Business Travel Data & Expense How Millennials Are Changing The Way We Think About Eating Out On Work Trips By BMaaS Contributor Posted on January 25, 2019 8 min read View original post.Business dining accounts for nearly 20 percent of annual travel and expense spend, so it certainly shouldn’t be ignored by companies. I spoke with Colleen Gallagher, vice president of communications to learn more.Edward Franklin on Unsplash Whether we’re traveling for work or leisure, one thing all trips have in common is that we have to eat! When it comes to business travel dining, the Global Business Travel Association teamed up with Dinova for a research study diving into the psyche of the business travel diner. Business dining accounts for nearly 20 percent of annual travel and expense spend, so it certainly shouldn’t be ignored by companies. I spoke with Colleen Gallagher, vice president of communications to learn more. Jeff Fromm: What are typical dining behaviors on business trips and do generational gaps exist? Colleen Gallagher: Dining is always on the mind of the road warrior, and the type of dining they do depends on the trip. The study found that in total, 64 percent of business travelers take their money to upscale casual restaurants, followed by fast casual (52 percent), fast food (34 percent) and finally, fine dining (29 percent). Clear generational differences exist when it comes to eating out on the road as Millennials are most likely to dine on-the-go preferring a grab-and-go breakfast, a quick and easy lunch by themselves and delivery or take-out for dinner. The Gen X crowd typically likes to grab lunch and dinner out with their co-workers and Boomers are more likely to wine and dine with clients. Fromm: Let’s talk technology: what role does it play in the business dining experience? Gallagher: In today’s world, technology has become an essential part of how employees of all ages travel, but as digital natives, Millennials especially embrace technology and not surprisingly, are more willing to use the tools and technology made available to them through their travel programs. The research found that 63 percent of business travelers research will dine prior to leaving for their trip. Generationally, Millennials are much more likely to use Uber Eats while Boomers prefer to search for the best-reviewed restaurants in the area and use Yelp. In fact, 63 percent of business travelers have dining-related apps on their mobile phone. In the last year, they used their device to search for local places to eat (54 percent), to make a reservation (47 percent) and to search social media for information about a restaurant (33 percent). Fromm: How important are healthy options while on the road for work? Gallagher: Eating healthy on the road has become front and center for business travelers, which is why the vast majority (77 percent) of business travelers consider it to be important when traveling. Additionally, 64 percent prefer healthier menu options and 43 percent want to see published nutritional facts. While it could be a sign of the times, Millennials could also be a powerful driving force in this area. When ranking factors for choosing a restaurant on the road, three in 10 Millennials rank the nutritional value of the meal in their top two reasons—more so than any other group. Fromm: What is a preferred dining program and what makes a road warrior want to use one? Gallagher: Similar to how companies have preferred airline, hotel or car rental vendors, a preferred dining program provides a list of policy approved restaurants for dining on official company business. Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) business travelers say their companies have a preferred dining program and a similar share (37 percent) are interested in having one. Additionally, 74 percent say they would be more motivated to use a preferred program if they earned rewards. Interestingly, 75 percent of Millennials would be more likely to become a member if rewards points could be redeemed toward their favorite charity, compared to 61 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of Baby Boomers. Fromm: With business travel, a lot comes down to the bottom line, so what about the expense report? Gallagher: When asked what diners can expense in their travel policies, 71 percent of respondents said client meals, 56 percent said group meals and 46 percent said alcoholic beverages. Additionally, 72 percent said they pay for meals with a corporate credit card. It turns out Millennials are incredibly responsible with company money. Contrary to popular views that Millennials are often entitled or difficult employees, they are much more likely to have reservations about ordering extras such as room service (66 percent) or coffee and snacks (70 percent) while traveling as opposed to their Gen X or Boomer colleagues—even when their travel policy permits it.