Interesting fact number one: in spite of the increasingly digital world, business travel is increasing in numbers. What is very unique is the direction that this travel is going. The Gen X generation, and their predecessors the Baby Boomers, the generation that brought the art of business aviation travel into the mainstream media, preferred to focus on getting there, getting it done, and getting home. Oh, how times have changed.
First of all, what is business aviation? In layman’s terms business aviation is simply the use of any general aviation aircraft for business purposes. Salesman and business people used to travel from town to town by train or on horseback. The improvements of the automobile added an entire new dimension to the term “traveling salesman”. These days it is all about the ease and convenience of air travel and it shows no sign of ending.
Business aviation and travel will continue to evolve, but here are a few of the most major recent changes in the industry.
Its all about apps
This is the age of apps. Everyone seems to be constantly connected to their smart phone or tablet. This connectivity has brought with it the need for more and more apps. Apps for restaurant recommendations and transportation options. Apps for things to do, places to stay, and to track expenses.
Some of the favorite travel apps are those such as Oanda currency converter while Seatguru lets you know the best seats on any flight. Tripit is a great app to use as a master itinerary showing all of your confirmations in one spot, and Loungebuddy is another popular app for allowing participation in business class lounges at various airports around the globe.
A new word- Bleisure Travel
Two words that probably have no business together has become the hot phrase for modern day business travel and aviation. The art of mixing business and pleasure is a new mindset in the United States.
Europe, Latin America, and much of the rest of the world have long understood that life is about so much more than work. The long held American ideal of bragging about who works the most hours has become an antiquated thought. By combining business and pleasure, life is immeasurably sweeter. In addition, the overall health of employees in these countries involves much less stress, a large contributor to heart disease and a host of other issues.
Increase in private jet charter
Celebrities and the rich and famous have long appreciated the value of having a private jet at their disposal. Businesses have also come to realize just how good of a value a private jet charter can be when they factor in all of the relevant details.
When you hear the term private jet the first thing that comes to mind is luxury. And indeed, these planes offer increased comfort, ample legroom, in-flight entertainment, and all the privacy you could want. Private jets act as boardrooms in the sky. They also allow for increased flexibility and as the old adage goes “time is money”. By allowing business aviation travelers to fly from smaller airports, determine their route, and avoid the security challenges of commercial flights, the price tag becomes well worth the price.
Private jet charters are also not as expensive as you might think. By doing research, being flexible, and considering the number of passengers being accommodated, your company is sure to get good value for their money.
Airports as work spaces
As air travel and business aviation changed with the times, security issues and a host of other changes made a business travelers life that much more complicated and time consuming. Time spent idly at airports increased and yet little work was getting done. This may well be one of the biggest changes in business aviation over the decades. Where the business traveler of old attempted to spend as little time in airports as possible, the new approach is to use this down time to their advantage.
Technology has increased dramatically in the last two decades and airports have risen to the challenge. The new travelers of today fully embrace the business lounges and conference centers. They also tend to be much more willing to take advantage of establishments such as spa services to feel pampered and refreshed upon arrival.
WiFi is widespread throughout terminals and airports. It is even possible to sit down to an excellent meal while continuing to work making airport time efficient time.
The Millennial factor
This new age of business aviation is focused on the Millennial’s, and their mindset is a 360-degree turn from the old days. Millennial’s often tend to be considered less willing to put in hard work than the generations before them. While that may be true in some cases, it is becoming clear that this generation is just as hard working. They have also embraced the more Intercontinental mindset discussed above.
Airports, airlines, and the entire business aviation industry have taken note. This new wave of business travelers came to age with AOL and all had their first cell phones while still in high school. They expect constant connectivity and expect free WiFi services available to them.
Because of the social networking aspect, Millennial’s also pay much attention to on-line reviews and sites. Savvy hotels, restaurants, and conference centers should pay great attention to their reviews. These travelers understand that they are more important to a property, for instance, than the one-off guest who may never again check-in.
Business aviation travel will undoubtedly continue to shift with the times. The younger business travelers of today are not shy on sharing their opinions, nor on splurging on the company dime.
In an effort to combine business and pleasure, more business travelers extend their trip to enjoy leisure time at their destination. Spontaneity is also a big factor and airlines and hotels will most likely continue to adjust with more lenient change fees and policies.
In the end technological advances, and changes in the mindset of the travelers themselves, have made business aviation a whole new world.