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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

marketing baby boomer travel

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A Galapagos iguana, best seen on a stress-free guided trip. Photo by Clark Norton

A Galapagos iguana, best seen on a stress-free guided trip. Photo by Clark Norton

Do you come back from vacation more stressed out than when you left?

Based on a survey of world travelers by author Shawn Achor and “happiness researcher” Michelle Gieland from the Institute of Applied Positive Research, “poorly planned and stressful vacations eliminate the positive benefit of time away,” as Achor recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

(See my previous post on travel and happiness for more detail on these findings.)

Achor contends there are four main ingredients that you should add to your vacation mix to result in a happy travel experience:

* “Focus on the details”: Nearly three quarters of travelers found the most stressful part of travel to be “figuring out the details,” according to Achor. “Travel uncertainty, transportation, wasting time figuring things out on the trip, and being unfamiliar with the location”… 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

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

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

Vilnius, Lithuania -- if you leave tomorrow, you can get a great deal on a flight there via Kayak.com.

Vilnius, Lithuania — if you leave tomorrow, you can get a great deal on a flight there via Kayak.com.

Whenever I book a plane flight, I always turn first to the website Kayak.com, which displays an array of choices from a wide variety of airlines, and allows you to sort by price, airline, preferred takeoff or landing times, and flight duration.

You can also compare Kayak’s findings against different sites like Priceline, Hotwire and Expedia, so you get a pretty complete picture of what’s out there before you book. And Kayak lets you compare hotel and rental car offerings as well.

But when I went to the site yesterday, I noticed something new — at least new to me.

It’s a feature called “Explore,” which shows you “where you can go for how much.” That is, you can see the lowest fares for round-trip economy-class flights to destinations around the… 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

The SpareFoot logo. Courtesy of SpareFoot.

The SpareFoot logo. Courtesy of SpareFoot.

I’m not at all sure what self-storage units have to do with boomer boom towns.

But as I wrote in my previous  post, it was the blog on the website of SpareFoot — an online site to find and reserve storage units across the country — where I learned what the top 15 Boomer boom towns in the U.S. are, at least by Sparefoot’s calculations. (San Antonio, Texas, tops their list, which is based on several criteria, including boomer population growth, number of health care workers, and some economic data.)

And that’s what I like about the SpareFoot blog — it’s filled with some entertaining, educational and unexpected surprises. Some of which are related to baby boomer travel.

For instance, besides the boomer boom towns entry, there’s one post naming the fastest-growing college towns in the U.S. based on population growth… Continue reading

Riverwalk is at its most colorful at night. Photo from Visit San Antonio.

Riverwalk is at its most colorful at night. Photo from Visit San Antonio.

A short while ago a website called SpareFoot — which helps users find good self-storage units but features a very interesting blog filled with de-cluttering tips and other useful info — compiled a list of what they called “America’s 15 Baby Boomer Boom Towns.”

I guess baby boomers are among the biggest users of self-storage units — to which I myself plead guilty over the years, having archived dozens of boxes representing a massive paper trail of my career (I’m currently in rehab on this addiction). But in any event, SpareFoot put some work into this project and identified 15 of the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S. that were attracting new boomer residents and some of the reasons why (the title should really read “boom cities,” but we’ll stick with “boom towns” as the… 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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