According to a recent CNN report, Millennials are expected to account for half of all business flights by 2020. By that time, the long-held stereotype of the business traveler – sporting a rumpled suit and dragging a wheeled briefcase/carry-on mashup—will be left in the dust.
It’s hard to say what our smartphones and tablets will be capable of in six years, but one thing is certain: today’s new-age business travelers, raised on technology, expect to be connected at all times. They prize the ability to be spontaneous and strive to be known among their peer groups as curators of the best information.
When it comes to managing these “new world of work” travelers, it’s important for company leaders to understand what motivates them. By ensuring the right tools, flexibility and access to information are in place, businesses leaders increase the opportunity for their travelers to achieve higher levels of productivity and success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Travel is one aspect of a business that has increasingly benefitted from the proliferation of mobile apps. From managing itineraries to receiving flight notifications, mobile tools allow travelers to access the trip information they need from anywhere, when they want it, and in real time. Mobile technology has also become relied upon for services like Uber and Zipcar, which turns ground transportation into an on-demand service, or websites like Air BnB, which allow travelers to rent homeowner spaces for what often amounts to be a fraction of the price of a hotel. This on-demand mindset has already begun to turn the current methods of travel on its head by mobilizing the informationtravelers require.
Hotels, airports, and other travel entities continue to evolve to the demands of today’s technology-savvy travelers. Perhaps one of the most important, yet frustrating, advancements is the ubiquity of Wi-Fi. While travelers have come to expect internet availability at almost every turn, it’s not always without scrutiny. Many so-called luxury properties either charge too much to access Wi-Fi, or have an annoyingly fickle connection that is maddening to use. This is no longer acceptable for those who rely on mobile internet for work. Businesses should ensure their preferred hotel partners provide a quality and affordable internet connection. If that’s not an option, then equipping travelers with one of the many mobile internet dongles or Wi-Fi hotspot options is just as important.
SOCIALIZING THE EXPERIENCE
Communal experiences, or the desire to socialize trips, including business trips, have also become a popular “necessity” among today’s younger travelers. Whether it’s locating and meeting colleagues for dinner or keeping their teams back home informed on their whereabouts, travel has proven to be a more socialized experience than ever before. Some experts have even predicted an increase in GPS dating apps like Tinder and Grindr. In fact, it’s likely new apps will pop up that take the GPS meet-and-greet out of the romantic realm and into a platonic one that allows travelers to meet up with each other to network or even check out local attractions. The bottom line is that today’s “new world of work” travelers want to be able to connect with others while on the go, so providing them the tools and technology to do so can go a long way in boosting their satisfaction and productivity.