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More Millennial Business Travelers Will Reach for Mobile Wallets, Says GBTA

New research released Monday (May 11) by the Global Business Travel Association’s research arm, in partnership with American Express, shows millennials are on the cutting edge of using newer methods of payment and travel-related data.

A full 37 percent of travelers 18-34 years of age say they will either “definitely” or probably” use a mobile, cashless wallet within the next 12 months, nearly twice the level of all business travelers who had similar plans. Social media has also proven useful to this age group, as half of surveyed millennials said they used such platforms to review travel suppliers or meet up with personal and business peers.

These findings are part of the GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, a proprietary tool developed by GBTA and Amex. The Index seeks to measure key components of business-related travel, including overall trip experience, attitudes toward company policy management, and satisfaction with business travel expense management, including using cards for expenses.

The online survey, conducted in December 2014, gathered responses from more than 820 U.S.-based full or part-time employees who traveled for business at least four times in the preceding 12 months.

In terms of tracking expenses, travelers who took at least a dozen trips over the 2014 time frame were less satisfied with their ability to track receipts than those who hit the road less often. A full three quarters of those who responded say they are “highly satisfied” with using a corporate card for trip expenses.

The report recommended that companies should put more resources into mobile app and other management solutions that track and manage expense reports in order to save time and increase productivity.

Speaking more generally, it may not be a surprise that more travelers – or 36 percent — point to convenience as their top consideration whether they are booking domestic or international flights, over ticket price (24 percent) or the ability to rack up air miles (20 percent).

“Time is money for business travelers, so it comes as no surprise that U.S. travelers place such a high premium on convenience,” said Joseph Bates, vice president of the GBTA Foundation. “While a more convenient flight or a hotel closer to the meeting may cost slightly more, it is worth it to business travelers and their companies if it allows them to be more productive and maximize their time.”

As this is the first period analyzed, the initial results will serve as a benchmark for future surveys. 

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