I started to do some research about Generation "Y", Millennial Generation, or what is sometimes even called the "Me" Generation. I primarily did this out of curiosity for my own children. What was it that made them tick - and how do the influences of my social system and country effect such an assessment. And it got me thinking about this generation of business travelers. Those that have entered the workforce and are now faced with the challenge of traveling on the company dime, and how they behave in the workforce.
The result of my research led me down the path to think about these three traits:
a) Entitlement: This is the biggie that is sometimes tagged to this generation, and no doubt the one that will cause corporations and travel buyers all over the world the most heartache. This generation believe they are entitled to certain things - and probably one of those is the right and ability to travel however they want. Besides causing pain for the businesses that hire these youth, I can imagine every TMC reading this saying the same thing. However, in the end, there must be a logical conclusion that says doing what is right for the company is what matters in the end. If there is a belief that doing what is right for the company allows them the ability to employ this generation, the sense of entitlement will go away (at least for travel). Really, in the end, that is all that matters. Unless they all start leaving to find that one company that lets them all do whatever they want!
b) Narcissism: So if it was not bad enough to just feel like everything should be yours, the selfishness may rear its ugly head. When I think about the implications for business travel, it is very similar to the first one. I mean, you have to be a little selfish to even think about being entitled to whatever you want. Right? But in the end it may just take some strong convincing that while this generation is all about themselves, doing what is right for the greater good may be the final message. Once again, who knows if this will stick, but we have to try!
c) Rejection of Social Conventions: Finally, the idea that this is how it is done, or how it was done in the past just does not matter to the Me Generation. They are a challenging generation - which is not always a bad thing! This one may help all of us do a better job with the challenges of business travel and managing this big ticket item. They reject the traditional social conventions of the past and look for new - and it is up to all of us to think and listen to what they have to say. It may just make a difference.
In the end, there may be some more changes along the way in how and why things are done. But, what I cannot see changing in the end is the basic premise for all of us which is to provide an efficient, cost effective travel services to businesses all over the world. We will evolve and change for the better, but the overall objective remains the same.