by Michael J. Shapiro | September 08, 2016

The Global Business Travel Association Foundation and American Express Global Business Travel have published a new report based on their research into what drives traveler satisfaction, and how it differs by generation. The study, "Traveler Satisfaction: Exploring the Generational Divide," focuses on the survey responses of more than 800 frequent business travelers from the U.S. and Canada.

Overall, the frequent business travelers were a satisfied group -- 88 percent, in fact, were satisfied with their business-travel experiences. Nearly as many (84 percent) want to travel either the same amount or more than they do now. As for the causes, four themes were identified in the research: booking, productivity during travel, tracking and reporting, and personal life. Not every theme resonated with each generation.

The research revealed, not surprisingly, the more seamless the booking experience was, the greater the traveler satisfaction. But while the specifics of booking weren't a major concern for Boomers, Millennials were particularly interested in having a variety of suppliers to choose from, and Gen Xers most valued the ease of making changes.

As for productivity, getting through airport security was a common source of frustration; more than half of the travelers (51 percent) pay for tools like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck when their companies won't foot the bill, and many say that having those tools has drastically improved their experience. When broken down by generation, PreCheck and Global Entry had more of an impact on the Millennial and GenX satisfaction. For Boomers, having Wi-Fi in all environments was more of a concern.

In terms of tracking and reporting, alleviating the pain point of expense reporting drove satisfaction for all business travelers. While Millennials cared about being able to submit their expense reports and receipts electronically, GenXers specifically wanted to be able to send photos of their receipts using a smartphone while submitting the reports from their desktops. For Boomers, the specifics of tracking and reporting weren't a significant factor in driving satisfaction.

What Boomers did value was personal life, or the ability to maintain good relationships with friends and children while traveling for work. This concern did not resonate with Millennials nor GenXers.

According to the report, the point of examining the differing needs of each generation in the workforce was to help companies acknowledge that a one-size-fits-all solution may not be the best approach for building a satisfied base of business travelers. "Companies should focus on supporting the key drivers of employee satisfaction and consider each driver through a generational lens," the report concludes.

Click here to download the report from American Express Global Business Travel.