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How much do millennials spend on travel?

October 3, 2017
Eduardo Alonso

Travel is deeply important to millennials. No other generation has ever been able to enjoy travel as much as millennials. Traveling is easier and more affordable than ever before, and therefore, it is not surprising that most millennials put travel above buying a home.

Does this mean millennials spend much more on travel? Not exactly. When millennials go on a trip they seek out new, adventurous, and local experiences. That’s where they’ll spend their money.

Millennials are much more selective about travel spend according to a recent study by travel industry experts, Skift. But it seems there are still a number of unanswered questions.

On one hand, the generation now between the ages of 18 and 34 are a huge opportunity for travel companies. On the other hand, millennial travelers are also a major question mark because their travel habits don’t adhere to consistent standards. For example, they’d often prefer to fly low-cost and invest in a cool experience at their destination, roughing the travel element in order to get more out of the experience when they arrive. Or they might choose the convenience of an Uber in place of a fancy meal out.

This shift in travel habits is also evident in corporate travel. Millennials are keen to travel for work, but they want to do it in their own ways.

What does this mean for your corporate travel policy?

Understanding how millennials spend their money on their personal travel can help employers design more effective corporate travel programs. Companies must acknowledge the priorities of their most frequent business travelers so employees see business travel as a perk. Millennials are known for their job-hopping attitude, and therefore might need a small incentive to stay in a job. Business travel rules that match their lifestyle could be that incentive.

Next time you review your travel policy, consider these areas to create a millennial-friendly travel program.

Bleisure – As natural experience-seekers, what could be a boring business trip for many, millennials might turn into a "bucket list" travel opportunity. Incorporating a personal event into a business trip will make the whole trip more memorable. Address bleisure in your travel policy and establish guidelines to combine leisure and work.

Remote work – Millennials are keen to leave their desks and work elsewhere. Instead of forcing young employees to quickly come back to the office after a business trip, provide them with the right tools and software to work remotely. Let them work from a coffee shop or airport if possible.

Customizing the travel experience – Today’s business travelers have adopted consumer-like habits and expectations, seeking more choice and personalization and flexibility than ever before. Millennials, who grew up in an ever-connected world of apps, want convenient tools to book their trips. Corporate travel programs must match these demands in order to be successful. Otherwise, with many alternatives immediately available at their fingertips, travelers might not hesitate to step outside policy and book elsewhere.

Ridesharing – Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are the perfect example of the millennial mindset. These services offer the convenience millennials seek, and yet, are a cheaper alternative to taxis and car services. Make sure you have the processes in place to allow them to use tools like this, crossing the boundaries between personal and work habits.

Hotel amenities – Whether they intend to work in their hotel room, or simply keep up with their favorite Netflix shows in the evening, millennials are more likely to pay for Wi-Fi. In these cases, automated account-based payment solutions can help companies reduce the costs of reducing hotel invoices. Or ensure additional services required to make an employee’s travel as easy as possible are in place in your travel policy and contracted hotels.