“Prime Time of Life.”
Seven terms that a very perceptive academic journal article (by Kaylene C. Williams of Cal State-Stanislaus and Robert A. Page of Southern Connecticut State University) warns marketers against ever using when trying to appeal to baby boomers.
I would add another: “elder.” (See my post on why the non-profit tour operator Road Scholar was wise to change its name from Elderhostel.)
Why? I’ve made this point in previous posts and will make it again: most boomers — some of whom are turning 67 this year — do not consider themselves old. And if they secretly think they’re getting old, they don’t want to admit it, even to themselves.
Remember, leading-edge boomers, who came of age in the 1960s, didn’t want to trust anyone over 30. That changed, of course, when everyone passed 30, but boomers have never quite gotten used to the idea of reaching “maturity,” at least when understood to mean, well, “old.” (Note that AARP changed the name of its magazine from “Modern Maturity” to “AARP: The Magazine” some years ago — another prescient move, making it much more palatable for boomers to sign up when they turned 50.)
Recent surveys have shown that boomers now typically think of the late 70s as “old age,” though that will undoubtedly change to the late 80s in ten years or so.
I received a press release a while back that trumpeted “a special value for baby boomers and seniors” and went on to list “Boomer/Senior Saver prices” for a particular cruise line’s fares.
No, no, no and no!
Boomers do not want to be lumped in with seniors — even if, by all past definitions, they are seniors. Even if they’ve been taking senior discounts (perhaps surreptitiously and against their better instincts) for years. Even if they like a good “saver price” when they see one.
So, travel purveyors, by all means offer “Boomer” specials. Feel perfectly comfortable offering “Senior” specials.
But do not, repeat — do not — offer “Boomer/Senior” specials.
Trust me. I’m a boomer.
Don’t forget 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. It’s also the easiest way to subscribe to my blog, so you won’t miss a posting. Thanks!