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Egencia study reveals differences between Millennial travellers and other age groups

American and Canadian millennials travel more frequently of any age group across any nation, study reveals


November 20, 2013
by PurchasingB2B Staff

Bellevue, Wash—Millennial travellers—those between 18 and 30 years—have sharply different business and leisure travel habits and expectations than do their older peers, says a global study by Expedia.com and Egencia, the business travel company of the Expedia, Inc. group. The Future of Travel Study was conducted across five continents, asking 8,535 employed adults in 24 countries—including Canada—about how they conduct business and leisure travel, their likes, dislikes and preferences.

The study aims to discover how millennials will impact the travel landscape as they gain decision-making power at work and purchase power in their personal lives. Differences emerged in the analysis, the study revealed, particularly the differing value that younger travellers place on mobile and loyalty. Millennials are far likelier to embrace loyalty programs while en route; half of millennials find loyalty programs important when booking flights (48%) or hotels (51%), versus only three in ten of travelers aged 46-65 (31% & 30% respectively). Mobile and other form factors are important to the future of travel, according to the study. For booking business travel, 32% of those 30 and under report using a smartphone and 20% report booking on a tablet. That’s compared to just 12% for smartphone and 9% for tablet for those over 45. And 18-30 year-olds are far likelier than 46-65 year-olds to use mobile devices to enhance their travel experience.

The study found that younger travellers were freer with their company’s money when travelling. Globally, business travellers aged 18-30 more frequently report that they will spend more of their company’s money on high-end meals (42%) than they would their own money compared to those aged 46-65 (26%).Millennials are also fans of room service: 37% would spend more of their company’s money on room service, versus only 21% of 46-65 year-olds.

Millennials have more opportunities to order room service than any other age demographic, because they travel slightly more on business. Worldwide, 30-and-unders report travelling 4.7 times per year on business, versus 3.6 times per year among 30-45 year-olds, and 4.2 times per year among 46-65 year-olds. Millennials take more leisure trips as well, at 4.2 trips a year, versus 2.9 for 31-45 year-olds and 3.2 for 46-65 year-olds.

American and Canadian millennials travel more frequently of any age group across any nation, reporting that they take a full 7.8 leisure trips per year. On the contrary, European respondents aged 31-45 take 2.7 leisure trips per year.

Among the survey’s findings are:

  • Millennials are more comfortable mixing business with pleasure. They are more likely to extend a business trip into a personal vacation than older employees are. 62% of 18- 30 year olds have done so, vs. 51% of 31-45 year olds and 37% of 46-65 year olds.
  • Younger Americans and Canadians are more likely to do this (70%), than those age 31- 45 (50%) or 46+ (31%).
  • 39% of all business travelers report that they work more hours when they travel than they do at the office. Europeans (45%) are more likely than Asia-Pacific (35%) and North American (32%) travelers to say that they work more hours than normal when traveling.
  • Millennials are also more likely to voice their displeasure. 18-30 year old business travelers are likeliest to post a negative review online, as it relates to their experience with hotels, restaurants, flights, public transportation, taxis and rental cars.
  • Mobile devices are nearing ubiquity for business travellers, but more so for millennials than any other group. 75% of travellers surveyed worldwide use smartphones and tablets for both personal and business reasons when traveling.
  • Location matters over everything when business travelers book hotels, with travellers most frequently citing it as the most important feature (53%). The price of the hotel room (44%) narrowly edged out travel time to the city in question (42%) as next most-important features. Airfare price, at 36%, ranked fourth. Inflight Wi-Fi was not a high priority among business travelers worldwide, though in every region, the importance of in-flight Wi-Fi declines as travelers aged.
  • When traveling on business, 83% of respondents worldwide feel that they should be personally entitled to travel reward points. Globally, workers under the age of 45 surveyed tend to feel more entitled to their points than older employees.
  • A majority (68%) of employees are compensated for their business trips on nights and weekends, either with extra money or with additional compensation days. Across all regions surveyed, 18-30 year olds are more likely to be compensated with either money or added vacation time (78%).
  • A majority of employees (67%) do tend to save some type of personal information online to streamline the booking process, however, one-third (33%) still prefer not to save any personal data online. Of the majority of respondents who save personal information online, millennial employees tend to be more comfortable doing so than their older counterparts.

This survey was conducted online from August 20, 2013 to September 12, 2013 across Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific by Harris Interactive among 8,535 respondents over the age of 18. The survey examined business and leisure travel attitudes and behaviors among the residents of Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and Brazil.