The Millennials and, even more so, the Gen Z-ers who will enter the workforce in the next decade have never known a non-digital world. They look at the world through a digital lens, which has forever changed how we approach opportunities and orient ourselves in our professional lives. Not surprisingly, this growing class of young professionals have different expectations, habits, and priorities when it comes to booking travel.
As we begin 2020, it is more important than ever to seek an understanding of our new colleagues. Managing corporate travel for millennials and Gen Z business travelers will require different tools, a broader perspective of what business travel can be, and the ability to personalize the booking process to each traveler.
Millennials are generally defined as anyone born in 1980 through 2000 with Gen Z classified as anyone born starting in 2001. Millennials and Gen Z will continue to represent the bigger proportion in the world’s largest economies.
It’s important to recognize that millennial business travelers do not think of business travel in the same way as earlier generations. Millennials have a more integrative perspective when it comes to their lives: Work is play, and play is a complement to work. They’re more likely to craft a lifestyle and find the work that fits within their goals for how they want to live.
Millennials are also more likely to see business travel as a perk and take it as an opportunity to explore a new city or culture -- in addition to furthering their career. A Hilton Hotels & Resorts survey found that nearly 40 percent of millennials will not take a job that doesn’t allow them to travel for business.
Hiring is the number one challenge facing organizations, and the competition has never been higher. Millennial and Gen Z candidates will have a broad selection of companies to work for and looking for factors to distinguish their options.
Offering a better business travel experience to prospective employees is a powerful way to stand apart from the competition when recruiting, and later retaining talent, said Caitlin Gomez, Head of Corporate Travel Partnerships at Lyft.
A superior business travel experience -- from booking to support -- is also critical to retaining top talent.
Travel management goes far beyond booking. It involves all of the steps to make sure that the best rates and inventory is available to your business travelers while it comes time to book. It is managing and measuring the business travel program to drive further success. It is also the world-class support that’s available on chat, email, or the phone that proactively steps in to solve unexpected issues. Navan's VP of Booking Experience and Supplier Strategy Danny Finkel has written about the 5 ways that business travel will transform to better serve a mobile-first generation as soon as 2025.
These are the three most important factors to consider when managing corporate travel for the millennial and Gen Z business traveler:
A modern corporate travel platform should offer a broad and deep selection of inventory so that business travelers know that they have access to all the information they need -- including negotiated and direct rates -- conveniently within a single platform. Millennial business travelers are accustomed to searching multiple platforms, and keeping them within the selected corporate travel tool is key to driving adoption, which ultimately delivers better visibility and control to corporate travel managers.
Consumer tools today learn about their users. Millennial and Gen Z employees are accustomed to being served a selection that matches their preferences and prior purchase decisions. Driven by machine learning, a modern corporate travel platform is able to leverage data from an individual’s personal profile combined with data from their past booking behavior and that of others who book like them to present the most relevant search results. As the platform learns and gets smarter over time with more data, those results will become more personalized to the user.
Beyond booking, millennial business travelers expect their corporate travel tool to provide all the support they need in a single place whether that be the ability to book a ride-share or contact support in case of travel disruptions.
Machine learning empowers support through 24/7 365 global travel agents to step in as soon as a flight delay or cancellation is registered and proactively rebook or contact the business traveler. This level of automation is not a surprise, but an expectation, of a generation that was raised on apps and Internet. They also want choice, which means they don’t have to wait on hold for a support agent but can chat in wherever and whenever they need.
Furthermore a modern corporate travel management platform is able to provide incentives to business travelers -- in the form of gift cards or banked credits for personal travel -- that provide employees with greater choice while saving the company money.
Managing corporate travel for millennials and Gen Z business travelers will require the best technology available and a sophisticated corporate travel platform that learns about the user and provides an end-to-end experience. The good news is that these same tools will lead to better accounting and control for travel managers. As adoption rates rise, HR and finance teams will have more information to craft their travel policy -- creating a win-win-win for everyone involved.
Navan is excited about leading the way as the future becomes the present. Get in touch for a demo today.