Business Travel Programs from A to Gen Z
[This article was updated Jan. 4, 2023.]
Think about how much technology has changed over the last 50 years. It’s now the 21st century. It’s the difference between having watched the first moon landing on television to, today, carrying more technology in our pockets than was used by the Apollo 11 computer. And it’s the difference between today's oldest and youngest workers.
Why is the age difference in the workforce an important consideration for corporate travel managers? Each of these generations grew up with vastly different resources and technology available to them. They grew up with sometimes massive differences in social and environmental issues.
The challenges this presents to companies could affect everything from office floor plans—or even if there is an office to work from—to healthcare and benefits packages. And, importantly, how they manage their business travel programs and the factors that are most important to business travelers.
Two years ago, Deem worked with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) to understand some of the generational differences in the workforce and how those impacted travel programs. More recently, Deem sponsored a survey conducted by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to uncover new priorities of corporate travelers and travel managers in their business travel programs.
(Note: GBTA acquired ACTE in 2020.)
Generational differences with online booking tools
First, from our ACTE survey, we found that younger workers, who may play a larger role in introducing meaningful change as their numbers in the workforce continue to grow, are more comfortable with technology. And they’re also, perhaps, more willing to push the boundaries of business travel policies.
For instance, in the bar chart below, survey respondents reported that traveler’s behavior and practices varied most by age group in the use of mobile booking (60.7%), their approach to leisure or wellness activities during travel (40.2%), in policy compliance (39.3%), and expense and reconciliation (27.9%).
Younger Generation Z workers grew up with technology that was still unimagined when their Baby Boomer colleagues were entering the workforce. The consumer-friendly, cloud-based platforms some people have now incorporated into their daily lives are an expectation for Gen Z and many Millennials. As such, younger groups tend to have higher rates of adoption when it comes to mobile-friendly or mobile-first trip management apps.
The flip side, however, is that their tech prowess means they also expect a certain level of efficiency in every application they interact with. If tools they’re given at work don’t live up to their ideal, they’re more likely to switch over to online booking tools they’re familiar with and ask for forgiveness later.
A modern concern: What is sustainable traveling?
Everyone is more conscious of the impact of our actions on the planet, and travel is no exception. Sustainability in technology and travel can mean different things: airlines are researching sustainable jet fuels, and hotels are getting certifications for their eco-actions.
Our GBTA survey of travel managers and business travelers found that for most business travelers, sustainability is a moderate priority (56%). In fact, “almost four in five business travelers (77%) say reducing their carbon footprint is a moderate priority or their top priority (21%) when they travel for business.”
These percentages change somewhat when we separate the respondents by age ranges. In our next chart below (from the same GBTA study), we found that reducing carbon emissions is a greater priority for younger business travelers.
While 38% of business travelers over the age of 55 say reducing carbon emissions is “not a priority at all” when they travel for work, only 16% of travelers aged 18-34 agree.
But 84% of business travelers ages 18-34 say reducing their carbon emissions is either a moderate or their top priority.
At Deem, we’ve built technology for sustainability in the EcoCheck feature you’ll find in our Etta business travel software. EcoCheck helps travelers see the carbon impact of their travel choices as they’re in the process of booking their trip, whether on desktop or mobile devices. And this makes it easier for travel managers to provide the information more of today’s travelers are looking for.
The future of business travel is already here
Younger generations make up ever more of today’s workforce: Millennials currently represent 35% of people working in the U.S., and will be 75% of the workforce by 2025. Gen Z is projected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030.
And folks, 2030 is only eight years away.
So how can you stay ahead of the expectations of your up-and-coming employee travelers? It isn’t enough anymore to have limited mobile apps—or none!—for your business travel software. And you’ll need company travel management software that includes technology for sustainability.
These are just a few of the reasons Deem created Etta, an award-winning, mobile-first corporate travel booking and management software that’s traveler-centered.
You can see more of what Etta can do with a free demo.
You might also be interested in:
- Our Technology for Sustainability infographic
- This short blog about the Etta mobile app
- More information on our mobile app
- Duty of care capabilities in Etta
- Download the full GBTA survey