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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

baby boomer marketing strategies

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Prague's Charles Bridge crowded with pedestrians. Photo by Dennis Cox, Worldviews

Prague’s Charles Bridge crowded with pedestrians. Photo by Dennis Cox, Worldviews

On my recent Central Europe tour with Insight Vacations and an international group of journalists, we were lucky to have Insight’s CEO, John Boulding, along with us.

It might seem that having the CEO along would cramp our style, but that’s not the case with John. In fact, John was often the life of the party, and was as likely to close the pub as any of the several twenty-somethings who were along, then show up early the next morning ready to accompany the sightseeing.

John even helped lead a 10-mile bike trip through some hilly backroads of the Czech Republic, outpedaling a number of folks perhaps half his age.

John, who lives in the Channel Islands, personifies the Insight philosophy: open to new experiences and ways of doing things, sensitive to what customers like and want in… Continue reading

Boomers -- especially boomer women -- book more travel online than any other group. Photo from Adventure Women

Boomers — especially boomer women — book more travel online than any other group. Photo from Adventure Women

I’ve come across some statistics that should of interest to any travel marketers who wonder whether to reach out to women, boomers — and boomer women in particular.

In a previous post, I wrote about how boomer women spend the most money on travel.

Now, new findings show that if you’re basing a travel marketing campaign on social media, it pays to aim it toward women. 

With the exception of Linked In, where the majority of users are men, women dominate social media in the U.S., according to findings published at FinancesOnline.com (compiled from reports by the Pew Research Center and others).

Here are the stats: about three-quarters of adult women in the U.S. use Facebook, compared to two-thirds of the adult men.

For Pinterest, women outnumber men 33 percent… Continue reading

Travel seminars were popular at the New York Times Travel Show held Feb. 28-March 2, 2014, at the Javits Center.

Travel seminars were popular at the New York Times Travel Show held Feb. 28-March 2, 2014, at the Javits Center.

The keynote panel on travel industry trade day at the New York Times Travel Show in Manhattan this past weekend was made up of travel agents and their representatives, and they had one plea to the public: We haven’t gone away!

Apparently a good percentage of the public thinks travel agents have gone the way of the dinosaurs or at least print newsweeklies, on the seriously endangered list.

Stark statistics were presented: while use of traditional travel agents for booking trips is up 18 percent over the past three years, only 13 percent of the public uses them to book leisure trips, and only 16 percent use them on the business side.

The Internet, of course, is the culprit, encroaching more and more on travel agent territory since the late… Continue reading

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas should wow cruisers with its

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas should wow cruisers with its “virtual balconies” offering sea views to occupants of inside cabins. Photo from Daily Telegraph.

At the “What’s New in the Cruising World” industry trade seminar at the New York Times Travel Show in Manhattan this weekend, representatives from six major mainstream and premium cruise lines talked up some innovations that cruisers can expect to find on their latest ships in 2014.

The six did their best to try to wow travel agents (and some from the media) and get them fired up to sell and promote the new cruise season, which should be of interest to many cruise-loving baby boomers — and to some new cruise converts as well.

The innovation that impressed me most was Royal Caribbean’s “virtual balcony,” coming to its Quantum of the Seas ship scheduled to debut later this year.

What’s a “virtual balcony?” Well,… Continue reading

Ryanair is not known for its comfort, but at these prices...photo from Alamy

Ryanair is not known for its comfort, but at these prices…photo from Alamy

British newspapers and travel trade publications are all abuzz with the news that the CEO of Ryanair, the cut-rate European airline, plans to offer flights to New York and Boston from  a number of European cities for prices as low as 10 euros per seat.

That’s about U.S.$13.70 by today’s exchange rates. Flights back to Europe would cost even less, about U.S.$10.

Not bad. Of course, there are some caveats.

First, Ryanair will have to buy up to 50 long-haul aircraft to make the flights worthwhile, and that could take several years.

Second, not all the seats on the plane would be that cheap. “There will also need to be a very high number of business or premium seats,” the CEO, Michael O’Leary, told the Irish Hotels Federation in Meath, Ireland, where he made the announcement.… Continue reading

Boomers are willing to spend to take experiential trips such as walking tours in Ireland. Photo from Walking the World

Boomers are willing to spend to take experiential trips such as walking tours in Ireland. Photo from Walking the World

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… Continue reading

Hiking along Virginia's Appalachian Trail is a favorite activity of international visitors. Photo by Clark Norton

Hiking along Virginia’s Appalachian Trail is a favorite activity of international visitors. Photo by Clark Norton

In yesterday’s post, we asked the rhetorical question “Can A Rebranding Campaign Boost Tourism to the U.S.?”

According to new research that’s just out, apparently so.

Brand USA, a public-private partnership that aims to improve the image of the U.S. around the world for the purpose of increasing international visitation to the States, is now citing a study by Oxford Economics that shows the new advertising campaign — called “Discover America, Land of Dreams” — resulted in 1.1 million new visitors to the U.S. in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. That’s a 2.3 percent increase over the number that would have visited without the campaign.

Those 1.1 million visitors, according to the study, spent $3.4 billion in the U.S. and had a total impact on the economy of $7.4 billion, supporting… Continue reading

The Viking Europe river boat, part of Viking's rapidly expanding fleet. Photo from Viking River Cruises.

The Viking Europe river boat, part of Viking’s rapidly expanding fleet. Photo from Viking River Cruises.

If you haven’t booked your planned 2014 European river cruise by now, you may be out of luck — at least for your preferred cruise line, cabin or destination.

European river cruising is the hottest trend in the cruise world right now, with many 2014 cruises already selling out or almost sold out. And its popularity is being driven largely by baby boomer travelers, who can afford to pay more per day than on a typical ocean cruise.

Several river cruise lines and travel agents who book cruises say they’re now more focused on 2015 than on 2014. This despite a rash of new ships being introduced into the market:

* Viking River Cruises, the giant of the industry, is launching 14 new European river ships in March, bringing its total there to… Continue reading

The Aranui 3 journeys through the remote Marquesas Islands. Photo by Clark Norton

The Aranui 3 journeys through the remote Marquesas Islands. Photo by Clark Norton

We all know the feeling of  looking forward to a particular trip for weeks, months — sometimes even years if we have to save enough money or find the time to do it.

And then the trip takes place. And then, all too soon, it’s over.

What now?

You might feel a natural letdown, at least for a while. But then memory sets in.

Whether or not those memories are good, bad or indifferent will probably spell the difference between whether or not you’ll return to that destination, lodging, or cruise line; or recommend to or warn against taking a similar trip to your family and friends; or take another tour with the same operator or decide to look elsewhere next time.

For  baby boomer travelers, memories are perhaps even more important than for younger… Continue reading

Aroma Thyme's lamb burger with vegetables on the side. Photo from Aroma Thyme Bistro.

Aroma Thyme’s lamb burger with vegetables on the side. Photo from Aroma Thyme Bistro.

My first encounter with Aroma Thyme Bistro, located in the town of Ellenville in New York’s Hudson Valley, was at a fundraiser for our local public radio station. Called Foodstock because of its proximity to the original Woodstock concert site, the event brought together restaurants from around the region to give out free samples (once you paid your way in) and perhaps lure you to come dine with them in the future.

Aroma Thyme Bistro stood out for two reasons.

First, they didn’t just hand out any old samples. They handed out samples of one of the two most expensive items on their menu, rare sesame crusted albacore tuna with Sriracha and peanut glaze. It was so good I came around twice, hoping they wouldn’t recognize me from the first time.

Second, they gave out free… Continue reading

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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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