their travel and expenses, millennials are more likely to upgrade their room/class of travel or spend more money on room service than their non-millennial colleagues.
Of course, for every employee who fits the results of the studies to a T, there will be one that bucks the trend, so the only way to really find out what works for your organisation’s millennials is to examine your management information and identify patterns in booking. However, here’s a short checklist to get you started on your quest for a millennial-friendly travel programme:
1. Online booking for all devices
Most travel management companies(TMCs) now offer an online booking solution of some sort, but now’s the time to honestly evaluate whether the tool that you’re currently using is fit for purpose – and also whether it’s fit for millennials.
Millennials are more comfortable than their Gen X colleagues when it comes to arranging travel on their phones whilst on the move, so it’s worth checking that your booking tool can be used seamlessly across all devices and offers exactly the same functions. If not, have an honest conversation about with your TMC about what they can do to improve. Increasing the online adoption within your organisation isn’t just a win for millennials – it’s a win for your travel spend and budget too.
2. Bleisure in corporate travel policy
A more favourable approach to flexible working hours means that millennials are more likely to try and indulge in a bit of bleisure when travelling for business – for some organisations, this is a great way to give back to employees who travel frequently, however for others it’s completely the wrong cultural fit and wouldn’t work. Whatever your organisation’s position on bleisure, it’s important to state it clearly in your corporate travel policy so that all employees are aware.
If you are going to allow for bleisure, then consider adding the following to your policy; Should the number of days by which a trip can be extended be limited, in order to contain risk? Is there a distinction between business and personal expenses when employees take leisure trips? Should it be stipulated that employees will only be covered for travel that does not represent a significant departure from their original travel itinerary? In higher risk destinations, should employees be prepared to adhere to required aspects of the corporate travel policy?
3. Dynamic travel policy
With some research suggesting that millennial business travellers are more likely to upgrade their travel or spend more whilst travelling, it’s well worth re-examining your travel policy to ensure that it is delivering cost savings and prohibiting overspend.
Introducing a dynamic policy to your organisation is one way to control spend whilst also affording your travellers more flexibility and freedom when arranging their travel. A dynamic travel policy is like a traditional travel policy, only better. Whereas more traditional travel policies are usually a static set of guidelines that mandate what can and can’t be booked, a dynamic business travel policy’s controls will adapt depending on the options available at the time of booking. For example, instead of stating that a rail ticket must be in standard class, a dynamic travel policy would say that the ticket must be within X% of the cheapest option. You can read about the benefits of implementing a dynamic travel policy right here.