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New Millennial Business-Travel Survey Reveals the Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

A Hilton Hotels report finds young professionals want face-to-face meetings but treasure solo time in an overscheduled world.

The latest Hilton Hotels & Resorts survey of business travelers aged 23 to 35 shows some trends consistent with last year’s survey, but also exposes a downside of traveling for meetings that planners should pay attention to.

Eighty-four percent of young business travelers say they appreciate alone time on a trip, and 73 percent say they enjoy downtime more when they can be on their own. It’s possible this is a result of overscheduling at business events, and in the future, meeting planners might have to rethink itineraries as Millennials become a larger segment of attendees.

For example, morning meetings might be more productive than afternoons when young professionals have already been engaged with others for long periods of time. Interestingly, the survey found that during downtime spent alone, 69 percent of respondents like to go to restaurants and 59 percent like to explore the city. Given this finding, an off-site dinner at a local restaurant serving authentic cuisine could be a more attractive option for these attendees than an event in the hotel’s ballroom, even if the off-site dinner is in the company of others.

Sleeping and relaxing during downtime scored higher (56 percent) than working out (35 percent) or going to a happy-hour event (38 percent). For planners, choosing a hotel with a selection of bed pillows and smart TVs that enable attendees to accommodate their latest Netflix binge might be a better option than one with an impressive wine cellar.

Unsurprisingly, 82 percent of respondents want meeting spaces to have advanced, intuitive technology, but don’t confine them in a modern industrial cube with no windows or distractions: 92 percent prefer lots of natural light and warm colorful spaces.

On the whole, the future of meetings and business travel looks safe in the hands of the next generation. As in last year’s poll, the vast majority of respondents said they accomplish more with a face-to-face meeting, and more than half of them have created a reason to take a business trip.

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