The generational divide between business travellers: Where can your hotel capitalise?

  Posted in Hotel Insights

With obvious differences in lifestyle choices between young and older generations, it’s only natural for these to flow over into travel choices. Research shows some clear divides between the habits and preferences of millennials compared to baby boomers and Generation X, especially when it comes to business travellers.

Let’s take a look some of the distinctions and what opportunities exist for your hotel.

The dining, payment, and expensing attitudes of generational business travellers

Some extensive surveying was undertaken by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to uncover some specific differences in the way business travellers dine and travel according to their demographic.

Some main findings indicated Millennial business travellers are more likely to dine on the run, Boomers will wine and dine their clients, while Gen Xers are happy to dine in a group with their colleagues.

Other facts included:

  • Millennials are more likely to have reservations about ordering extras (like room service or snacks) as opposed to their older colleagues – even when their travel policy permits it
  • Millennials are especially eager to embrace technology, being the most likely group to use the tools made available to them through their travel programs
  • Millennials more commonly use Uber Eats, while Boomers source the best reviewed restaurants in the area

There were also some key findings on business travellers in general, which should prove useful data for hotels looking to adjust their marketing and guest experience strategies:

  • 71% said client meals are the main thing they can expense on a business trip
  • 63% of business travellers research where to dine prior to their trip
  • 63% also have dining related apps installed on their phone
  • 77% consider healthy eating an important part of their trip
  • 64% spend their money on upscale casual restaurants

There were some key findings on business travellers which should prove useful for hotels looking to adjust their marketing and guest experience strategies

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The planning, research, and travel behaviour of generational business travellers

Additional research by Expedia looked into some trends for American business travellers, and once again we see some generational divergence in the behaviour hoteliers should expect.

For example Millennials will probably travel the most and their trips will be shorter. If they’re planning themselves, they’ll often look for unique experiences which they find on Facebook. Ideally, they’ll mix business with pleasure.

Gen Xers will travel closer to home if possible, and are looking for a stress-free experience, booking through online travel agents and purchasing all-inclusive deals.

Baby boomers will travel further but less often and prefer to be in groups of like-minded people. Hotel and airline websites are their most popular ports of booking.

How your hotel can target generational differences

With what we know about the various ways different generations of business travellers experience their trips, we can make some quick observations on how your hotel can attract and please each of them.

Given Millennials have a great affinity with social media, this is where you should try hard to reach them, and give them a booking option. Facebook and Instagram are very powerful platforms with a lot of potential. Since Millennials will travel more often, an attractive loyalty program could prove very effective. However, note that Millennials will become bored by standard points based systems.

Generation X
Gen Xers are prime targets for packages and promotions. Anything you can offer via your online channels and website that makes their booking experience and their trip more convenient will appeal to them. Offering extras and upgrades could also work very well with Gen X as they search for value for money.

Baby Boomers
A great hotel restaurant will be a very attractive proposition for this older group who enjoy fine dining experiences and making sure their clients and groups are looked after. Given they generally travel long-haul, having everything close by and in one place is also important to them.

The bleisure trend is probably going to be common across the board so if business travellers form a large segment of your market, make sure you have offers that make it easy for them to combine personal and professional interests.

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