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Millennials now make up the majority of the U.S. workforce and by 2020 will account for 50 percent of all business travel spending. But millennials view of business travel is different from previous generations. For them, business travel is a lifestyle experience.
This new generation is not about finding work-life balance; they are about the work-life blend. They don’t mind accessing their work life during their personal life, but they also expect to access their personal life during work. It’s really not surprising that they increasingly blur the lines of business and leisure travel. Their approach is to weave leisure experiences throughout a business trip.
Millennial business travelers are prone to push the limits; in fact, 66 percent admit they are willing to bend or break the rules. They are more likely to spend more on food, room service and alcohol when they are not footing the bill. On the other hand, they also look for the best value for money. Millennials often will choose a more budget-friendly accommodation that has unlimited Wi-Fi and a good happy hour over a 5-star hotel and opt for cheaper means of transportation like Uber and Lyft ridesharing.
What does this mean for corporate travel and expense program managers?
Millennials’ spending habits are not the end of the world. But it is more important than ever for travel policy to include bleisure guidelines. You need to spell out who pays for what so that you can avoid accidental misuse like out-of-channel booking expenses or intermingling of travel companion expenses with business expenses.
T&E managers also need to understand what is normal for your travelers so that you can spot the expenses that are out of balance for certain travelers. For instance, abnormally high room service charges could mean the company is footing the bill for companion meals.
There are some definitive things to watch for, but there are also some advantages of bleisure travel. Bleisure can help to prevent burnout from too much business travel with no downtime. It can also give companies that embrace it an edge on recruiting top millennial talent—61 percent claim they have the best job in the world largely due to the travel culture integrated with their position.
Check out our new infographic for more facts and figures on the blurring lines of business and leisure travel, plus tips to prevent bleisure travel from opening the door to T&E fraud and misuse.