One of the driving forces of change, as we go forward through the 21st Century, has been the notion that none of us should be limited or defined by pre-conceived ideas from the past. This has been as true in travel as in any other aspect of our society. While the different generations have their distinctive characteristics, no one really wants to be put into a box and labeled. Conceivably, it could be the rapidly expanding technology linking us all together, but the generational lines have become increasingly indistinct. Yet concurrently, it is only natural for there to be differences between the generations. It is imperative for hoteliers to recognize the need for authentic experiences, a common thread, and how it impacts the lives of travelers of all ages.
The youngest of this generation are turning 54 during 2018, making these travelers largely “seniors” now. Yet don’t tell them, since they like to think they are young, at least in heart and spirit. Recent research conducted by Phocuswright indicates, although Boomers travel less than younger people, they go all out when they travel, spending much more per trip than others. Accordingly, and of note for hoteliers, they are more likely to make their travel accommodations with 3 and 4 star hotels.
Of further significance for hoteliers, Baby Boomers are the most brand loyal of all age groups. They actively participate in hotel loyalty programs and prefer to book directly through them. Although Boomers are skeptical of advertising, once a brand has earned their trust they are exceedingly loyal to that company. Baby Boomers express their loyalty through their wallets in the form of repeated patronage. Since indications are that Baby Boomers will also be the fastest growing travel segment going forward, this makes Boomers extremely vital to future hotel revenues.
Baby Boomer travel is largely centered on visits to family and friends, a factor driving their destination choices to a degree. Subsequently, Boomers are the least likely age group to book international travel. They also appreciate re-visiting favorite places they have been and enjoyed earlier in their lives. Furthermore, Boomers truly relish experiencing the locale of their travel destinations and all they have to offer. This includes the local culture and culinary delights as well. Baby Boomers enjoy youthful behavior and seek activities which will stimulate both their mind and body.
Since they have grown up alongside many significant technological developments, technology plays an important role in their lives, but not to the extend of younger generations. Hoteliers should bear in mind when reaching out electronically to this travel segment that, although Baby Boomers are very comfortable with technology, they prefer their devices, apps, and web pages to be highly user-friendly and intuitive.
In part two of this series we will look into the travel motivations of Generation X.