Hilton Hotels & Resorts has given a good look at today’s up-and-coming professional to determine the likes and dislikes of meetings attendees in the 23- to 35-year-old age range. The recent survey revealed that, while young business travelers prefer a buzzing social environment and in-person interactions during regular work hours, they would rather spend their evenings on their own.

The findings focused on what truly influences and shapes young professionals’ experience on the road, including their preferences in dining, workspaces and how they blend personal interests with professional requirements.

The research identified that 84% of young business travelers say that they cherish their alone time during business trips, and nearly three-fourths (73%) report that they have a better experience when they spend downtime on their own. When asked how this group prefers to spend their free time, results included:

  • Eating at local restaurants (69%)
  • Exploring the city and/or neighborhood (59%)
  • Sleeping or relaxing (56%)
  • Working out (35%)
  • Attending a happy hour (38%) or unwinding at the lobby/hotel bar (32%)

Last year’s survey results saw 81% of respondents believing that they can get more done in-person. Findings also underscore how their workspace — whether that’s a formal meeting room or multifunctional common space — plays a key role in spurring creativity, encouraging collaboration and ultimately contributing to positive outcomes.

Key findings include:

  • Bustling Environment: Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) are more inspired in a busy, social environment when they are working alone/independently.
  • Natural Light: 92% prefer natural light/windows in a meeting space.
  • Colorful Spaces: 80% prefer a colorful meeting space with elements inspired by their surroundings.
  • Intuitive Technology: 82% prefer a meeting space with advanced, intuitive technology beyond Wi-Fi.

"We’ve all had over-scheduled business trips — with meetings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and social obligations the rest of the evening — and the result is pure exhaustion. We applaud this next generation of travelers for highlighting a tension point many of us have dealt with for years," said Vera Manoukian, senior vice president and global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Hilton's Conrad New York hotel. (Image: Ilene Perlman)

Despite these pain points, responses showed overwhelmingly positive feelings towards traveling for work. 75 % of young professionals in the U.S. see business travel as a major work perk, with 65% considering it a status symbol. Other results underscored:

  • Time to Travel: More than half of respondents (56%) say that they create reasons to travel for business.
  • Career Deal Breaker: 39% go so far as to say they wouldn’t take a job that didn’t allow them to travel for business.
  • Real Life Relationships: 81% say they get more done while meeting face-to-face and 75% have made friends while traveling for work.

Findings also illuminated other sources of tension and challenges for today’s new business travelers:

  • Road Warrior Weight: 65% admit that they regularly pack workout gear, but end up not using it; 44 % have gained weight due to traveling for business.
  • ‘Charge It’ Confusion: 43% often misunderstand what can be expensed and end up owing their company money.
  • Sunday Scares: 38% start to feel stressed and can’t enjoy the weekend when anticipating business travel the next week.
  • Wardrobe Woes: 36% are stressed by trying to pack the right clothes for any situation.
  • Bleisure Blues: 69% wish they could extend their trip for leisure, but 46% admit they feel guilty about doing so — 44% even worry it makes them look bad in the eyes of senior leadership.

Hilton addresses some of these concerns with such programs as:

  • Five Feet to Fitness, the in-room wellness concept brings more than 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options into the guest room itself.
  • Herb N’ Kitchen, Hilton’s modern in-room delivery service and casual dining concept serves up healthy grab & go options.
  • Stay the Course menu packages, including "Yoga and Yogurt," which offers yoga classes followed by a gourmet yogurt bar; or the "Cut & Create" salad, an interactive dining experience that lets attendees customize their meal from a unique, custom-made wood display of fresh greens and accoutrements.