Research has revealed some interesting generational differences in business travellers when it comes to their dining, payment and expensing options.

A survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in association with business dining marketplace Dinova found Millennials are more likely to dine on the go and are more cost-conscious, while Baby Boomers tend to wine and dine clients and Generation X prefers to eat in a group with colleagues.

During business trips, 18 per cent of Millennials eat breakfast on the go, while 23 per cent grab a quick and easy lunch by themselves and 18 per cent order take-away for dinner.

Younger employees also have more reservations about spending extra money during a business trip – 66 per cent are afraid to order room service and 70 per cent don’t get coffee or snacks on the company dime, even when their travel policy permits it.

When asked what they are allowed to expense, 71 per cent of respondents said they can charge back client meals, 56 per cent said group meals and 46 per cent said alcoholic beverages. Additionally, 72 per cent said they pay for meals with a corporate credit card.

The research also found that 63 per cent of travellers research where to eat prior to leaving for their trip. When broken down by generation, Millennials are more likely to use Uber Eats while Baby Boomers tend to research restaurants with the best reviews. Sixty-three per cent of respondents have dining-related apps on the phones.

Healthy options are also important for travellers, with 77 per cent saying it’s important. Furthermore, 64 per cent prefer healthier menu choices and 43 per cent look for published nutritional facts. Three in ten Millennials rank the nutritional value of the meal when choosing where to eat.

However, travellers seem to at least consider cost when deciding where to eat – only 29 per cent choose fine dining, while 64 per cent go to upscale casual restaurants, 52 per cent choose ‘fast casual’ and 34 per cent pick fast food.

Nearly four in ten travellers said their company has a preferred dining programme, while 37 per cent said they’d be interested in having one. Additionally, 74 per cent said they would be more motivated to use a preferred programme if they earned rewards – especially Millennials.

Jessica Collison, research director at the GBTA, said: “A one-size-fits-all approach often isn’t the answer when it comes to crafting travel policy. The research reveals that clear generational differences exist when it comes to preferences around dining out while travelling for work. For travel buyers considering a preferred dining programme, it’s important to make sure the programme you choose meets the needs of all of your travellers.”

Alison Galik, president of Dinova, added: “The research findings really highlight the significance of understanding the spectrum of travellers within an organisation. Travel managers are serving multiple generational groups, each with their own preferences. The more they can dial in on what makes for a good travel experience, on the opportunities for reducing employee stress and increasing job satisfaction – and then cater to and engage their travellers in those areas – the more effective their overall programme will be. We believe dining is an area that absolutely fills this bill. Cultivating a successful preferred dining programme can both serve a broad range of needs and help create an unforgettable travel experience.”

Download an infographic with findings from the survey here.;

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