Millennials — all 83 million of them — represent the largest marketing population of all time. They were consumers even before they could walk and grew up extremely brand conscious and willing to spend the money necessary to keep up with their peers and idols. To them, consumerism doesn’t support a lifestyle, it is a lifestyle.
Now that they’re in the business world, Millennials represent a significant targeting opportunity for travel marketers that understand them. By layering basic Millennial behaviors over their business travel needs, you can leverage their preferences and priorities into higher business travel conversion and booking rates.
How are Millennial business travelers different from business travelers in other age groups?
First of all – there are so many of them! As Millennials take over the baby boomers as the largest employed population (right now there are more 22 year olds in the U.S. than any other age segment), their business travel needs will continue to increase.
Millennials also grew up with expectations other business travelers don’t have. They expect to be able to use technology to speed their way through their own lives. They understand how airlines and travel providers can and should use technology to make their travel experiences easier. And they’re comfortable making all their arrangements themselves, including flight changes and upgrades, seat assignments and hotel reservations. Those that travel on business a lot become very savvy about how industry pricing works and know how to take advantage of excess inventories. Self-assured, they have no trouble making spontaneous, last minute decisions, too.
Millennials choose convenience and service over price.
While they may be price savvy, Millennials aren’t particularly frugal. Especially when it comes to convenience. A recent FlightView® survey on Millennial travel habits revealed that 70% of respondents would be willing to pay more for a direct flight from their local airport and of that number, two-thirds would pay 10-15% more and nearly a third would pay 16% more. The same survey cites that nearly 60% of travelers would be willing to pay more for ancillary conveniences including priority baggage claim (37%), curbside rental car pickup (35%) and the option to temporarily check baggage at the gate so that they can freely dine and shop (40%).
That’s not to say that Millennials spend carelessly. They consider themselves informed consumers and don’t like to feel like they’re being taken for a ride. But as long as they associate a better experience with the service being provided, they don’t mind paying extra.
Meeting the Millennial business travelers’ psychological needs.
A national leadership consultant reports in a March 2015 Entrepreneur Magazine article that the #1 reason that Millennials leave companies is that they don’t feel valued and respected.
We can deduce therefore that the more a travel provider can do to demonstrate to Millennial business travelers that their patronage is recognized and valued, the more loyal they will likely become. Giving them the same room they had before, asking if they’ll be making the same connections while booking flights and giving them a complimentary beverage on the return trip home reinforce their need to be recognized as well as their need to feel they belong right where they are.
Every Millennial business traveler will spend a significant amount of money over the course of his or her career. Travel providers that understand Millennial business travelers’ behaviors and priorities, and respond proactively with offers and services that support them, will win their loyalty and increase each traveler’s lifetime customer value.