Newly published research from Travelport has revealed how Gen Z and millennial travellers are driving corporate travel towards a post-digital era in Europe, in pursuit of authentic experiences.
Having grown up in an environment where reviews are the go-to source, the study, which surveyed thousands of business travellers in Europe, revealed how half of Gen Z and over a third of millennials who travel for business nearly always search user-generated content from sites such as TripAdvisor for corporate travel. By comparison, 26% of Europe’s Baby Boomers reported doing so.
Both age groups were found to trust reviews more than older generations. There was also a strong correlation between the age of travellers, levels of trust in review content, and confidence in being able to correctly identify and avoid misinformation. In other words, the younger the traveller, the more relaxed they were about the chances of being deceived by fake reviews and paid content.
Alistair Rodger, Group Vice President of Agency Sales – EMEA, Travelport, said: “We know Gen Z and millennials love to travel and that they are emerging as the new power brokers in corporate travel, even though the oldest among Gen Z are still just 25 years old. Businesses that are thinking ahead can use the opportunity to travel as an incentive to attract the brightest talent, but to retain them they must find a balance between keeping their younger colleagues happy and fulfilling their duty of care responsibilities.”
Born after 1995, Gen Z make up over 32% of the global population – more than millennials. While their presence in the workforce is still emerging, the research revealed how many of these young business travellers are making a mark on corporate travel by increasing their engagement with offline sources such as travel professionals. The usage of global sites like Wherefor or Kiwi, which make travel recommendations, and platforms offering alternative travel choices, like Hopper, were also 14% and 21% higher among the youngest travellers than Baby Boomers, respectively.
Like millennials, the study found high demand for omni-channel engagement and personalisation among the youngest travellers, considered the most technology-supplied. They were also found to be device and platform agnostic when researching and booking corporate trips, with their time split evenly between computers (59%), face-to-face (54%), mobile (45%), and phone (45%).
This demand for flexibility across devices has, however, contributed to several frustrations. A third (28%) of the youngest travellers were unhappy at having to stay within corporate travel policy and only a fifth (21.9%) reported using corporate booking tools to fulfil business travel requirements.
Other frustrations included having to book elements of a trip separately, leading to a demand for super apps like China’s WeChat and Russia’s Tinkoff, Europe’s first entry into this space.
In turning to their peers and travel professionals for solutions to these pain points, and as a means of navigating the vast archives of generic travel content available online, the study is the strongest indication yet that digital transformation as a differentiator is no longer enough on its own.
The notion of a post-digital era was recently addressed by Accenture, who suggest that forward-thinking companies must start building trust with customers through a responsible and integrated approach to technology to ‘deliver on momentary markets’ in today’s on-demand world.