In our webinar last week, Delivering the Ideal Millennial Experience, we covered age demographics, and how it’s important to target your messaging to differences in behaviors and expectations. (CLICK HERE to access the recorded webinar.) We talked a little bit about Baby Boomers, to give context to the conversation about Millennials.
Baby Boomers, as we know, have very different expectations from Millennials. They tend to prefer in-person communication, and tend to eschew technology fads. For example, in a study conducted by hotel management technology comparison site Software Advice, 62.7 percent of those who said they’d be very excited to utilize the services of a robot in a hotel were Millennials. The overwhelming majority of respondents who said they were not excited about utilizing such a robot — 69.6 percent — were above the age of 45.
But, as Baby Boomers age, hoteliers are presented with an interesting new breed of traveler: The Active Senior. Baby Boomers, having experienced the advent of the Internet while still pursuing a career, are more technologically savvy than previous generations of seniors. Amadeus discovered four key trends in this segment of the mature Baby Boomer population.
1. Challenging “old” assumptions
Baby Boomers don’t consider themselves old. Now that the kids are out of the house and they’re either already retired or approaching retirement, they finally feel they have the time, energy and funds to explore and do new things. Travel is more experience-driven for this new breed of senior travelers.
2. Doing vs owning
Like Millennials, Active Seniors value “sight-doing” vs sightseeing. They like to learn, discover, and find excitement in new experiences. They’re much less likely to measure their success by the material goods they possess rather than the experiences they have lived.
3. Leaving a legacy
One thing Active Seniors have in common with previous generations of seniors is the desire to leave a legacy. But, for the first time, this generation is in a better economic position than their children. They want to share experiences that enrich the entire family.
4. Tapping technology
Baby Boomers as Active Seniors represent an interesting challenge for hotel marketers. While “always on” technology is not necessarily acceptable to them, they do use it to varying degrees. Many feel technology is intrusive and not always reliable. They commonly perceive the Internet, social media and mobile devices as a means rather than the end. They do not connect 24/7 unless a clear reason exists. Face-to-face, genuine connections are key; telephone is still a key communication channel. We’re also seeing more and more seniors with Facebook accounts, as communicating with their children and grandchildren, the Millennials, is highly important to them.
The impact of these trends presents an opportunity for travel providers to capitalize on this growing segment. It requires tailoring services and building trust through face-to-face interaction and the careful use of technology for inspiration.
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