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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter
Boomers still rely on old-fashioned print travel guidebooks -- along with the latest apps.

Boomers still rely on old-fashioned print travel guidebooks — along with the latest apps.

Nancy Parode, who writes about senior travel at about.com, has a perceptive piece detailing eight reasons why a baby boomer or senior would make a good traveling companion. (Although I don’t like to mix the terms “senior” and “baby boomer” — for me, “senior” starts where “baby boomer” leaves off — I understand why others may at times lump them together.)

Among the eight reasons, Nancy writes, is that “We [boomers] don’t need high-tech devices to have a good time” and “won’t get too grumpy if our computers and smartphones don’t work.”

Now, I admit I do sometimes get grumpy in those situations, but Nancy’s point is that baby boomers have lived most of their lives without such technology and can adapt to life without them.

Similarly, she argues, baby boomers still know how to navigate using actual fold-out maps (if the GPS fails) and know how to research a trip using old-fashioned print travel guidebooks (which, I would add, often contain more accurate information than many things you can find on the Internet).

As author of more than a dozen such guidebooks myself, I still appreciate their value — with the proviso that print guidebooks do eventually go out of date, while Internet info can be almost instantly updated. (The problem is, has it been updated or not? It’s often very hard to tell.)

But then Nancy goes on to make the equally essential point that “We can [emphasis mine] adapt to new travel-related technology.” While boomers “didn’t grow up with smartphones or GPS units,” she writes, “we own them and we can use them.”

Indeed, more and more boomers are making restaurant reservations on their phones, following google maps, checking out travel apps for cities and other destinations, sharing travel photos via social media, and tweeting their impressions of other countries as they move about the globe.

So the overall takeaway is that baby boomers have their feet solidly planted in both worlds: the digital age and the pre-digital.

For those trying to market to boomers, that means you can reach these avid, often big-spending travelers with the latest in technology — whether it’s producing new smartphone apps, new email campaigns or strong social media presences — but also with old-fashioned print and direct mail advertising, brochures and guides, which boomers still trust more than many things they find on the Web.

And, oh yes, as Nancy Parode also mentions, leading-edge baby boomers are often eligible for senior discounts — which means that those who share rooms with them can also benefit from those same discounts.

That’s one area in which baby boomers don’t mind so much being labeled as “seniors.”

 

Be sure to download my free report, “How to Ride the Coming Wave of Boomers,” available here. It’s all about the best ways to market travel to baby boomers — the biggest-spending group of travelers the world has ever seen.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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