9 Travel Trends and Habits of Baby Boomers
Over the last few years, millennials have captured a great deal of attention across industries, with hospitality being no exception. Their unique travel behaviors and impressive buying power have generated sizeable interest from hoteliers around the globe, who are eager to tap into their psyche and earn the loyalty of this generational group.
With that said, however, millennials only account for those born between 1980 and 1999. Although influential, they do not comprise the entirety of today’s tech-savvy travelers with a penchant and the budget for travel, and it’s important not to discount their generational counterparts. Let me put it this way: no hotelier should put baby boomers in the corner. Why? Because they are still a dominating and lucrative group who, you may be surprised to learn, are only just reaching their peak earning and travel years.
Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby boomers bring to the table a well-rounded set of expectations when engaging with prospective hotels, and actively seek out authentic, personalized and memorable travel experiences.
With that said, we’ve pulled together some of the major travel trends and habits of baby boomers, to better inform hoteliers of exactly what boomers expect from a hotel.
1. Baby Boomers have a Budget for Travel
Primarily ‘empty-nesters’ it should come as no surprise that baby boomers have the time, budget, and desire to travel. According to AARP Travel’s ‘2019 Boomer Travel Trends’, boomers were planning on taking a total of 4-5 leisure trips this year, on which they planned to spend over $6,600 (about 20% to 50% more than their Gen X or millennial counterparts). These trips were projected to be split relatively evenly between domestic and international travel.
2. Willing to Go the Extra Mile
Not only are boomers planning to spend more on their trips this year, but they are also opting for longer trip durations, upgraded accommodations, and shopping while sightseeing. In this sense, baby boomers represent an incredible opportunity for upselling and personalized offers or add-ons. Hoteliers, this means more revenue for your property. That is, if you know how to earn their loyalty.
Baby boomers are also noted fans of ‘active relaxation,’ meaning they demonstrate a preference for activities like golfing, hiking, massages, and wine tasting tours.
3. Staying Faithful to Hospitality Tradition
Although millennials are seemingly leading the charge in the rise of non-traditional accommodations such as Airbnb and boutique properties, hotels/motels are sought out most often for both domestic and international travel accommodations among boomers. Once again, this is good news for hoteliers hoping to remain competitive in the modern landscape, as they can leverage their provision of a more traditional, high-touch (face-to-face) guest experience.
Even further, baby boomers, although open to new technology, tend to prefer in-person communication, and are less receptive to certain technology trends (such as AI-powered robots) than their millennial counterparts. According to studies, 62.7 percent of those who said they’d be very excited to utilize the services of a robot in a hotel were millennials, while 69.6 percent of those who said they were not excited about using such a robot were in the Gen X or baby boomer category.
4. A Desire to Disconnect
Although boomers are notably tech-savvy, they are far more likely to use vacations as an opportunity to disconnect from technology, while reconnecting with family, loved ones, and local culture. According to AARP, an estimated 54% of boomers will take a smartphone on international trips, and 92% will take a smartphone on domestic trips, but aside from photos or a brief email check, they don’t express an urge to remain tethered to devices.
Simply put, baby boomers are tech-proficient, but not tech-dependent. They appreciate the convenience of online and mobile services but don’t require it 24/7.
5. Baby Boomers Crave Authenticity
A desire to get in touch with local culture seems to span across generational groups, as both baby boomers and millennial travelers indicate that they want to immerse themselves in the local customs of the places they visit. This trend is especially prevalent amongst boomers, with 50% showing interest in the native cuisines, traditions, pastimes, and cultural nuances when they are abroad.
6. Looking for Luxury
Beyond unique and authentic local experiences, baby boomers are also notably interested in luxury travel. Considering their increased budget for travel, this should come as no surprise. Only 57 percent of boomers say that their budget plays a factor in their trip, and many are prone to booking luxury services including upgraded tour and activity packages. Boomers are responsible for 80 percent of all luxury travel spending.
Despite this desire for luxury, however, it’s essential to recognize that baby boomers will still actively seek out the best-perceived deal. According to studies, 95% of baby boomers want to know that they have found the best deal possible before booking their trip.
7. A Call for User-Friendly Technology
As aforementioned, boomers are not tethered to technology in the same way millennial travelers are; however, technology is still important to them. According to AARP, 85 percent of traveling baby boomers use the internet to plan their trips. Acting on the desire to utilize technology as a convenience rather than a necessity, implementing a user-friendly interface (across both desktop and mobile) is integral for baby boomer guests. Hoteliers should vet and select guest-facing technology with convenience in mind, ensuring that both high-touch and low-touch service options are available from pre-stay to post-stay. A website with easy navigation structure, detailed information, and an easy booking process will go a long way.
8. Don’t Neglect the Mobile Experience
Studies show that 68 percent of baby boomers use a smartphone, 55 percent own a tablet, and 55 percent say a smartphone is essential while traveling. So, although the user-friendly desktop experience may be paramount, the mobile experience surely shouldn’t be neglected.
9. Baby Boomers and Bucket Lists
You may be surprised to learn that boomers’ #1 reason for traveling is to check destinations off their bucket list, preferably while spending times with loved ones or ‘rejuvenating.’ Moreover, surveys have shown that “seeing the world” is a major bucket list priority for most baby boomers.
Baby boomers are a unique travel segment, boasting the high-touch expectations of a traveler accustomed to traditional hospitality, while still exhibiting familiarity with modern, digitally-influenced conveniences. With more disposable income than ever before, combined with a desire to travel and see the world, the baby boomer generation is not to be neglected in the eyes of hoteliers.
About Alan Young
Alan E. Young is the Co-Founder and President of Puzzle Partner, the leading agency specializing in hospitality and travel technology marketing. Previously, Alan has held executive-level positions with start-up companies such as Newtrade Technologies, (acquired by Expedia), Hotel Booking Solutions (acquired by IBS Software) and TrustYou. Alan is past Chair of The Board of Directors of The OpenTravel Alliance and been very involved with other industry associations most notably AHLA, HEDNA, and HTNG. With over two decades of experience in the travel and hospitality technology world, Alan specializes in helping innovative companies achieve winning performance and dramatic growth. You can connect with Alan on LinkedIn.
About Puzzle Partner
Puzzle Partner is the most trusted marketing agency focused exclusively on complex B2B initiatives for the travel and hospitality technology industry. We are experts at combining strategy and tactical execution in a way that doesn’t just maximize a company’s potential; it redefines it. By delivering influential content, marketing services, and public relations rooted in the skills of our team and tested through real-world experience, we help our clients gain visibility, raise their profile and ultimately increase their sales revenues. To learn more visit puzzlepartner.co
Alan E. Young is the Co-Founder and President of Puzzle Partner, the leading agency specializing in .
Baby Boomers Are Making Their Mark on Adventure Travel
20 Oct Baby Boomers Are Making Their Mark on Adventure Travel
Baby boomers are embracing adventures like never before. ©James Kaiser, courtesy of O.A.R.S.
Like many who possess adventurous spirits that simply must be accommodated, Norma Jean Bauerschmidt recently left home, hitting the open road to tour and taste the United States. Along the way, she took a hot-air balloon ride, went whale-watching and enjoyed a dazzling view while standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
At the time of her grand adventure, Norma Jean Bauerschmidt was 91 years old.
Just a year before, at age 90, Norma received a cancer diagnosis. Rather than stay in a hospital and undergo months of painful treatments, she opted for adventure.
Norma Jean is a shining example of how older people are beginning to claim their share of exciting—and even physically challenging—travel experiences. While much has been written about millennials and how they are changing the ways in which we recreate outdoors, the elderly, especially aging baby boomers, are redefining who such adventurers are.
No more shuffleboard
Baby boomers tend to stay active; they exercise more and think of themselves as eternally young. ©Michael Coghlan, flickr
In 2016, the first group of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) will turn 70. The youngest of them will be in their 50s. And they seem to be returning to the idea that characterized their formative years in the 1960s: that there’s more to life than material possessions. Boomers are perfectly poised to make a huge industry out of purchasing experiences.
Added to that propensity is the fact that baby boomers are in better physical shape than the generation that preceded them. During the post-World War II era of the 1950s and 1960s, science brought antibiotics and cracked the genetic code, ushering in new medical technologies. Boomers reaped the benefits of anti-cigarette campaigns and advances in nutrition. They smoke less, have better access to nutritious foods and are better educated than any previous generation in history. They are the generation of the fitness craze that took up jogging, were inspired by Jack LaLanne and sculpted their bodies with Jane Fonda exercise videos. Baby boomers exercise more and think of themselves as forever young. As a result, we’re seeing something we’ve never seen before: people in their 60s, 70s and 80s functioning at an exceptionally high level who want to continue to work and stay active.
Del Webb, a retirement community developer, recently surveyed 1,020 single, female, U.S. adults ages 50 to 68. In the poll, which was conducted online by Nielsen, 76 percent said that they felt younger than their current age. More specifically, younger boomers—in their 50s—stated that they felt 10 years younger, those in their early 60s said they felt 13 years younger and Del Webb residents with a median age of 65 reported that they felt 15 years younger than their actual age.
Zip lines are preferred over shuffleboards. ©Loco Ropes, flickr
It’s not surprising, then, that baby boomers are the first generation of 50-plus-aged individuals to seek out vacation destinations known for action adventures, thrills and extreme activities. True to their generation’s values, baby boomers tend to rebel against anything overly structured—including vacations. They prefer to have some freedom to explore on their own. Sedentary, big bus tours that drop off and pick up travelers on tightly choreographed trips to predictable destinations are not for them.
So unlike members of their parents’ generation, many boomers won’t be satisfied with watching the dancing at a Hawaiian luau, winning $100 in a cruise ship casino or pushing disks on a shuffleboard. Instead, they seek to white-water raft down Oregon’s wild Rogue River, swim with whale sharks off the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula or zip-line in the jungle canopies of Costa Rica.
Give them polar bears
One-hundred-year-old Elsa Bailey realized her dream of seeing polar bears in the wild in Churchill, Canada. ©Natural Habitat Adventures
In 2013, Adventure Collection member Natural Habitat Adventures had a remarkable, older traveler. One-hundred-year-old Elsa Bailey had a goal as yet unfulfilled: she wanted to see polar bears in the wild. A Natural Habitat travel specialist happened to hear about Elsa’s wish in a TV interview shot at Colorado’s Arapaho Basin ski resort where Elsa had just celebrated her centennial birthday—while she was on skis.
That year, Nat Hab did help Elsa get to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see the polar bears. Three years later, just a few days before her 103rd birthday, she passed away.
A few years from now, perhaps, Elsa’s remarkable adventure may be the norm. Given how aging baby boomers are starting to redefine what the typical adventurer looks like, sub-Arctic excursions like Elsa’s and hot air-balloon journeys like Norma Jean’s will be common expressions of adventurous spirits—whatever their age.
If you’re a baby boomer, let me know about your active adventures in the comments section below. How are you showing the world what the new “adventurer” looks like?
Here’s to your adventures, in whatever corner of the world you find them,
Baby Boomer Adventure in Turin
After covering Italy quite extensively over the years, if there’s one thing we have learned it’s that this beautifully vibrant country really is the travel gift that keeps on giving. From Venice and Tuscany to Sardinia and Sicily, there’s so much to see and do.
But exploring Italy’s more under the radar areas really gives you some insight into the culture—and an escape from the crowds. To prove it, we’re headed off-the-beaten-path to beautiful Turin.
Featured contributor Debi Lander, from ByLanderSea, is here to share her experience visiting this unique northern Italian city. Check out her recommendations for planning a baby boomer adventure in Turin.
Table of Contents
What to Do and See in Turin, Italy
The city’s soaring steeples makes the city look like it was made on a movie set.
Millions of tourists flock to Rome, Venice and Florence, yet Turin, in northern Italy, attracts far fewer crowds. The city is home to the famous Shroud and was once Italy’s first capital.
Turin is the fourth biggest city in Italy by population, after Rome, Milan and Naples. More than 50 museums and monuments offer visitors intriguing options.
Visit the Shroud of Turin
Looks pretty convincing to me. What do you think?
The fascinating mystery of how and when the Shroud of Turin was created draws the curious. Many believe the linen relic is the burial cloth of Jesus.
The fabric displays a finely detailed negative photographic image — front and back, of an anatomically correct man. He appears to have been tortured, beaten and crucified. The sacred cloth lies securely hidden in a vault in Turin’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and only makes rare public appearances.
While there, guests can see a copy of shroud negative.
In 1988, carbon-14 dating of scraps of the cloth dated it from 1260 to 1390, which, of course, would rule out its use during the time of Christ. However, new technology and research reveal many clues about why the carbon dating could be wrong.
Now, momentum is growing for new analysis and in fact, a test by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy used the same fibers from the 1988 trials, but results dispute the findings. The new examination dates the shroud to between 300 B.C. and 400 AD, which would put it in the era of Christ.
They determined that the earlier results might have been skewed by contamination from fibers used to repair the cloth when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages. The relic has been kept at the cathedral since 1578.
If you’re like me and find the Shroud fascinating, you must visit the Renaissance period Cathedral where a copy is on display.
Boomer Travel Tip
We highly recommend joining a medical evacuation program before leaving on an active international trip. Start your Medjet membership here.
Explore the Egyptian Archeological Museum in Turin
Egyptian tomb in the museum.
The second reason I’m touting Turin focuses on the Egyptian Archeological Museum, the world’s oldest Egyptian museum, and most extensive outside of Cairo, Egypt. The attraction houses objects obtained by collectors throughout the centuries, as well as in the Italian Archaeological Mission’s major excavation sites between 1900 and 1935.
I spent an entire day examining sarcophagi, mummies, tomb treasures, pottery, jewelry and ancient scrolls. Roam amongst statues of Pharaohs including one of Ramses II on the throne. I was awestruck by the intact tomb of the architect Kha and his wife Merit.
The Egyptian museum was remodeled when Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics and again renovated in 2015. Now, modern lighting and technologically designed cases present the stories of ancient Egypt in an understandable way. Children and adults find the place mesmerizing.
For a unique experience skip the line on a unique mystery tour of the Egyptian Museum.
Explore Turin’s History
While strolling around the town, you’ll also human mannequins adorned in paint and costumes.
The main promenades, Via Roma and Via Po both preserve arcaded buildings along both sides. Enjoy them for strolling, shopping or finding a bistro, perhaps sipping the favorite mixture of coffee, chocolate and whipped cream. Did you know Nutella was invented in Turin?
The Savoy kings ruled the Piedmont region for a thousand years before 1861, the year Italy declared its independence. The demanding UNESCO World Heritage committees deemed the complex of 14 royal abodes around the city worthy of their list- yes indeed, all 14!!
The Royal Palace is definitely a place to visit while in the city.
The Savoy family lived within the downtown Palazzo Reale or Royal Palace from 1646 until 1865. The building is considered one of the most opulent in Europe.
Climb the ingenious marble Scissor Staircase and feel the golden grandeur and wealth the Savoy family possessed. Take time to meander through the vast formal gardens.
Throughout the interior, the palace rooms are incredibly ornate.
Neighboring Palazzo Madamma, formerly a medieval fortress, also graces the heart of the center city. The former moat was converted into a garden.
Also, visit the Civic Museum of Ancient Art within Palazzo Madamma. Both Palazzo Real and Palazzo Madamma are easily accessible, but I wouldn’t try to do both on the same day.
Boomer Travel Tip
In today’s travel climate, trip insurance is a must. Compare policies and rates at InsureMyTrip.
Visit the Royal Palace of Venaria
The Royal Palace of Veneria is a must see while in Turin.
A 10-year-long restoration, costing approximately $250 million, rescued the must-see Royal Palace of Venaria from ruin. The “Versailles of Savoy” is a former so-called hunting lodge on the outskirts of the city.
Just look at the view of the palace gardens.
The 20-acre UNESCO site showcases a spectacular Hall of Diana, reminiscent of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, a Great Gallery brimming with priceless paintings and statuary, the Chapel of Sant’Uberto, the Savoy gondola from Venice, and period furnishings, armor and gardens. I hadn’t planned to spend seven hours but ended up lingering among the interior rooms and gardens at this enthralling site.
Go to the top of Superga Hill
Although a bit difficult to get to, seeing the views from Superga Hill is definitely worth it.
I used the excellent public transportation system to maneuver the city, but getting to the top of Superga Hill became my biggest challenge. The summit was finally reached by riding the Sassi-Superga Tramline.
Once at the top, I eyed the white marble, stucco and copper-domed Basilica of Superga. Inside lie the underground Royal Tombs and a room containing a portrait of every pope.
Make sure to check out the Gallery of Popes.
Behind the church stands a memorial, the site of a tragic 1949 air crash involving the country’s football (soccer) team. Be sure to take the tour down into the Savoy tombs and ascend steps to the roof or cupola (on your own) and enjoy magical views of the snow-covered Alps, the Po River and the city of Torino (as the Italians say) below.
Visit the National Cinema Museum
The Mole Antonelliana is the city’s tallest landmark.
Film and movie buffs delight in the National Cinema Museum inside a building known as the Mole Antonelliana. Here, visitors can recline and watch footage from vintage films.
More to see in Turin
The Mole’s spire, the tallest city landmark at 550 feet, rises above a grand vault. For 360-degree views ride the elevator to the observatory (although I preferred the more scenic view from Superga).
Football fans inaugurated the now hallowed grounds of Juventus Stadium, in 2011. The state-of-the-art soccer facility bestows no barrier views and contains the memorabilia of the beloved Juventus Football Club.
Public art in the form of statuary and fountains are scattered everywhere throughout the city. Their beauty is enjoyed any time of day, but especially when illuminated at night.
Valentino Park, a medieval hamlet on the riverbanks, was built for an 1884 Universal Exhibition and then demolished. By popular demand, it is brought back and is absolutely worth a visit.
Whatever you do while in Turin, make sure to get up high to enjoy the views of the city steeples with the mountains in the background.
Many more royal homes, palaces, castles, art museums and park are open to tourists. I just ran out of time, and I stayed for six days.
To save money on entrance fees, check out the combination tickets for museums and attractions available in the Tourist Information Center. The staff explained how to get around as well as the best times to visit.
Boomer Travel Tip
Purchasing tours ahead at Viator is another convenient option. Get a full refund if you cancel up to 24 hours in advance on most experiences.
While Turin misses the celebrity status of Paris or Rome, don’t let it slip off your itinerary. Visitors will find more than enough to see at lower prices. Of course, like anywhere in Italy, one can still indulge in excellent Italian food and wine.
Where to stay in Turin, Italy
- If you enjoy elegant historical hotels, stay at the Grand Hotel Sitea.
- Centrally located, Principi di Piemonte is a convenient choice.
- NH Collection Piazza Carlina also gets high marks for its updated 17th century rooms.
And, remember to always check the reviews at TripAdvisor before making your choice.
Save to Pinterest
My Itchy Travel Feet featured writer, Debi Lander, currently lives in Sarasota, FL and works as a freelance travel and food writer/photographer. She has traveled within 48 of the 50 United States and in over 70 countries. She is the mother of four and Grandmother Mimi to eight. By air, by land or sea, Debi’s always ready to explore at ByLanderSea.
Scratch those itchy travel feet!
Boomer travelers rely on our weekly email newsletter for fresh travel inspiration, tips, and advice. It’s free! No spam, unsubscribe anytime.
You may also like
Inspiring boomers one adventure at a time. We report on active travel adventures so that you know what to expect.