Keys To Winning Their Travel Business

Boomers spend over $78 billion on vacation travel annually—$29 billion more than Gen X, and $23 billion more than Millennials. It’s not surprising they rank travel as their No. 1 leisure activity and are the real trailblazers when it comes to vacation travel.

As the first generation to study abroad, backpack through Europe on $5 a day, and hitchhike to Woodstock, Boomers have always made a travel a priority and continually look for innovative experiences. 

At this stage of Boomer lives, travel is less about finding affordable destinations that appeal to both parents and children, and more about indulgence, exploration and reward. Understanding their travel priorities enables marketers to develop marketing strategies that will pay off. 

6 Ways to Connect with Boomers’ Travel Priorities

  • Help Boomer Couples Reconnect: While nearly half of Gen X travelers vacation abroad with children, over 80% of Boomer travelers are not accompanied by their offspring. Boomer travelers seek travel experiences that allow them to reconnect and strengthen the bonds they share with their spouses/significant others. 
  • Promote Rejuvenation: As a generation working longer (one in ten Boomers told a recent Gallop poll they plan to work forever), Boomers look to travel as a way to unplug, rejuvenate, relax and rediscover.
  • Develop Innovative Cruise Travel: Every major cruise line, except Disney, is dominated by Boomer and older travelers, who account for 63% of all cruise travel. To compete for Boomer dollars, cruise lines must continually court Boomers and provide them with innovative cruising experiences.
  • Demonstrate Support for the Environment: Boomers are passionate about the environment—Earth Day happened under their watch—and many have translated their environmentalism into Eco-Friendly vacations.  According to Forbes, the U.N. World Tourism Organization predicts there will be some 1.6 billion eco-inspired trips taken by 2020.
  • Show How Boomers Can Make a Difference: Baby Boomers have historically felt a personal responsibility to make society better for all. This applies to their travel habits as well, as "voluntourism" trips have sprung up in recent years, combining travel with volunteer work. Doug Cutchins, co-author of Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others,” told the Wall Street Journal that Boomers "have the time, the financial resources and the perspective to understand the moral reasons for using their skills to help others." 
  • Reach Boomer Travelers Online: Eighty percent of Boomer travelers go online to plan travel, spending between 30 and 36 hours a year researching travel. They visit, on average, four sites to research and three sites to book travel. They are looking for the best deals, destination information, new travel ideas, recommendations and tips from other travelers, interactive maps and other resources that enable them to make informed travel choices and easily book their trips online. 

Boomers are today’s largest travel segment, and they will continue to dominate the travel market for the next decade. Winning their business means continually tracking their needs and interests and targeting them in ways that will grab their attention, have resonance, and enable them to readily turn their travel dreams into realities.

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1 comment about "Keys To Winning Their Travel Business".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , June 5, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.
    You are missing 2 very important points. #1. Single travel without those nasty greedy double charges. We do not want to "cruise" (doesn't mean 63% of boomers want to cruise) sit and eat and sit and eat. We want to see the world and not be a "tourist". #2. 2 beds in the rooms. B & B's lose this business. So many boomers want to share the room - the same number of people as a couple - and are as the saying goes "just friends". So many boomers are unattached or have a partner who doesn't want to go. 2 single beds placed up against one another does not count. Also note, boomers are notorious for having sleep problems so this condensation makes for a very uncomfortable stay and keeps people home.