Keeping up with Generation Y’s globetrotting Indie-preneurs 

- less business, more bleisure

How is the profile of the business traveller set to evolve? What can hotels do to stay relevant to their needs? Read on to discover why business as usual means offering the unusual.

The rise of the sharing economy has brought about a different set of travel expectations for young professionals. These millennials who belong to the era of Airbnb and Uber, seek communal experiences and cherish face-to-face interactions. Generation Y business travellers can be characterised by their meshing of business and leisure travel - ‘bleisure’. They look to immerse themselves in authentic local culture while on their business travels. The unique needs of millennials are shaping trends in the tourism and hospitality industries. With their global spread and numbers soaring, there is a need to keep up with their tempo.

On-the-go Jo


Meet Jo, an Indie-preneur. He belongs to a growing group of millennials, a part of the ‘latte and laptop’ generation. The term “Indie-preneur” defines this new freelance generation who are challenging the traditional concept of work. They usually have flexible working hours and no set location from where they work. They thrive in shared work spaces and actively seek communal experiences. Travelling has become essential for Jo and his fellow like-minded indie-entrepreneurs; they view it as an important opportunity for networking and as a rite of passage. The line between work and their private lives has become blurred as well, with work now integrated into their way of life. They are changing the way the travel industry operates and are set to bring in a myriad of changes and new business opportunities.

These Generation Y business travellers are a stark contrast to Generation X business travellers. According to a survey by Deloitte in 2011, two-thirds of Generation X travellers say they often work in their hotel room, whereas younger business travellers enjoy working in more social spaces, such as executive lounges and in lobbies or common areas. These spaces are sites for socialisation and work, where business travellers are able to enjoy the company of fellow travellers while working in these blended spaces. Hotels have recognised these differences and have created brands targeted to meet the needs of these millennials.


An example would be Artyzen Habitat, an Asian hotel chain, offering breakthrough lifestyle hospitality concepts for young millennials - revolving their design around interactive experiences and shared accomodation. The rise of communal experiences has been shaped by the popularity of Airbnb and boutique hotels for lodging and Uber for transportation. Millennials are social creatures and creating meaningful relationships are essential in their travel experiences. There is now a need for hotels to facilitate these meaningful relationships and to create environments for them to flourish. Hotels are adapting to attract and to meet the requirements of indie-preneurs who are now part of the rapidly growing global shared economy.


“Millennials are social creatures and creating meaningful relationships are essential in their travel experiences. There is now a need for hotels to facilitate these meaningful relationships and to create environments for them to flourish.”


Less business, more bleisure 

For globetrotting indie-preneurs, the journey is less commute and more commune. While on their travels, they often combine business and leisure- ‘bleisure’. Their ethos is all about combining productivity, hard work and opportunity to enjoy the job. This generation is more likely to extend their business trips so they can sample the local culture.


Their craving for interaction with locals makes them more likely to enjoy mobile applications like the appropriately-named EatWith. EatWith is based on the concept of communal dining and indiviuals are able to eat with people from all around the world in a local household. Indie-preneurs look for customised experiences and have a huge appetite for discovering the unique. The social dimension of travel is so important, that they at times will use applications like Tinder to gather travel advice from locals and as an avenue for social opportunities while on their travels.

This combination of creativity and commerce is the new face of business travel. Generation Y has a constant need to be connected 24/7 for professional and personal purposes. They are digital nomads, focused on instantaneity and are extremely tech-savvy and independent. They are not brand loyal and they look for beneficial features and functionality above brand promises. They want hotels that offer really fast Wi-Fi and in really convenient locations to boot.

In a report by the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation in 2014, there are currently over 800 million young individuals belonging to the Generation Y bracket and it is estimated that by 2020, they’ll be taking 320 million business trips per year, and with a much higher travel expenditure than Generation X, they’ll be contributing a whopping 75% to business travel spend. These figures underscore the importance of understanding the business travel trends of young professionals as they are set to be the largest contributors to the industry.


Here are some requisites that Jo and his like-minded indie-preneur brethen look for while on their business travels:

• WiFi,WiFi,WiFi – connectivity is of utmost importance
• Local experiences – seeking authenticity
• “Bleisure” – work and play anytime, anywhere
• Creative amenities – free bike rentals/ happy hour
• Communal experience – shared work spaces
• Proactive networking
• Multi-room apartments
• Flexibility of service
• Instantaneity – convenience is king
• Features and functionality above brand
• Meals on the move – on-the-go comfort food
• Stylish interior design
• Personalised experiences
• Good value – proactive researching to cut back on costs

Factors that define Generation Y business travellers:

• Extremely tech savvy and dependent
• Information centric
• Social media savvy – a big factor when making travel decisions
• Social creatures – value group work and feedback
• Notoriously spontaneous – last-minute bookings
• Addicted to choice – Generation of choice
• Against all things overly corporate

Is your brand ready for Jo?

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