Baby Boomer Travel Is Not Slowing Down
Resorts can attract this valuable market with the right content strategy and the right offerings—but they’ve got to move fast.
Baby boomer travel is expected to keep on booming in 2019. According to an AARP report, 2019 Boomer Travel Trends, travelers between 54 and 74 are expected to plan four to five vacations this year and will spend a total of more than $6,600 on those trips. For timeshare, these numbers present a big opportunity, but it takes the right approach to capitalize on it.
Reach Out Proactively—and Soon
Boomers are active, decisive travelers who know not only the kind of vacation experience they’re looking for, but also the destination. They research activities and events before they even book their accommodations. That’s one reason Beth Sentany, director of North America member marketing at RCI, recommends that “resorts should have a continuous narrative and rich online content that can be repurposed across channels to promote destination and resort activities well in advance of travel.” According to the AARP report, boomers increasingly book international travel early (31 percent in 2019, versus 17 percent in 2017), and more boomers in the planning stages of a domestic trip have already selected their destination (88 percent, versus 72 percent in 2018). The key takeaway, according to Sentany, is not to wait for travelers to book before you start marketing destination activities: Instead, be the source they find when they search “Things to do in _______ with grandkids.”
Help Plan for the Unexpected
According to the AARP report, after cost, the biggest barrier to travel for boomers is health. “Resorts can help travelers feel better prepared for vacation by providing information on accessibility and local healthcare availability as well as other tips to address health concerns that may arise before or during travel,” Sentany says. She also suggests reminding guests that many credit cards and loyalty programs offer trip-protection benefits in case of a health emergency.
Keep It Authentic, and Listen to Your Guests’ Preferences
Although boomers prefer to seek out authentic experiences that include eating or touring with locals, fewer of them want to stay with locals, according to the AARP report. That means timeshare resorts that provide not only the comforts of home but also the local flavor that boomers want have a winning combination. Sentany says that resorts can “personalize the vacation experience, connect guests with the local culture, and leverage owner input to curate local recommendations.” She recommends exploring a digital strategy to capture and distribute user-generated content.
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