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GENERATION Y WILL CHANGE CORPORATE TRAVEL AS YOU KNOW IT

21 Aug GENERATION Y WILL CHANGE CORPORATE TRAVEL AS YOU KNOW IT

NEXT GENERATION EXECUTIVE TRAVEL

For decades, Baby Boomers have dictated how travel companies and hotels operate. But the generation known for its pragmatism and strong work ethic is beginning to retire. It’s being replaced by Generation Y, a group also known as millennials. These individuals are 31 or younger, and as they grow older, their values will affect the travel industry.

For example, the latest research indicates that as of early 2013, one in three hotel guests are currently millennials. They have large amounts of Internet savvy. Hotels, travel planners, and ground transportation providers will need to shift their focus on meeting the needs of this very connected age group.

DEFINING MILLENNIAL VALUES

While there are some who believe Gen Y’ers often are incredibly entitled, many others feel that they simply have different values. Personal fulfillment matters more to them than money. Work-life balance is critical, with a majority of young people stating they’d hesitate to take a job that has strong restrictions on social media usage. According to Red Book Solutions, these youth are indeed driven to succeed. But they’re motivated more by a desire for knowledge, rather than a strong drive for a larger paycheck.

SOCIALIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY MATTER

Regardless of how travel planners and vendors feel about this younger age group, it’s a fact that they’ll soon represent the majority of the market. Rob Davidson, Senior Lecturer at Greenwich University School of Business writes that Generation Y simply can’t be ignored. Why? “They are emerging as the biggest cohort in society.” Travel venues designed to appeal to Generation Y’ers will likely be the most successful. They’ll support the generation’s embrace of computers and offer services like free wireless Internet and social lounges.

PERSONALIZATION MATTERS, TOO

Adam Weissenberg, Vice Chairman of Deloitte LLP has stated that it’s difficult making different generations happy when it comes to travel. He says finding a “middle ground to retain brand loyalty” is a challenge. But fortunately, there’s at least one thing Baby Boomers and Generation Y’ers have in common; both want personalized attention. Research indicates that Generation Y’ers report much higher satisfaction when receiving personalized attention from vendors. Baby Boomers are no different, so companies with exceptional customer service will gain a wide fan-base.

ANCILLARY SERVICES INCREASINGLY MATTER

Generation Y places an enormous amount of value on rich, varied, and authentic experiences. So it follows they would seek an authentic travel experience even when they’re on the road for work, too. They want travel programs that will provide rich ancillary services. Millennials are increasingly drawn to safaris, backpacking trips, and culinary or art tours. Because of this, travel agents who offer adventure tours and a vast knowledge of local attractions will attract this younger clientele.

IT’S A MATTER OF VALUE, NOT COST

Growing up during a major economic recession has affected how millennials’ regard cost and value. For them, value is not about saving money or finding the most options. Instead, it’s about ensuring that the price paid is worth it, from the design of rooms at hotels to personal service from Chauffeurs.

Generation Y will impact every aspect of business as we know it, from marketing to management to executive travel. If you’re looking to adjust your travel services to meet the needs of millennial clientele, understand that many key principles of a great product will appeal to both Baby Boomers and millennials. Providing a good value and timeless customer service will never go out of style.

Originally ran on Empire CLS.