Hilton: Blended Business Travel Leads 2024 Trends

Hilton: Blended Business Travel Leads 2024 Trends

Gen Z and Millennial business travelers are leading the way in booking blended travel, according to Hilton Worldwide’s 2024 Trends Report, released Thursday. But they aren’t the only ones stepping out for leisure add-ons to business objectives, an increasing trend among business travelers of all ages, according to the report.

Hilton’s report is based on a survey of nearly 12,000 travelers fielded June 23 to July 7, along with Hilton performance data and observations from key executives. Here’s the rundown, starting with the major push for bleisure travel.

Globally and across age groups from 18 to 75 years old, 46 percent of full-time and self-employed workers plan to travel for business in 2024. Among Gen Z and Millennial workers, however, that figure rose to 53 percent for each age group.

Among all respondents, Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely to extend their trips or take a friend or family member on a business trip in 2024. More than one-third of business travelers in those age groups plan to add pre- or post-trip leisure days to their journey, while 29 percent of Gen Z and 27 percent of Millennials will add a plus-one to their business trip to share those leisure elements. This compares to only 18 percent and 13 percent of Gen X or Baby Boomer business travelers, respectively, who plan to bring a business trip companion in 2024.

Overall, older workers plan to travel for business significantly less than younger workers in 2024. Among Gen X workers, just 38 percent are planning business trips next year and that number drops to just over a quarter of Baby Boomer workers who plan to travel for business in 2024.

Secondary Cities the First Choice for Meetings?

The Hilton report noted a trend of bigger meetings in smaller markets, citing locations like Milwaukee, Albuquerque, N. M., and Fort Myers, Fla., as top meetings growth markets and part of an overall trend for such business moving away from major urban centers.

Though not cited in the Hilton report, cost is likely a factor in this trend. American Express Global Business Travel’s Hotel Monitor 2024, released today, shows spiking rates in major cities—particularly in the United States and Western Europe. The Amex GBT report concluded such dramatic rises may drive meeting and events to look at alternatives in 2024. The report highlighted rates and occupancy levels in Boston, Chicago, Dallas and New York—all major meeting and event locations.

SMB Travel Changing Up Business Mix

Travel among small and midsize businesses has pushed the hotel sector overall to revisit its offerings. Once concentrated on special corporate as the mainstay of business travel, the Hilton report called small and midsize business “resilient” and revealed this group of travelers makes up “roughly 85 percent of Hilton’s business transient mix.” The hotel company plans to expand offerings to this segment in 2024, according to the report. Hilton isn’t the only one planting its strategy more firmly in the SMB segment, Marriott International has stated plans for a programmatic SMB strategy and extended business travel offerings in 2024.

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