Yes, yes, we’ve all been talking about Millennials and younger siblings, Generation Z. But let’s not forget the Baby Boomers just yet. … And what they mean for your hotel business.
Baby Boomers, those born between 1946-64 are now between 52 – 70 years old. As Dave & Deb of the travel website, the planetd.com, say “Adventure is for everyone…. Baby Boomers are hitting the road and traveling further and longer. Senior travel is one of the fastest growing travel markets around the world.” More than half of these travelers are expecting to inherit part of the 1 trillion in wealth expected to transfer from their parents. 20% of Boomers anticipate more than $100,000, while one third anticipate inheriting between $25-100,000… And travel is their top thing they plan to do with those funds.
AARP says in its 2016 Boomer Travel Trends: “The vast majority of Baby Boomers are planning to drive, fly or set sail on leisure trips in 2016, with an average of 4 or 5 trips already in the works.” “Boomers make up a large segment of the traveling public, and so it’s particularly important for the travel industry to be aware of what Boomers are looking for in their vacations going into 2016,” said Stephanie Miles, VP, Products & Platforms, AARP.
I know, when we think of “seniors,” so many of us think of our parents – old. Don’t move well. Slow. But remember, the Boomers have been rewriting what we as a society think is “average or normal” for a long time. And how we age – and how we want to spend our time in our later years – is really no different.
And that includes travel. Travel is still high on the list for how today’s modern, healthy senior wants to spend their time. Here are some travel trends to pay attention to as you plan for your hotel:
- Genealogical tourism. According to USA Today, genealogy is still the #2 most popular hobby in the US thanks to the ready accessibility of online archives and databased as well as the ever popular shows like Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots.
How can you take advantage of this market? If your hotel is near a noted genealogy library or research center (like The New York Public Library – listed on FamilyTreeMagazine.com’s Top 9 Genealogy Libraries to Visit Before You Die), make connections with these centers. Are there events coming up? Conferences? Are there things you can do to best serve their guests and their unique interests (ie: a shuttle to their library?)
- Multi-Generational Tours. Travel designed for grandparents to spend time with their kids and grandkids are on the rise. “The typical multi-generational traveler takes about 4.4 trips per year. Nearly 80% planned a vacation around a life event such as a birthday (50%), anniversary (40%), family reunion (39%), and wedding (37%).” This target market of Boomers see travel as “a worthwhile expenditure” as it allows them to reconnect with their family.
- Educational Travel. While we normally think of “educational travel” as high school kids taking a class trip, or Gap-Year students off on an adventure, or even college students taking a year abroad, Seniors are mixing travel with their need to grow and learn more about the things they are interested in.
How can you take advantage of this? What’s near by that might be food for someone else’s passions? Are you in the heart of the Theatre District? Or perhaps are situated in an art lover’s paradise? Maybe your hotel is near a famous baseball stadium that die hard fans often make a pilgrimage to?
- Bucket List Travel. Made popular by the 2007 movie of the same name (The Bucket List), more Boomers are making those bucket lists of places they have always wanted to go to – and then doing it.
Catering to the Boomer Traveler:
- Remember – more than half of all Boomers under 60 years of age are still working. When they travel, one third of them still expect to be bringing some work along with them. So technological access/capabilities are still important.
- Make sure your baths are safe from slip and fall incidents. While you’re planning any renovations, take the time now to ensure all of your bath surface areas have been treated/texturized to prevent falls (and potential lawsuits!).