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Business Travel

Get Ready, Generation Z Is Coming

Oh, Millennials. Their need for outlandish experiences, remote work options and avocado toast made a real impact on our work culture and society as a whole. It feels like we’ve finally figured them out, right? I hate to tell you this, but a new wave of young professionals are about to hit your office. Generation Z, the generation following Millennials, will soon be entering the workforce. The oldest of the demographic will be turning 23 this year and graduating from college. Like a proverbial wave to the job market, there are more than 61 million Gen Z individuals in the U.S., who will be making up one-fifth of the workforce by 2021.

Generation Z – who are they?

Born between 1996 and 2010, this is the first group to not remember a time before internet and cell phones. Despite these modern-day luxuries, they watched the U.S. economy, and likely their family, struggle during the Great Recession. They are technologically savvy, as well as hard working. Though they are in some ways similar to Millennials, they hold their own values and belief systems and are eager to show it to the world.

What to expect from them in the workplace

  1. Importance of job security – Growing up in the recession, they likely saw their parents struggle with finances and possibly even job loss. Whereas Millennials may be known for their drive for a purpose or experiences, Generation Z are driven by a stable paycheck and job security. Additionally, one survey found that 35% of the Gen Z participants have already started saving for retirement. Providing great benefits, healthy company culture and a clear path for career development within the company will help this generation feel more secure. 
  2. True digital nomads. Generation Z’s can seamlessly switch to different digital screens without pause. Going from smartphone, to tablet, to laptop; they can multitask and quickly adapt when needed. This innate skill will make them an asset as technology advances and processes are in flux.
  3. More competitive and independent. Gen Z’s like to stand out for their own accomplishments and merits. They value working hard, and enjoy the reward that comes from it. They’ll quickly be looking for opportunities to manage their own projects and teams, and seek out ways to continue learning and honing their skills.

How Generation Z may affect business travel

  1. Expects to be catered to. Though they can be thought of as the “me me me” generation, it’s for a pretty understandable reason. We live in an age when we can research, watch, and buy essentially anything with the swipe of a finger. It will be interesting to see how this generation customizes their air travel or hotel experiences to their accustomed preferences. They’re willing to put in the extra effort to get the perks they know they enjoy.
  2. Prefers communicating face-to-face. Somewhat surprisingly, 53% of Gen Z would rather discuss matters in person, over technology like instant messaging or email. This may impact the amount of additional business travel required in the near future to cater to Gen Z employees or Gen Z partners. 
  3. Will expect more out of your technology. Instant connectivity is a given for Gen Z’s. They are accustomed to instant messages and chat boxes to resolve issues. From a traveler standpoint, they will expect these types of features to resolve their travel problems. From a company point of view, now is the time to reflect on your internal communication and technology systems. Are they intuitive and mobile friendly to your future workforce? Thinking proactively about ways to increase connectivity may help avoid some inevitable hurdles in the next few years.  

Overall, Generation Z is excited to get to work and get things done. Providing a work environment with efficient technology and policies focused on their goals is the best way to start off on the right foot.

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Business Travel—A Status Symbol For Millennials?

It shouldn’t be a shock to you that the millennial generation is the largest segment jumping into the workforce. As baby boomers ease into retirement, millennials are stepping in, often starting with the most stressful and burdensome tasks. In most cases, this includes business travel. But in a somewhat surprising turn, a new study from Hilton Hotel & Resorts, finds that millennials are ultimately enjoying business travel and the perks that come with it.

That’s right, while many in the past have seen business travel as a burden, millennials are jumping in head first and loving it. They often see traveling on behalf of their company as a work perk. In fact, 65% of young professionals in the U.S. consider business travel a status symbol. Additionally, 39% would not take a job that did not allow them to travel for business. And 81% of those surveyed say they repeatedly travel for business because they get more work done in person.

Additional perks millennials enjoy about business travel

  • Exploring new cities – 64%
  • Eating in a new city – 62%
  • Covered expenses – 57%
  • Hotel stay – 55%

 

Their common business travel anxieties

  • 69% wished that they could extend their trips, turning it into a bleisure opportunity.
  • 59% regret not extending previous trips in the past to explore further
  • 54% not sure how their boss would react to a bleisure trip request
  • 44% worry asking to extend their trip would make them look bad to their senior leadership
  • 58% would like to fly in a day before meetings/events to prepare, but are nervous to ask. >

 

Common frustrations facing millenials and business travel

  • 38% can’t enjoy their weekend before traveling on business.
  • 38% continue to feel stressed after traveling for three to seven days
  • 46% say their employers don’t consider personal time when asking them to travel for business.
  • 44% said they gained weight due to traveling
  • 58% sacrifice sleep/wellness when traveling

 

Companies need to more clearly define their business travel culture

Looking at the frustrations felt by these young professionals, it’s easy to see that there is a gap in communication between the company culture, travel program, and traveler. Imagine being a young professional again You’re new to the industry, trying to look your assertive best and represent yourself the best way you know how. You don’t want to step on any toes, and you want to be remembered as the reliable employee who can take whatever is thrown at him/her. Asking for clarification on subtle details of business travel typically goes against that mindframe. It might be time to evaluate your travel program, as perceived from a new employee or new professional perspective. What type of company culture are you trying to promote? One that understands the importance of your employees work/life balance?

There also appears to be a gap in understanding of what is included in the travel program. 43% often misunderstood what could be expensed, resulting in owing the company money. This shows that perhaps the travel program is not as easy to understand as some companies think. It may be worth looking at your company’s travel program with fresh eyes, and revise where it needs updating or additional clarification.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate business travel company, with more than 60 years of experience. Our consultative approach assists companies to streamline their travel management, save money, and keeps travelers safe. Contact us to learn more about award-winning company.

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

What Is A Corporate Travel Policy? Definition Series

When a new client comes aboard with Christopherson, one of the first items on the agenda is aligning their goals with the right corporate travel policy. But what is a corporate travel policy anyway? And how does it influence or affect the success of a company’s travel program? As part of our definition series blogs, we’ll examine this business travel industry topics, along with its subtleties and additional items to consider.

Corporate Travel Policy Definition:

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines created by a company for their business travel. Used by their travel managers and employees as they plan trips on behalf of the company, to typically outlines protocol on travel. For example, the requirements needed to book business class seats. The main objective of an effective travel policy is to keep travelers safe, while also adhering to the company’s guidelines. Reducing travel costs is usually a high priority too. If a corporate travel policy is easy to understand, oversees traveler’s security, and up-to-date; overall compliance of the policy will likely be higher as well.

Creating a Travel Policy for Everyone

This is one of the most difficult parts of creating a travel policy. How can you make a travel policy as efficient as possible for company’s bottomline, but also easy to use and convenient for the employee traveling on the policy? For example, a company creates a policy that requires the traveler to always select the cheapest ticket possible. Sounds like a solution for reducing travel costs, right? What’s often overlooked is the added stressors put on the traveler. What if the cheapest flight is a red eye with a 5 hour layover? Yes, it’s cheaper, but it’s hard to sustain employees morale when they’re facing the brunt of the ramifications. As Scott Gillespie, a travel industry expert, points out, an unhappy business traveler often leads to ineffective work. This ultimately results in lower ROI and even employee’s leaving the company. Is saving on travel costs worth possibly losing accounts or going through the rehiring process?

An effective travel policy finds the right balance of rewards and pleasures for the traveler, while also limiting what is ultimately unnecessary. For example, most companies have found that travelers are more compliant with the policy if they keep their accumulated flight and hotel reward points from their trips. A restriction may be a certain length of flight is requires before business class seats are considered for travel. By understanding the desires of your traveler, and setting reasonable limits, a company is more likely to find the middle balance of corporate travel policy.

Anything else I should know about travel policies?

Getting employees to comply to a travel policy is always difficult. And it’s usually for a few different reasons. One, is not enough education on the new policy. Sometimes travelers just don’t know they should be booking flights a certain way. Another is difficulty reporting travel. If expenses are missing or late, it could be a user experience issue. Business travel is hard enough, adding on a bulky or slow expense reporting system is usually a recipe for disaster. One interesting item that should be noted is the rate of compliance by different generations. How Baby Boomers and Millennials prefer to interact with data and compliance is quite different. Not surprisingly, Millennials are often more compliant when it can be done quickly through an email or app on their smartphone. Having a reporting or booking process that aligns with the behaviors of your business travelers is often essential. Read more about it in our in our Millennial travel policy blog.

Because the corporate travel policy is often the heart of a travel program, it is one of the first items we create or adjust when a client joins us. Our experienced account managers know what will work to reach your goals, alongside your company culture. Combined with our vendor relationships and specifically created technology to adhere to your policy, we ensure your travel program goals are always met. To learn more about our approach, technology, or cost-savings tactics, please feel free to contact one or our experts.

For a more thorough look at corporate travel policies, read our guide to creating an effective travel policy.

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Business Travel

A Millennial Friendly Travel Policy?

While attending the GBTA Convention in Boston this past month, I was both expectant but still a little surprised about the buzz around the concept of millennial business travelers. After all, millennials have been in the workplace for roughly 15 years. During this time, this generation is still inspiring new ideas to pop up.  While there, I attended a couple of education sessions focused on travel policy. One session that I found particularly interesting, featured a panel of two travel managers.  They presented and answered questions on their individual company’s travel policies, including millennial travelers.

Millennial Friendly Travel Policy

• There is a common assumption that millennial travelers are collaborative and like big open public lobby spaces where they can relax and catch up on work. Actually, some are introverts and still appreciate having a work station in their hotel room.
• Millennials have a need to personalize everything and are more likely to dine out in a unique restaurant or go sightseeing on a business trip. It tends all about the experience for these travelers but, as this generation gets older and takes on more personal and familial responsibility, we might begin to see a shift in the “bleisure” time.
• Millennial travelers are 60% more likely to pay for an upgraded hotel room or seat on their flight. This one is actually true and they seem to be willing to treat their comfort as a personal expense.
All of this comes down to one word- OPTIONS. Build a policy that works for your company, is good for your bottom line and vendor relationships but also provides your travelers a few options and you will have happy travelers.

 

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Business and Leadership Travel Industry Travel Management

Increasing Compliance With Your Millennial Business Travelers

In case you haven’t noticed, the Millennial generation have recently become the butt of  jokes at conferences, twitter chats, and professional gatherings. Millennials, or Generation Ys,  are the most recent generation to enter the workforce. Currently in their early 20s – early 30s, they are putting the traditional workforce into a spin with their differing work styles and priorities. Whether you are from the camp believing they have a productive work ethic or they are self-entitled children, we as a society need to learn how to adjust our work environments to productively work with them. As Carolyn A. Martin and Bruce Tulgan, authors of the book ‘Managing Generation Y’ said “Organizations that can’t – or won’t customize training, career paths, incentives, and work responsibilities need a wake up call.”

Millennial Generation Characteristics

  • Millennials expect everything to be customizable to their preferences. If they don’t like their profile picture on Facebook, they change it. They can have just about anything shipped directly to their house. It’s how our world works now; almost everything is customizable and instantaneous. The difference is they’ve grown up with the expectation that if you don’t like something, there is always another solution available.  
  • They are on average highly educated, but value a higher work-life balance. This often makes them appear lazy and lacking respect when they take long lunches or work from home.
  • Growing up with computers and quickly advancing technology, they are quick learners to new technology and can easy adjust to new protocols or changes in the company.
  • They value experiences, especially travel. Millennials can make the best roadwarriors. Every city they enter is new and full of promise.
  • Sharing these experiences are highly valued. Why go to a new city and not take pictures?
  • Communication is important, but not in the traditional sense. Good luck getting them on the phone. They are more apt to sending a email or text than leave a voicemail.

Millennials and Reporting Compliance

Regarding travel management, Millennials have the highest rate of non-compliance. According to Tim Hines, the presenter at a Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association luncheon, they average 46% compliance. Compared to Baby Boomers, who are on average 80% compliant, the difference is concerning. If Millennials are always connected, why are they so bad at reporting their travel expenses? Well, the devil may be in the details here. Often the reporting process is lengthy or slow. For a group that expects results instantaneously, this can be a giant hurdle.   If you need something done, it should have a quick and easy approach.

6 Tips For Improving Compliance Rates:

  • Allow customization of the reporting platform and the ability to make adjustments.
  • Make the process as automated as possible. Use text alerts or automatic updates.
  • Enhance traveler experience, possibly with incenetives.
  • Leverage social tools, like Concur, TripIt, or Airtinerary.
  • Explore alternative communication methods like Twitter, Google Chat or Slack. Providing additional channels may open up lines of communication you didn’t know was needed.
  • Put them in charge of creating a new system for regulating compliance. They are quick to learn new technology. If they are responsible for finding something that will work for them, compliance will certainly be higher.
Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Christopherson Sponsors Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association Luncheon

This past week, Christopherson Business Travel sponsored a luncheon hosted the Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association. An affiliate of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA),  they are committed to connecting business travel professionals and enhancing education and partnerships in the West. It was hosted in the conference room of the beautiful new Hyatt Regency Aurora Hotel.

The hotel itself was updated and modern, with many elegant touches.  Before entering conference room, the we socialized with 80 other travel industry professionals. The conference room was set up beautifully and ready with our deconstructed cobb salad, bread, drinks, and chocolates.

Following member news and update was the presentation by Tim Hines, an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and consultant. His highly entertaining presentation defined the millennial generation and how they are affecting business travel.

Here are a few defining characteristics about millennials:

  • Members of the millennial generation were born between 1980 – 2000. They are the largest generation we have ever had, even out numbering baby boomers!
  • Growing up amid new technology such as computers, internet, and mp3s, they can easily adjust to change and are quick learners.
  • Most were affected by ‘the great recession’, often resulting in them being thrifty but also willing to spend additional money for something of value.
  • They desire a greater work/life balance than past generations. Technology has made work achievable from any time or place, and they typically enjoy this flexibility.
  • Experiences are more important to them than past generations. For example, 71% of millennials would live in another country if the opportunity presented itself.

Tim Hines offered valuable and insightful information on the generation as a whole and their impact on the business travel industry. Keep your eye out for a blog post further detailing this trend, including how travel managers can engage with millennials to improve compliance.