Ray Kopcinski, chairman elect of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), told 300 delegates at yesterday’s Business Tourism Scotland conference (11 November) that by 2030, some 78 million business travellers will have been born after 1980.
"They have a different set of characteristics from the generations before them and they represent the fastest-growing population in business," he said.
The conference, organised by Visit Scotland and Scottish Enterprise took place at the SECC Glasgow. It opened with a keynote by Dr Paul Redmond from the University of Liverpool, which defined this new generation of customers.
Kopcinski then added context to Dr Redmond’s research. He said: "We’ve heard that Generation Y is constantly plugged into technology so they expect free and pervasive connectivity wherever they go. The lines between their work and play are more blurred, so they see hotel rooms as an extension of their office as well as somewhere to relax. And they want to be treated as individuals, so they appreciate high levels of customer service and those touches that make them feel unique."
The one-day conference for the Scottish events industry also featured a session by Crystal Interactive managing director Chris Elmitt, which analysed different delegate personalities and how they react to various event scenarios.
Scottish suppliers, hotels and venues also heard from a panel of buyers, which included George P Johnson’s Kevin Jackson, Rick Stainton from Smyle and Dale Parmenter from Drp Group.
The panelists highlighted Scotland’s unique destination selling points but warned that a Scottish referendum on independence from the UK planned for September 2014 would likely cause uncertainty amongst corporate buyers.