According to AARP’s annual Travel Trends Survey, boomers are planning well in advance to take four to five leisure trips in 2019, and they will spend about 20% to 50% more on these trips than their Gen X or millennial counterparts.
This is great news for businesses catering to travelers. With strong reservations from boomers secured in Q1 and Q2, travel professionals can use discounted promotions targeted to budget-minded consumers to fill remaining vacancies.
Spending More for a Better Experience
Overall, boomers will spend more on travel in 2019 than younger tourists, opting for longer trip durations, upgraded accommodations and shopping while sightseeing. So this is the year for marketers to tout the “something special” extras that differentiate destinations, accommodations or modes of transportation from the competition.
Travel to Solidify Ties or Break Routine
In 2019, boomers will travel for a variety of reasons, including visiting family and friends (57%), relaxing and rejuvenating (48%) and getting away from the predictability of everyday life (47%). Nearly 15% of boomers plan to take their grandchildren on a trip in 2019, leaving Mom and Dad at home.
Boomers are passionate about adventure and discovery. As the first generation to take air travel for granted, boomers will continue to see travel as an essential part of life.
Over 40% of boomers planning international travel will go to Europe in 2019, with England, Italy and France continuing to be the most popular destinations. Another third will travel south to the Caribbean or South or Central America. At least one in 10 foreign travelers will go to Asia or Canada, and 4% will go to Mexico. Most will stay in hotels, with only two in 10 considering staying with locals.
Florida and California Vie for Boomer Dollars
Florida and California are the most popular domestic destinations for boomer travel in 2019, with 17% planning to visit Florida and 11% looking to California. While most of these travelers will stay in a hotel, over a third will stay with family or friends.
Looking Forward, Longer
The most significant change noted in the survey is that boomers are planning their travel further in advance. Of those planning domestic trips this year, almost nine in 10 had already determined their destinations, up significantly from the start of 2018, when only 72% knew where they were going. Among boomers traveling abroad, 31% booked their 2019 trips by September 2018, up 8% year-over-year.
Boomers see travel as a way to learn about different cultures, so companies can appeal to these early birds by offering a unique side trip, foreign language classes, cultural or genealogical insights or ethnic cooking classes.
Unlike their younger counterparts, most boomers don’t plan to mix business with their personal travel plans. For travel companies, that’s positive news. Boomers have more time to indulge in every opportunity you can offer them.