While travel industry advertisers continue to pursue the Millennial market — perfectly reasonable, considering that the Millennial generation is the future — it makes no sense to overlook the currently booming baby boomer travel market.
Here are some statistics — gathered from both government and private research surveys — to ponder if you think boomers (now aged 50-68) are over the hill, travel-wise, and are largely staying at home, maybe watching TV or tending their flower gardens:
* Adults over age 50 account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel in America
* Adults 55 and older spend half of all vacation dollars in the U.S.
* Baby boomers make most of their major purchases, including big-ticket travel items, over the Internet, and spend two hours more online weekly than their nearest competitors for that honor, the Millennials
* American baby boomers have triple the net worth of younger generations and outspend them by some $400 billion annually
* Boomers travel more than any other age group and rank travel at or near the top of surveys on how they would most like to spend their money
* More than nine out of ten baby boomers offer active word-of-mouth advice to friends and family on product preferences, including travel — the quickest (and least expensive) way for a product to go viral
* Baby boomers spend more on dining out than any other generation
Traditionally, advertisers have written off people in their 50s and older because they are believed to have long-established brand loyalties that are hard to break.
But in the age of the Internet, social media, smartphones, tablets, apps and new technologies that spring forth every day, that thinking seems sadly outmoded.
A boomer is almost as likely as a Millennial to consult the latest app or website to find the ideal airline ticket, hotel, cruise or foreign tour — and more likely to book an expensive one (as long as it offers good value).
And many boomers have another good 30 years of travel ahead before we put away our passports and retire to our settees — if then.
Meanwhile, expect to see us on hiking and biking trails, in museums and restaurants, and aboard trains, planes, ships, automobiles, and maybe even a camel or two. Though I admit, the last time I tried a camel ride I couldn’t wait to get off.
I have to leave something for the Millennials.