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Age is not just a number for Business Travellers

Older, experienced business travellers expect to be treated like VIPs when they travel and leave the handling of their travel arrangements to others, while younger, newer business travellers book their own travel and like to be treated like locals.

In a global study on the preferences of the different generations of business travellers, FCM Travel Solutions found that travellers who are “Baby Boomers” are very aware of their status and demand that it be acknowledged by service providers. Baby boomers are aged between 56 and 71 and comprise just under a third of all business travellers (32%).

As a result, Baby Boomers fly business or first class and demand priority check-in, access to business lounges, preferred seating on aeroplanes and to be chauffeur-driven in their destinations.

FCM Travel Solutions is Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate travel management company servicing large national and multinational corporations. The study was intended to help businesses structure their travel policies to cater to the different needs of different generations of travellers and ensure better compliance.

The research found that Generation X travellers, who are aged between 36 and 55 and who constitute over half – 53% – of all business travellers, share a lot of traits with Baby Boomers.

Generation X business travellers also demand priority check-in, access to business lounges and preferred seating, but unlike their older counterparts, they tend to fly economy class and prefer to book online rather than use a travel management consultant.

They also like to extend their trips for leisure when possible – unlike Baby Boomers who maximise work by flying overnight and staying only as long as is necessary. Baby Boomers also expect a generous on-board baggage allowance.

Generation X business travellers prize relaxation, wanting breakfast to be included in their accommodation and kicking back with a drink at the end of the day.

By contrast, Generation Y business travellers – who are aged between 21 and 35 – are easygoing.

Generation Y, who constitute only 15% of business travellers, are comfortable with the sharing economy, – such as using Uber rather than being chauffeur-driven – and rather than preferred seating or lounge access, want a gym or spa at their hotel.

They book travel using Apps and fly economy class.

They also want to be kept updated through mobile push notifications or SMS.

Rather than demanding respect, they are more interested in being “seen” on social media and like experiencing how locals live.

All the generations want wi-fi.

The research titled The Generation Effect, also revealed that Baby Boomers were the ones to travel abroad most frequently, with seven out of their 10 trips to foreign destinations. Generation X meanwhile split their travel between foreign and local straight down the middle while most of Generation Y’s travel was local (80%), compared to only 20% foreign travel.

“We always knew more frequent travellers had different needs to those who travel less often, but segmenting business travellers by generation has been a revelation ,” says Euan McNeil, General Manager of FCM. “Now we know that Baby Boomers want to be in and out compared to Generation X-ers who will extend their stay for leisure where possible.”

“What’s most interesting however is Generation Y, the future of business travel, who are completely different to their older peers. They are embracing technology, want to immerse themselves in the destination culture and like to have their travels recorded on social media.”

FCM Travel Solutions is Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate travel management company servicing large national, multinational and global corporations. FCM ranks as one of the top five travel management companies by size.

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