Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 to 1964, and that includes my mother. In her first year of retirement, she visited 6 countries including Japan, Jakarta and Greece. She’s enjoying her new found freedom and she’s constantly seeking new adventures and challenges.
My mother is one out of the estimated 2 billion people who will represent Baby Boomers in 2050. In America, 76 million of them will spend $120 billion on travel because they have the time and money to do so. Although they might not be as demanding as Millennials, they too want WiFi wherever they go and are always searching for unique travel experiences.
Here are 9 important traits about Baby Boomers and how to attract them to your tours and activities.
1. They want an authentic local experience
Just like any other traveller, Baby Boomers are also seeking an authentic experience whilst travelling. That is why they travel. They do not want to be “hoarded off” onto another tour bus or brought to another tourist joint for a meal. Instead, they too want to go where the locals go, immersing themselves fully to experience and learn about a new culture.
2. They want to learn new things
According to the World Tourism Organisation, Boomers are more likely to seek out educational and cultural experiences. Researchers in hospitality marketing allude to the fact that once retired, Baby Boomers seek out “serious leisure”, may it be in cultivating a hobby or joining a volunteering organisation to enhance their lives.
What Boomers really want is to be intellectually stimulated, which is why an experienced and well-trained guide is necessary to attract them to your tours.
3. They want adventure
There are two types of baby boomers, the “old at heart” and the “young at heart”. While the former group prefer slower paced experiences, the latter are actively seeking out adventure and sometimes push themselves to their physical limits as a form of self-discovery
The key to organising an ideal adventure tour or activity for Baby Boomers is by creating adventure in a controlled environment. Your travellers want to know that they can experience new adventures while being safe. Some precautions usually taken by companies includes ensuring that travellers meet a certain level of health and fitness by having them fill out a simple questionnaire.
Another thing you can do is to inform your customers about the sort of “rugged” adventure they would be going on. For example, letting them know that there will be a 5 hour hike and a night’s stay in a tent by a lake instead of surprising them with it.
4. Use “Traditional” social media avenues to reach them
Despite being over 50 years old, this market is spurring the growth of social media. They might use it differently from Millennials but that doesn’t mean that they’re not present and active on those platforms (I know my mum is).
The key is to find out which platforms they’re on and engage with them there. Many marketing experts agree that the “traditional” social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are where you will find a majority of Baby Boomers.
5. Don’t forget about the rest of the world wide web too!
A lot of their decisions are also based on searches through search engines and recommendations from others, may it be on peer review sites or from friends and family. So yes, that means your website is pretty important in attracting customers from this segment to your tours, so is TripAdvisor and Viator.
Use our software and you’ll be able to manage all your bookings from different channels with our channel manager. It’s one of our most-loved features!
6. They are active not passive tourists
By this point, you should have concluded that Baby Boomers are very active travellers, with an emphasis on what they can learn and do while on their trips. This is important when you market your tours to them.
Focus on the different activities they’ll be able to engage in and the unique experiences they’ll gain from it. Craft out content and messages that speak to them in this way.
7. Do not underestimate the value of travel agents
Baby Boomers are budget conscious but they aren’t deterred by paying that little bit more if they are convinced that it will make the trip that much more memorable. Work with your local DMO to make sure that your tour or activity is the preferred choice. Partner up with travel agents, allow them to book your trips for their customers and give them the commission they deserve. Everybody wins.
8. They are more likely to take their children and grandchildren on their next trip too.
Imagine planning a trip for your whole family, it sounds like a nightmare. This is probably why they’re likely to use a travel agent to organise their next holiday. For tour and activity operators, you will need to make sure that your activities appeal to at least two different generations.
If all else fails, make sure there’s good ol’ WiFi to keep everyone satisfied.
9. You need to be a considerate tour and activity operator
This is probably the most important point when it comes to attracting Baby Boomers onto your tours and activities. It is difficult to highlight exact guidelines for this point so I’ll just give you a few examples to give you a better understanding of what I mean: Your guides should be aware of the various physical capacities of your customers, and perhaps schedule in a few breaks during that 5 hour hike.
Having prior knowledge about your customers’ dietary requirements usually leaves a better impression. Some first-aid knowledge is probably useful as well.
To get a better idea of who your target audience is, check out this post that highlights top Baby Boomer travel bloggers.
Do you have any other tips on how to deliver an amazing experience to Baby Boomers?
Written by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.