Business or Pleasure: The Travelling Habits of Millennials

Millennials play a pivotal role in shaping just about any market or industry you can think of.

Since advertising agencies have carefully scrutinized their influence and spending potential.

Now, travel companies, hospitality service providers, and everyone else is hoping to earn their loyalty.

Business or Pleasure: The Travelling Habits of Millennials

Millennials are adventurous.

They are eager to learn and expand their experience, thrilled by the hunt for a bargain, yet still willing to spend a bit more for certain comforts.

Of course, they are much more reliant on mobile devices than their elders.

Take a closer look at their traveling habits below.

How Frequently Do They Travel?

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While there are some discrepancies in the results of various studies on the subject, most seem to have concluded that Millennials travel more often than members of older generations.

This includes trips for both business and leisure.

Naturally, this depends on several additional factors, such as income, marital status, and so forth.

One of the major sources of information we used is a study by Expedia conducted in 2013 by Harris Interactive.

It included approximately 8,500 employed Millennials from all over Asia Pacific, Europe, and North and South America.

According to its findings, people under 30 take 4.7 business and 4.2 leisure trips per year.

People who most frequently find the time or means for leisurely travel seem to be American and Canadian Millennials, with 7.8 trips per year.

Members of Generation X have been found to take 3.6 business and 2.9 leisure trips a year.

The same study found that Millennials are more likely to merge business with pleasure by extending a business trip into a vacation.

While only 51% of members of the 31-45-year-olds have done this, 62% of Millennials have engaged in some ‘bleasure’ (business + pleasure).

Another study that we reference here is the one by The Boston Consulting Group, Service Management Group (SMG), and Barkley, conducted in 2013.

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The study observed the habits of 4000 Millennials and 1000 participants in the 35-74 age bracket.

All the correspondents were from the United States.

The study determined that, although Millennials can be thrifty with certain aspects of traveling, on average, they still spend more than their elders.

Millennials’ most common motivation for leisure travel seems to be different special events or adventure trips.

Business-focused Millennials most frequently travel to attend conferences, seminaries, and other events that can help them with professional development.


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When booking trips and using different loyalty programs, Millennials seem to be prone to succumbing to the temptation of instant gratification.

While we sometimes dismiss this as rashness of youth or impatience, it makes sense! Consider the dynamic lifestyle and overabundance of choice that this generation has been growing up with.

For instance, 43% of people between 18 and 34 think as soon as they sign up for a service, they should receive the benefits of a rewards program.

Likewise, the mentioned Expedia study found that half of them will consider the availability of such programs when deciding on a service provider.

While only a third of their seniors will base their choice on this criterion.

Not only are they more mindful of such offers, but they are also much more easily swayed by them to change providers.

Even once they’re already mid-journey!

Unsurprisingly, the same study shows that Millennials are far more likely to use mobile devices to book their trip, with 32% and 20% of them using smartphones and tablets for this purpose, respectively.

With older people, these numbers are much lower—12% and 9%.

Seeing how they enjoy looking for the best deals, they can sometimes postpone booking their trip.

If, for nothing else, to ensure they’ve seen as many offers and programs as possible.

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Regardless of their reasons, a study by Hipmunk found that 59% of members of Generation X will book their trip 6 months in advance.

Only 47% of Millennials will do so.

The Journey

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Airline companies have recognized the potential of the Millennial generation and have done extensive research on the way they travel.

While this group can sometimes prove to be more frugal than members of Generation X (for instance, while only 54% of people older than 30 would sit next to a restroom on the plane to have the fare reduced, 70% of Millennials find that to be a good deal), they can also spring for some comforts in the right conditions.

As an example, while only 18% of those older than 30 are prepared to pay extra for a ticket that allows you access to an open bar, 38% percent of those under 30 will pay more.

The same goes for themed flights (79% M VS. 64% X) and paying for a ‘child-free ticket’ (24% M VS. 18% X).

However, those statistics mostly reflect the habits of Millennials who are traveling for business.

Apparently, this generation can be quite discerning and willing to pay extra for convenience or comfort.

As long as they are not paying for it out of their own pocket.

As long as they can charge the extra expenses to their company, Millennials will gladly upgrade the flight or treat themselves.

However, when traveling for leisure, the situation is quite different.

For instance, when going somewhere just for fun, 28% of Millennials will stand for the duration of the flight to pay less.

Conversely, only 16% of people belonging to Generation X will make this sacrifice.

Finally, while this generation is usually known for brand loyalty and sticking with the businesses they perceive as credible, they seem to be really fickle with the choice of the company they travel with.

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They are four times more likely to refuse loyalty to an airline company than members of other generations.


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We’ve already mentioned that Millennials’ most popular leisure destinations are those that promise adventure and excitement.

While business-oriented youngsters are most likely to travel with professional development in mind, we have yet to discuss how they behave once they get there.

Again, if they are traveling at the company’s expense, 42% will spring for a nicer meal.

Thirty-seven percent will spring for room service, while only 26% and 21% of their older colleagues would do the same.

When choosing a hotel, business travelers will first consider its exact location.

Price will take second place, while those traveling for fun will look at the room price and only consider the location.

Members of the Millennial generation are most likely to post a negative review of an establishment they felt deserved it, be it a taxi service, restaurant, or hotel.

However, even they can hold back, as apparently, a whopping 67% of people surveyed by Expedia have never left one in their life.

Despite that, 77% of interviewed Millennials still consider online reviews extremely important when choosing an airline or lodging.


A vibrant and virile generation armed with nothing but a Samsonite carry-on and a smartphone.

Millennials take their zest for life with them wherever they go.

For instance, 79% will readily admit they are more adventurous with food or drink when they are abroad than at home.

While 33% will delay buying a home if they can instead use the money for a dream vacation.

Even though some might call this behavior reckless, Millennials see it differently.

Which generation are you?

Do you agree or disagree?

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