Thursday, July 3, 2014

Boomers and vacation travel: understanding and marketing to this group

Did you know that Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) spend over $78 million on vacation travel annually? This equates to $29 billion more than Gen X (those born between 1966 and 1976), and $23 billion more than Millennials. This generation values vacation travel as their favorite leisure activity, so it’s not surprising that they were the first to study abroad, backpack to Europe, and explore other cultures diligently. As the largest travel group, Boomers will dominate the market for the next decade, making it important to win their business by targeting their specific needs and interests. Once you grab their attention and loyalty, they will readily return to their chosen destination. 
In order to develop marketing strategies targeted to this group, you need to understand their priorities. Boomers have reached a stage in their lives where travel is less about family vacation with great value/pricing and more about culturally diverse experiences and exploration. Unlike Gen X who travel with their children, Boomer couples look to reconnect with their significant others and shut down from the pressures of their daily lives. Boomers are likely to book cruises and statistics show that all cruise lines (except Disney) are dominated by Boomer and older travelers accounting for more than half of all cruise travel. In order to sustain recurring bookings from Boomers, cruise lines will need to be creative and offer unique experiences catered to this market. Boomers also have an interest in making a difference and are partial to trips that involve environmentalism and “voluntourism,” which combines travel with volunteer work. 
When it comes to booking their travel, this group is most likely to do all of their research and booking online.  On average, a Boomer will visit four sites to research and three sites to book travel. This group is known to research the best deals, trendy travel locations, and tips and reviews from other travelers. Providing as much detail to them as you can will help you to create a long-term relationship with them. 
Understanding the Boomer mentality, and specifically targeting their needs, will go a long way in your rapport with them for the next decade.

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