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October 29, 2015

GBTA: Millennials Believe Technology Will Never Replace Face-to-Face Meetings




Millennials are nearly twice as likely to want to travel more for business than Baby Boomers (45 percent to 26 percent, respectively), and a strong majority of Millennials (57 percent) believe technology can never replace face-to-face meetings to get business done, according to a new report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). 

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Additionally, Millennials are far more likely to rely upon social media to meet up with friends when traveling than Baby Boomers (46 percent to 17 percent) and are far less likely to want to use their personal credit cards to float business expenses (53 percent to 69 percent). In terms of travel amenities, if only one could be selected, Baby Boomers would strongly prefer to pay no fee to check bags (47 percent compared to 34 percent of Millennials), while Millennials want free Wi-Fi (30 percent compared to 17 percent of Baby Boomers).

These findings come from the latest GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index - research from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with American Express.

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The study also found that overall business traveler satisfaction with getting through airport security declined significantly in the past three months (from 55 percent in Q2 to 45 percent in Q3). Despite this drop, overall satisfaction levels with the business travel experience remain high (73 percent). But with airplane travel as a driving force in overall satisfaction, a continued downward trend could have an increasingly negative impact.

Given a choice, business travelers overall prefer getting through security easily (52 percent) to other airport amenities, however, smoothly getting through security is much more important to Baby Boomers (59 percent) and Gen Xers (56 percent) than to Millennials (35 percent). While almost one-half (48 percent) of business travelers want free Wi-Fi at the airport, this is more important to Millennials (54 percent) than Baby Boomers (44 percent). Additionally, regardless of age, two in five business travelers (39 percent) want airports to offer non-stop flights to their destinations.

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Additional Key Findings

Confidence in the economy drops. The percentage of travelers who believe the overall health of the economy is excellent dropped from 32 percent in quarter two to just 21 percent this quarter. This is despite the fact that travelers’ views of the health of their own company or industry remained virtually unchanged and much more positive. More than half of business travelers feel their own company is in excellent financial shape (62 percent) and that the overall health of their industry is excellent (51 percent).

Travelers don’t want passengers to talk on mobile phones while in flight. The study finds that nearly two thirds of business travelers oppose allowing passengers to talk on their mobile phones while a flight is in the air, while just 9 percent support this.

The Sentiment Index experienced a significant decline — 3.7 percentage points —from Wave 2 (98.7) to Wave 3 (95.1) of this research. A decline in the Index means the overall trip experience for business travelers has worsened, which may partially reflect concerns about the overall economy, as well as other challenges with the travel experience.

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