I haven’t seen the full study, but the online market research firm Lab42 has released this tantalizing tidbit from a recent survey of 500 “social savvy” baby boomers — that is, who use social media — who plan to take a vacation in 2013:
Forty one percent of those surveyed said they were willing to spend more money to “stay more comfortably” in their lodgings at the expense of other aspects of the trip — presumably things like restaurants, transportation, sightseeing and other activities.
This compares to just one-quarter of those surveyed who said they would spend less on accommodations in order to spend more on other aspects of the trip, and a third who said they gave no consideration to the cost of overnight accommodations.
If I ran a luxury resort or hotel, this would have to be good news.
First, I would try to hunt down that 34 percent who said they gave no consideration to cost. Now that’s the kind of customer you want.
But if I couldn’t find them — and I’d have to know more about the survey’s specific questions to know how to interpret the “no consideration” answer — I’d be happy to hear that when it comes to many baby boomers, finding a (presumably) comfortable bed at night trumps buying a business class air ticket, dining at a three-star restaurant, attending a Broadway play or other pricey vacation endeavor.
And on my website and in my online advertising, especially, I’d play up that notion of comfort for all it’s worth.
Backing that strategy up is this additional note from the survey: the research firm found that so-called “hyperconnected” boomers — which Lab42 defines as those who used online media (attraction, hotel, travel review or travel booking websites) to plan their vacations — place a higher premium on comfortable lodging than do those who rely less on the Internet, at least when planning their vacations.
Hyperconnected boomers, they found, are nearly twice as likely to favor additional spending on accommodations (while cutting back on other trip aspects, if necessary) as are mere “connected” boomers, who are defined as active on social media but didn’t use online resources in their current trip planning.
Hyperconnected boomers were also found to have higher levels of income than connected boomers.
At the same time, the hyperconnected boomers were — ironically, perhaps — much more likely to plan their trips with a budget in mind than the “connected” boomers. The research firm notes that this may reflect their use of online resources to scope out travel costs.
So here you have a subgroup of boomers who are operating within a budget, yet have higher incomes and are likely to spend more — at least in relation to other aspects of travel — than other boomers on accommodations. And they rely heavily on the Internet for trip planning.
My conclusion: Luxury lodgings should go after affluent baby boomers in a big way on the Internet.
And as noted above, stress comfort — and a good night’s sleep.
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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