Marketers have less time and budget than ever before, yet the expectation is to achieve more than they ever did. Add to that the frustration of trying to navigate change and increase profits and productivity amid a backdrop of chaos and disruption. It is more important than ever, to practice evidence-based marketing. And all the evidence points toward marketing to the baby boomer demographic. There are lots of them, they have the cash and time to travel.
It may be tough getting inside the head of the 55+ traveller wanting to experience the world but this is what great marketers do.
So, why are baby boomers disrupting the travel industry?
The disruptive demographic
Talk of travel trends refers to baby boomers and seniors as a trend. But it is much more than a trend for the travel industry. They are the disruptive generation offering marketers massive opportunity for growth.
For marketers wishing to grow the travel industry, ignore them at your peril. You cannot afford to ignore the disruptive generation and their dreams of travelling to experience local culture and the world.
Why the baby boomer demographic is a huge market?
The baby boomer demographic is huge because millions are retiring after years of hard work. After the end of World War II millions of soldiers returned home to their loved ones in the Western world all. And, of course, the whole world shagged at the same time. The result? Millions of babies were born in the following years. Australia alone had 5.5 million babies born between 1946 and 1965. They have now either retired or will soon and want to bring their travel dreams alive in their twilight years.
While this is a simplistic view, other social factors also came into play. People delayed having children until after the Great Depression. Living through the depression was tough with food shortages and tough living conditions. Diet, health and wellbeing play a huge part in the ability to conceive. So, once the depression ended people had better nutrition and became healthier.
In 1960, the first contraception pill arrived giving families the ability to plan they families. They had the freedom to shag as much as they wanted without fear of starting a family. Contraception busted the baby boomer generation. We have not seen population grow at such a rate again. And this is the reason why we will never again reach this level of retirees looking to realise their travel dreams. It is a once in a lifetime marketing opportunity you need to seize. Not just for travel marketers, but for many other verticals.
We will never see so many people retire at the same time again with their hard-earned wealth with the time and desire to travel.
The introduction of the contraceptive pill had a huge impact of the world’s population as you can see in the chart below. You can visually see the rapid decline in population growth since the early 60s.
Baby boomers want to travel
Marketers often target millennials under the misconception baby boomers are too old to travel and do not want to spend their money. This is an myth and all evidence suggests otherwise. In the chart below, you can see where the wealth sits. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Australia’s household wealth sits squarely with the +45s.
Baby boomers have spent years dreaming of travelling when they retire—both local and international equally. They are just as excited about discovering their own backyards as they are experiencing the cultures of the world. For 30 to 40 years their dreams of travel kept them going as they worked hard until retirement ready to enjoy the rest of their lives.
Tourism and travel growth is a once in a lifetime opportunity
Too often travel marketers focus on experience marketing or say they “only work with helix personas” or “it is no longer about demographics”. While is not wrong there is more to the picture. Marketers cannot be blind to the huge numbers of retiring baby boomers ready to explore the world. Their families are grown, retired from the workforce with time on their hands. Visiting new places, countries and cultures are often at the top of their bucket lists.
No longer can marketers ignore this disruptive generation. Acknowledge and make plans for them for they represent enormous opportunities. They have the money, time and desire to spend travelling wherever they want to go.
No B.S. Guide to Marketing to Leading Edge Boomers & Seniors author, Dan S. Kennedy, says this generation has made the shift from acquiring more material possessions to a desire to purchase enjoyable, satisfying and memorable experiences. Travel and entertainment are a big part of the spend.
Get on board
Retirees do not think of themselves as old. They are young at heart, fearless, vibrant and ready to start a new life after retirement. All great marketers will help them navigate their way to realising their dreams of domestic and international travel to local and far flung destinations.
Bronwyn White, is the CEO of New Young Consulting a market intelligence and strategic marketing agency that specialises in the seniors travel market.
She brings with her an unrivaled understanding of how the travel industry works including the nuanced complexities and a complete, well rounded understanding of the travellers it serves.
She has been watching and researching the baby boomer generation for the last 15 years, in particular travel planning and booking habits.
Bronwyn is a globally recognised market researcher with a travel sales and marketing background. Over 30 years she has worked in a wide range of travel industry verticals including:
- Airline (Qantas)
- Sales reservations
- Wholesale, Retail sales, Corporate sales
- Sales representation – groups
- Market research and consumer insights
- Destination marketing manager (Destination NSW)
- Travel research specialist at a large research agency (TNS)
- Co-Founder of Domesticate, an annual syndicated study into the Australian travel market
- CEO /Co-founder at boutique research firm MyTravelResearch.com
- Author of the book Seniors Travel Tips
- Owner and founder of New Young Travel, a travel blog for +55’s established 2006
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