Periodically I like to remind travel marketers that baby boomers — now in our 50s and 60s — are a frequently overlooked travel market.
But why are we overlooked?
According to a recent AARP study, American boomers spend more than $120 billion (that’s with a “b”) annually on leisure travel. We plan to take an average of four or five leisure trips in 2015 alone. That’s more than any other age group.
Many boomers are still working and earning more than we ever have in our lives. Others of us are already retired and eager to hit the road or the skies — with both time and money on our hands.
For the most part, our kids are off on their own and we can look beyond Disney World, the all-inclusive beach resort,… Continue reading
As of 2012, the last full year for which data is available, the United Kingdom saw visitor volume to the U.S. drop for the fourth consecutive year, with volume down nearly one million visitors since its peak of 4.7 million in the year 2000. Since 2005, the drop-off has been 13 percent, representing 582,000 fewer visitors from the UK.
In financial terms, this represents a spending drop by British tourists in the U.S. of $848 million in 2012 as compared to 2005.
That’s a big loss for U.S. tourism.
One traditional way for tourism agencies to ramp up visitation is to invite foreign journalists — specifically travel writers — to tour a country and write about it. Of course, magazines and other publishers also send travel writers off… Continue reading
A few months ago on this blog I posed the question, “Is ‘Personalization’ the Next Big Trend in Hotels?”
The blog post laid out the vision of Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Passchen that emerging technology would soon allow hotels to know in advance what their guests are looking for and like — much as Amazon.com, Facebook, and, as I recently wrote about, Pandora, the internet music service, know about their customers through mining their vast data banks.
It turns out that several luxury hotels are already using social media to do just that.
According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, hotels in the Loews chain are checking out the Facebook pages of future arrivals to add those little personal touches to their rooms that will be memorable enough… Continue reading
In my last post, I reported on the results of a study by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) — a grouping of leading medical, financial and technology companies, among others, who hope to help shape public policy toward aging as 80 million baby boomers in America alone reach the ages of 50, 60 and up — that showed that travel can play a vital role in staying healthy as we grow older.
Now I’d like to expand a bit on the results of that study, which was done in conjunction with the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Research (TRCS) at the behest of the U.S. Travel Association. This is being billed as the first comprehensive look at the beneficial effects of traveling on health, with the caveat that much further research needs… Continue reading
Can travel keep you healthier as you grow older?
Yes, says a new white paper by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, and purporting to show for the first time a series of direct links between travel and increased good health.
While acknowledging that data on these links are somewhat limited, and urging more medical research on the topic, a GCOA survey of various health studies shows that the evidence already out there is compelling.
“Those who stay healthy as they age are able to sustain active lifestyles, including traveling into our 70s, 80s and beyond,” the study notes. “It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the reverse is also true: as one travels, one will be healthier.”
Start with brain health, which includes warding off… Continue reading
The travel site Skift.com has just named its top 50 global travel marketers for 2013, including the senior vice president for marketing of Viking River Cruises, Rich Marnell.
Little wonder — Marnell was hired in 2007 as Viking’s director of marketing for North America, and since that time Viking’s share of the burgeoning European river cruise market has risen from 20 percent to fifty percent, remarkable considering that competition is getting increasingly fierce.
I’ve written previously about Viking River Cruises’ approach to marketing: a laser-like focus on their target customer — the classic baby boomer.
“What we’ve done is tailored the product experience for the 55+ culturally curious in mind,” Marnell told Skift. “We don’t try to be everything to everyone. For us, we see that as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.”
At a press conference last spring … Continue reading
Happy Thanksgiving to our U.S. readers!
The fourth Thursday in November is the day Americans traditionally stuff themselves with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, some kind of token green vegetable, and pumpkin pie.
It also leads to the busiest travel days of the year as families and friends reunite from the far corners of he country, usually by auto or air, resulting in traffic jams on the roads and in the sky.
With airports jammed and bad weather often leading to delays and frayed nerves, security lines and procedures enforced by the federal Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) cause travelers — baby boomers and other generations alike — to sometimes lose their cool along with — well, the spare change they have to empty from their pockets.
According to a story in the… Continue reading
The short answer to the question in the title above is “yes.”
In the nearly six months I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve laid out a number of characteristics that define baby boomers, and baby boomer travelers in particular, that help separate them from other generations. Here are six of them:
* They are more willing to spend money on themselves — including travel — than the generations previous to them.
* They place more emphasis on value than simply on what things cost; that is, they enjoy luxury and comfort and are willing to spend more for it if they perceive it to be good value. Similarly, they’re less interested in budget travel for its own sake than previous or succeeding generations — largely, perhaps, because they have more disposable income as a group.
* They… Continue reading
Here’s a chance to really help the people of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, beyond sending money for relief aid.
Projects Abroad, which offers volunteer tourism opportunities in countries around the globe, is putting out a special call for volunteers to help in the wake of the disaster that struck the Philippines last week and left thousands of survivors homeless and communities lying in ruins.
Projects Abroad’s Disaster Relief project will focus on areas in the northern part of Cebu Island including Bogo City, Tabogan and San Remigio, all hit hard by the typhoon.
Volunteers are needed to help restore schools and childcare centers and look after local children while their parents are working to clean up the rubble left behind. Government aid may not arrive for weeks, so volunteer help is critical to bridge the… Continue reading
Is there a better place in the world for baby boomers to take to bicycles than The Netherlands?
The country is mostly flat. It’s also incredibly scenic. Distances are short. There are bike paths everywhere. And just about everyone else is on a bike, too.
Here are some amazing stats:
* Holland has 18 million bicycles — 1.5 million more than inhabitants. And 84 percent of the Dutch population owns at least one bike.
*Holland has some 18,000 miles (29,000 kilometers) of cycling paths and nearly 3,000 miles (4,700 kilometers) of roads have special lanes for cyclists.
* There are at least a dozen different types of bicycles in Holland, according to the Netherlands Board of Tourism. You’ve heard of mountain bikes,… Continue reading