The empowered Gen Y (millennial) business traveller

A group of millennials sit around a large desk at work

When it comes to corporate accommodation, one size does not fit all. Millennials are today’s business travellers and by 2025 will represent some 75% of the workforce, and employers are starting to look at ways to answer the travel and accommodation needs of this element of their workforce.

Personalisation is a must, taking the person in the context of their travel and presenting a door to door service – taxi, flight, accommodation – with access to peer reviews and all within policy. While it is clearly not possible to personalise for everyone, the millennial business traveller is challenging HR and travel managers to review the accommodation options they offer.

Millennials came after Generation X and before Generation Z. They represent the fastest expanding sector of the workforce. A number that is estimated to be in excess of 80 million. Accommodation providers ignore the requirements of Gen Y at their peril.

An Empowered Generation

A product of the environment they were raised in, millennials are tech-savvy. They have grown up with computers in the house and have seen the progression from the mobile brick to the smartphone. Their expectations are high, and they expect change. They will come equipped with the latest smartphone, tablet or laptop and will want to communicate by text or email. Their music collection will be accessed or streamed from this equipment. But they don’t expect to stay connected to their head or earphones when in the comfort of their temporary accommodation.

Unlike those who climbed the career ladder before them, fast-tracking is not a priority. They are likely to want to trade higher pay for fewer working hours and a flexible schedule that will give them a better work-life balance. The savvy HR or travel manager will ensure that the accommodation the firm offers to travelling Gen Y employees meets their requirements.

Millennial Expectations 

But are there enough quality options available to them? What should the providers of that accommodation be considering? Fast, free Wifi is essential, as is the ability to stream entertainment from any device to a smart TV. Likewise, modern technology to project the music they carry around with them is a must. Safety and comfort are front and centre in the mind of the Gen Y traveller; smaller bedrooms and larger, lively, sociable spaces are part of this group’s norm – sharing is all.

To older generations, this approach might seem to be selfish and lacking in career ambition. But this new generation of workers has other priorities. Ones that are likely to lead them to prioritise family over work. Even while travelling, the ability to communicate with their families is more important than the next deadline.

These travellers appear to be confident and ambitious individuals who are, despite their work-life balance aspirations, achievement orientated. They are used to team sports; they have been brought up in playgroups and with other communal activities. This makes them excellent team players, who want to be involved, included and have a ‘no man left behind’ approach.

This kind of upbringing delivers to the marketplace workers who expect a lot from their employers. Millennials work with you, not for you; they will be unafraid to question authority and will be seeking new challenges; they are looking for work that is meaningful and they want a robust learning curve. Getting it right can pay dividends for the business: the traveller who perceives that their accommodation has been chosen to match their needs and preferences will feel valued, bringing a worthwhile return.

The Importance Of Cost Control

Getting it right can be tricky but should not be done at any cost; it is pointless to pander expensively to lofty ideals – cost control is a high priority for any employer. However, there has been a shift in attitude, and millennials expect to have their requirements and ambitions recognised, satisfaction being motivation and a path to success, and accommodation with a broad ‘appeal’ must give way to that which is selected with the audience in mind.

Providers of accommodation would be ill-judged to overlook the ever-more important millennial business traveller – they are fast becoming the majority of suppliers’ business guests, and today’s executive is tomorrow’s chief exec.


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