MARKETING: Baby Boom Trends and Travel

Posted on 1/19/2011 by Matt Walters

If you don’t think that the Baby Boomer generation will have a sizable impact on the travel, hotel and lodging industry, then maybe you haven’t seen the statistics.  The simple fact is that there will be nothing short of millions of Baby Boomers retiring soon.

In fact, approximately 28% of the population of the United States is made up of Baby Boomers. These numbers will most definitely impact almost every industry including travel, hotel and lodging. If you are not keeping an eye on these Baby Boom trends, then you are potentially missing out on the largest purchasing demographic in history!

Baby Boom characteristics include the fact that this group of people loves to travel and see the world. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 80% of leisure travel is comprised of Baby Boomers. Further, according to these statistics, this group makes 42% of all Baby Boom Generation and Traveltheir purchases online. In fact, over 70% of Boomers have broadband Internet access. This means that if you are involved in Baby Boom marketing, you definitely want to have a significant presence on the web.

Of course, having the money to do it in style is also part of the attraction. Savvy people who are keeping their eyes on luxury travel trends realize Baby Boomers not only want to go on trips, but also they want to have unique and memorable experiences as well.

There is no doubt Baby Boomers want adventure, and they want fun while traveling. But it’s been my experience that they don’t want too much adventure and too much fun. Much like Goldilocks, they want just the right amount of each. I actually personally know several Baby Boomer couples that fit this bill. They like the idea of traveling to “far off and exotic lands,” but they like their “far off and exotic” to be softly cushioned with a feather bed and a chocolate mint on the pillow. According to the Natural Marketing Index, four out of five Boomers feel that if they could reduce stress, it would improve their quality of life.

I remember one conversation I had with a Baby Boomer couple that had recently visited South Africa. They went on and on about how great their trip was. However, after talking to them a short time and learning more about their travels, I realized that they never left the hotel grounds! They spent their time dining in the hotel’s 5 star restaurants, sunning at the pool and golfing. Exotic is good, but to a point. When surveyed about their characteristics, approximately half of Baby Boomers said they consider themselves to be adventurous risk takers. However, it must also be factored in that this group also desires a stress-free experience at the same time.

Of course, different Baby Boomers behave in different ways, as we are talking about a very diverse group of people. However there is just no way around the fact that Baby Boomers are more likely to stick to the tourist areas, whether traveling in the United States or abroad. Moreover, you can expect them, on average, to demand a relatively high level of service as well. It’s safe to state that this is one of the more reliable Baby Boom characteristics on a whole.

If you are in the travel, hotel and lodging industry, you can expect to see a great many more Baby Boomers coming your way now and in the future.

When it comes to baby boom marketing, here are some facts to keep in mind.

  • They want adventure (or at least they think they do)
  • They might just expect you to take some of the “rough edges” off that adventure

So maybe they will be a little higher maintenance than what you might be used to, but keep in mind that there are lots of them. Plus, they have money to spend and that is a very, very good thing.

How are you incorporating activities, incentives, packages or images representing the Baby Boom Generation into your advertising and sales strategy?


Matt Walters - Grape Leaf Hospitality - Passionate Hospitality Expert.  Marketing for Hotels, Wine Tourism, Lodging, Inns and B&B's.


Baby Boomers, Travel Trends, Baby Boom Characteristics, Luxury Travel, Baby Boom Marketing

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