As digital-savvy US millennials begin to play a larger role in the workforce, their travel preferences are poised to shake up the staid world of corporate travel. Marketers and travel managers alike will be compelled to rethink their approach to everything from advertising to loyalty programs to the technology behind guest services, according to a new eMarketer report.
Millennial business travelers can be surprisingly loyal, though surpassing the high bar they set requires effort. The travel brands gaining traction with this audience use a calibrated mix of attainable, flexible rewards, ongoing guest feedback and old-fashioned hospitality to win them over. Once millennial travelers pick a preferred brand, they often spend more and tend to stick with their choice.
But because millennials are earlier in their traveling careers, many are still up for grabs. In fact, a Q1 2014 hotel loyalty survey by Deloitte found that 45% of US millennials belonged to none or just one loyalty program, suggesting an opportunity for travel loyalty marketers to do more to engage younger travelers.
Travel brands able to strike the right program balance between accessible rewards and participation are seeing a payoff in long-term millennial traveler loyalty. Deloitte found 75% of millennial business travelers would stay with a valued hotel loyalty program even if they had lost all their points and status. These same travelers also indicated they would spend an additional $41 per night on average to stay at a hotel in their preferred program.
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Read also "The millennial traveler: The lonely road" at WIT