Tech-savvy, witty, adventurous. A new generation of business travelers is reshaping the industry. Millennials seek for a combination of business trips with leisure experiences and have set a trend: bleisure. Get some insights into new travel behavior and see, how Norway successfully responds to this.
Business traveling has increasingly changed throughout the past decade. Getting close to the age of 40, the millennials are becoming the most important target group for business travel, by 2025 this generation will be with 75 % the biggest workforce. With an average of 7,4 business trips per year, they are the most frequent business travelers, compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers.
Balancing Work and Life
As digital natives, their mobile phones are indispensable device to organize their private life as well as their professional. They value the importance of a balance between work and life, are interested in different cultures and prefer experiences to things. They are connected with friends all over the world. Millennials pay attention to their surroundings and have a high awareness of its impact on social, economy and environment.
It’s a Bleisure to Travel – Not Only for Millennials
Despite all digitalization – when it comes to business, millennials still prefer face-to-face meetings and events, because they want to sense the real feeling, emotion, and reaction from their conversation partners. But they want to blend business with leisure. ‘Bleisure’ – what sounds like a pronunciation from a drunk is an important trend in the business industry. Going to a congress in Barcelona and staying in a residential community with local young professionals. Visiting a fair in Oslo and prolonging the weekend to go to the Lofoten with the Partner. Business travel is becoming more and more rather a perk than necessity. 81% of the millennials would add extra time to a business trip, and still 56 % of Gen X and 46 % of the Baby Boomers.
How to Turn a Business Trip into a Great Experience
Most millennials organize and book their travels and accomodations by themselfes. Therefore, they use price comparison websites or apps to ease their bookings. A productive business trip should seek to incorporate a good end-to-end experience for travelers, from service providers who understand their preferences and make suggestions to their specific needs esp. in terms of bleisure. For the high need for ubiquity and connectivity, fast and reliable Wi-Fi is crucial. Hotels, Airbnb but also airports and meeting areas have already adapted to this need.
Airbnb and Uber Make Great companions
For their accommodation, they rather look for ‘experiences’ and places with a local atmosphere for the duration of their trip. Millennials prefer Airbnb or other vacation rentals over business hotels and prefer ridesharing over taxis. Interesting meeting locations or events with locals can add that extra something to a normal business trip, better when they can have a quick spot on spectacular sceneries.
Spectacular Growth for Norway’s Congress Industry
Norway seems to meet many of those needs, because the MICE-Sector and the number of congress-visitors are at a record high, as recent figures show. Norway has made its position to 22 in the global ranking of congress destinations and aims to be among the top 20 in the next year. The average number of delegates per congress is 250, the average duration 2,7 days, Cost per day and night: 3.940 NOK.
Continous Growth of MICE Passengers (+ 38 %)
A recent survey from Avinor shows, that in 2018 more than 500.000 passengers were visiting Norway with the purpose “conferences, congresses, fairs”. This is an increase of 38 % in the last 10 years. Passengers mainly travel from northern Europe countries such as Sweden, Denmark, UK, Germany.
77 % More Congresses
Even higher is the growth of actual congresses. According to a survey from Innovasjon Norge, in 2018 Norway hosted 532 registered congresses. This is a growth of 77 % since 2011, mostly due to Oslo (+216 %) and Trondheim (+175 %).
Attractive Topics for Millennials
The majority of the congresses dealt with topics such as health and welfare, the oceans, creative businesses and travel, smart cities, clean energy, and bio-economy. This leads to the assumption, that a large proportion of the delegates are millennials.
People stay mostly at hotels (38 %), visitor facilities of universities or research institutes (36 %), or at congress facilities (10 %). Other accommodations with a percentage of 13 % could be private residentials such as Airbnb-bookings.
„We work hard globally to present Norway as an attractive destination for events of all sizes. The feedback we often get is that Norway as host of larger events, such as congresses, offers good quality and exotic destinations.”, says Frode Aasheim, Head of Congress, meetings and events at Visit Norway.
Norway – a Truly “Bleisurable” Experience
To sum it up, Norway is a great congress destination, with many advantages, that not only millennials do appreciate:
Great accessibility: hundreds of direct flights from Europe, excellent national transport, great infrastructure and a high standard of digitalization provide best conditions for great meetings.
Beautiful nature and sights: Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty. Northern lights, midsummer, beautiful landscapes and cities are worth a visit and due to short distances easy to combine with a business trip.
Hospitality and great food: the hospitality and the openness of locals makes it easy to connect and share great experiences such as enjoying Norwegian specialties together.
Sustainability & safety: Norway is ahead with sustainability and has a lot of environmental certified travel destinations. The country is very safe, reliable transport makes it easy to get where you want and just in time.