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Understanding the 'Generations' of travel - Part 2: The Baby Boomers.
By Jeroen Gulickx
Monday, 14th April 2014

Exclusive Feature: In the previous article you have been able to read and understand more about the Post War Cohort; The reliable traveler, who loves to travel the world and has the disposable income to do so.

In this article I will focus on the more recent generation, the Baby Boomers. While I have been doing the research and some of the traveling myself. I have seen and understood much of what is awaiting us, our families, our children. In fact a very interesting app to download, is called urban world, developed and updated by McKinsey & Company.

It helps you travel in time, and understand what countries are developing and also where you and your business should keep your focus. Some of the smaller cities in the BRIC countries are taking over entire countries in Europe in Gross National Product. The app will take you through time and estimates growth in population and much more.

Even more reason to continue to analyze the traveler’s behaviour, if we want to continuously adjust our service levels, to match or exceed! In this chapter I will write about the Baby Boomers, a very interesting generation, which has seen and experienced, war, financial collapses, extreme national and international cultural clashes and the invasion of ‘low cost’ concepts.

The Baby Boomers
Born 1943-1956
Key words: Good economy, experience, optimistic, good jobs, growth

That dedication.

The post second world war Baby boomers are a generation which keep surprising. In the digital research which is one of the main drivers of social behavior these days, I was surprised to see the rapid way the Baby boomers are still adjusting to all new technology. Sure there are exceptions, but the latest Deloitte report on digital behavior tells us how experimental this generation are, and how easy they will adapt to what’s the now.

Actually this generation was the one that embraced the credit card, the plastic device for good and bad. The credit card still and always will be some kind of concern, and potentially the only thing that will keep this generation from booking online. They have seen the fraude and also the complications credit card on travel could give. The security we see now, leaves little to be scared about. Still strange when you are expected to fax over a copy of your credit card as guarantee.  This generation is also the one that started to introduce the personal computer to the household.

Formal and face to face meetings are preferred, confrontation is ok, and team meetings are key to solutions. They travel, yes the Baby Boomers have the gold card, and stay at luxury and comfortable hotels. They are used to flying business class in the working spheres and using the points for private travel with their families. The Baby Boomers are hard workers and also make the most trustworthy employees.  The Baby Boomers have the biggest impact on our economy still, they are the work force.

They will work overtime and can be trusted, however they are ready to confront the boss and peers, as their experience and age allows them too.  One characteristic that is highly important is that they need privacy, at work or at home. They care about their own space and need to feel at home. Recognition plays an important role in the decision to return to the same airline or hotel, or any retail venue.

Samples of Baby Boomers are everywhere we look, the top CEO’s of corporate institutions, like IBM, Microsoft, presenters of TV shows, and some of the top sports people; a few names are Bill Gates, Madonna, Michael Jordon, Al Goore, Obama, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks just to name a few. They influence us in many ways, we see them, we follow them. Again the impact on how we see the world, is highly influenced by the Baby Boomer.

Independent Travel

The Baby Boomers have seen and traveled many destinations. They are very knowledgeable and have a high disposable income or at least ensure that the spending money on the holidays is of extreme importance.

They will take every opportunity to travel. It creates increased knowledge of cultures and stimulates independence; the independence and privacy that they require. They have been to places that are less accessible nowadays, because of natural disasters or where civil wars have taken hold of the country’s beauty and people.

They take risks, and don’t mind trying new destinations, hotels or travel means. But discrepancy in expectation is harmful; it will create a crack in loyalty and trust. It will take a while to establish that trust again.

The Baby Boomers have kids who have moved out of the house and are now ready to enjoy the travel on their own. Interesting long distance trips and destinations which have always been on the to do list are actual.

Loyalty is key, like the next generation the Generation Jones, the Baby Boomers will be chasing loyalty points no matter what. The benefits are important; they decide what airline or hotel to choose. Low cost travel is not so interesting, good flight times, a reliable airport and service are more important.

The toolkit

  • Even though one might not think so, these guys are into Social Media, they will try every app and catch up with the next generations. Even more so, they actually seek understanding and reasoning. So be clever, and understand your market segment really well. 
  • They travel in business and appreciate the high level rooms. They like to benefit from promotions before and during travel and having the opinion heard after is also key.
  • Well educated commercials in traditional media and backed up by smart online campaigns are key. A key client to get and keep, they will create further business for corporate and pleasure purposes!
  • Travel in style and class. It’s acceptable to show that you have worked and continue to work hard, resulting in more exclusive travel.
What’s next

The Baby Boomers, with their passion for travel in style hand over to a very interesting and fast developing next generation; Generation Jones. The self motivated and skeptical generation Jones will be the centre of the next article, followed by Generaion X and Y or sometimes the Millennials.

Generation Jones
Born Self motivation, skeptical.
  • Talk about the app urbanization
Generation X
Born 1966-1980

Generation Y - Millennials
  • Born 1980 -1990
  • Becoming rapidly the focus of travel and luxury industries.
  • The will become the primary customers of airlines, hotels and travel companies in the next 5-10 years
  • Become the most important consumer market for luxury consumer market around the year 2020.
  • Marriott wants Moxy to deliver the millennial customer with help from Ikea
  • Marriott's first Moxy Hotel opens this summer near Milan's Malpensa airport, followed by Munich at the end of the year. Another 10 openings in Europe are slated for 2015, with 150 anticipated altogether over the next decade
Generation Z
Born: 1995-2004

The Baby Boomer
The name for those born in 1946-1964, they have made and continue to make high impact on the world economy.  After the end of the World War II birth rates across the globe spiked and in particular in the US. The result of this growth was a direct stimulation of sales and consumption of goods and therefore a large increase in business travel.

What do they think is fun

The traveling baby boomer

Bruse Mayhew Consulting, Albright&O’Malley, Boston Consulting, Mckinsey Urbanization, Ethics Resource Centre – Research brief.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from is not permitted.

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