By Marie Nieves

As a millennial and business leader, I can safely say that my travel habits differ vastly from those of my parents, as well as my younger colleagues and friends. This has got me thinking about all of the articles and research I’ve read over the years that deal with the behavioral patterns of millennials within the professional realm, how we combine business and leisure, and how we’re constantly touted as the generation that disrupts the norm and aims to change, well, everything.

I’m not at all surprised to say that I agree with that. After all, someone has to disrupt the traditional norms, and who better than a generation of young adults who need and want to enjoy their business trip from a professional and personal point of view. Here’s how I see that we, the millennial generation, are changing the travel industry, and why that is awesome.

In search of “the local experience”

Immediately upon getting the travel assignment from the head honcho, you’re probably scurrying to your computer to check out the destination in search of interesting things you can see during your off hours, right? Don’t worry, I do it too, even though I am my own boss and the reason I’m traveling is supposed to be purely professional. But it never really is.

In fact, I find myself overly excited about all of the “local” things I’ll get to do there, about the local culture and the unique way of life I’m going to come in contact with and, if I have enough time, embrace fully. We, the millennials, are dying for cultural diversity, we are yearning to experience the heartbeat of that faraway land, and I believe that the hotel chains, restaurants, and all other institutions are taking notice.

Every decision is made online

We’re a generation of digital natives, which essentially means that we were born into the technological world, that technology is an inextricable part of our lives. I think this is amazing, no matter how little understanding our parents have for our way of life. Technology is a wonderful asset, and I use it to organize an unforgettable trip every single time.

From picking the perfect venue to meet with potential clients and business partners, to optimizing my luggage according to the destination, all the way to finding and booking a stay I’ll want to move to, I use the web to make almost every decision regarding my trip. And honestly, so should you.

Mixing business with pleasure at the hotel

If there is one thing, I know all of my millennial friends and colleagues do, it’s that we are always trying to erase that parting line between business and pleasure. As far as I’m concerned, I came here to do business and have an amazing time away from my usual routine, so I always make sure to find the accommodation that offers numerous interesting activities first. After all, this is where I’ll be spending a lot of my time.

I remember staying at this beautiful boutique hotel near downtown Sydney once called The Old Clare Hotel that made a huge impression on me simply because of the way they portrayed the Aussie way of life and mixed it all in with interesting activities at night. I think that finding the right accommodation is essential for us millennials, because when the meeting is over, we tend to invite our new business partners to a cocktail at the bar, which is what I did to close the deal. There are numerous benefits to modern hotels offering a wide range of facilities and activities to their guests, which is why I’ve seen a surge in millennial-centered stays in the past few years.

We’re also mixing personal and impersonal communication

There is an interesting phenomenon that’s permeating the millennial way of life I believe, the phenomenon of introverts doing business the extroverted way. Here’s what I mean. We tend to do everything online: we talk to people, we manage our team, we lead our business, all in the digital realm. Yet we travel abroad to meet with our clients and close a new deal in person.

Why is that? Because, and I have the data to back this up, we millennials are erasing the boundary between introverts and extroverts. Most of the time, we’re the quiet thinkers and strategists who like to get everything done over the phone or a digital contract. But somehow, we’re not afraid to venture out into the unknown to meet and greet our foreign colleagues, partners, and clients.

Looking to save a buck at evert turn

I don’t think we are cheap, especially not the millennials who have built up a successful business. We have every opportunity to splurge on ourselves and our travels, yet somehow, we choose not to. Instead, we find boutique stays, local farmer’s markets, healthy local food, and enjoy the local way of life that really doesn’t cost all that much.

I believe this is because we try to be more conscious about our impact on the environment and the local economy. Why boost the megastore chains when we can give back to the local farmers? Why feed the gargantuan hotel chains when we can book a charmingly local stay? Business travel is not a luxury, it’s business mixed with pleasure, and that doesn’t have to cost an arm, or a leg.

Parting words

I love to think that we’re changing the way people travel for business, and I sincerely hope that we are changing the concept of travel for the better. Now that you know how a millennial organizes their business trip, try to adopt some of these habits yourself and you’re bound to have the time of your life the next time you hit the road.