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Study Casts Spotlight on Business Travel Dining Trends

Millennials prefer to dine on-the-go, Boomers care to wine and dine clients while Gen Xers opt to eat in a group with colleagues, according to first-of-its-kind research on business traveler dining habits released by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Dinova Inc. 

Aiming to provide insight into the range of travelers within a business organization, the research reveals generational differences when it comes to business traveler dining, payment and expensing options.

In terms of expensing, 71 percent said they spent it on client meals, 56 percent on group meals and 46 percent on alcoholic beverages. Additionally, 72 percent said they pay for meals with a corporate credit card.

The study also found that even if their travel policy permits it, Millennials are much more likely to refrain from ordering extras such as room service (66 percent) or coffee and snacks (70 percent) as opposed to their Gen X or Boomer colleagues.

“A one-size-fits-all approach often isn’t the answer when it comes to crafting travel policy,” said Jessica Collison, GBTA research director.

“The research reveals that clear generational differences exist when it comes to preferences around dining out while traveling for work. For travel buyers considering a preferred dining program, it’s important to make sure the program you choose meets the needs of all of your travelers.”

In the meantime, Millennials are closer to technology and more willing to use it in their travels. Indicatively, 63 percent of business travelers research where to dine prior to leaving for their trip with 63 percent having dining-related apps on their mobile phones.

In 2017, more than half (54 percent) used their device to search for local places to eat, 47 percent to make a reservation and 33 percent to search social media for information about a restaurant.

Millennials prefer Uber Eats while Boomers seek out the best-reviewed restaurants in the area and use Yelp.

In terms of healthy eating, the majority (77 percent) considers it to be important when traveling with 64 percent preferring healthier menu options and 43 percent expecting to see published nutritional facts. Three in 10 Millennials rank the nutritional value of the meal in their top two reasons for choosing a restaurant on the road.

In terms of choice, 64 percent of business travelers opt for upscale casual restaurants, followed by fast casual (52 percent), fast food (34 percent) and lastly, fine dining (29 percent).

At the same time, most prefer to go by a preferred dining program which provides a list of policy-approved restaurants for dining on official company business. Nearly four in 10 (38 percent) say their companies have a preferred dining program with 37 percent saying they were interested in having one.

Additionally, 74 percent say they would be more motivated to use a preferred program if they earned rewards.

Washington DC-based Global Business Travel Association is an international business travel and meetings trade organization active on six continents with its 9,000-plus members managing over 345 billion dollars of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually.

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