How to attract baby boomer customers for your tour agency?
Table of Contents
“Baby boomers” are people who were born from 1946 to 1964. The reason they are called “baby boomers” is because after World War II, the number of people living in the United States went up, which is called a “boom.” This new group is called “boomers” or “baby boomers” because of this.
Travel agencies see the baby boomer group as a good market to serve. When it comes to the size of the population, baby boomers make up a big chunk of many countries. In the United States in 2023, they are the second largest group after the millennials, making up about 21% of the total population. This group of people is between the ages of 59 and 77, which is almost old enough to retire. They both have the time and money to travel. So if you run a travel agency, you shouldn’t miss out on this important market.
Characteristics of Baby Boomers
Demographics (age, income, education)
People who were born between 1946 and 1964 are called baby boomers. In 2023, they will be between 59 and 77 years old.
In most parts of the world, the Baby Boomers are the wealthiest group. This is because they worked hard and spent and saved money wisely when they were younger. USnews says that they have 70% of the money that can be spent in the U.S. In every area, they spend more than any other group. They also spend the most each time they buy something.
In terms of education, the baby boomers are the group with the highest level of education. Gitnux statistics from 2023 show that baby boomers have more education than any other group. 88.8% of baby boomers have finished high school, and 28.5% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Travel preferences and behavior
Most baby boomers like to visit friends and family when they travel, or they go to places where they can relax and see the sights. They’re more likely to book tour packages. They like slow, relaxing things to do, such as cruises, road trips, and river tours.
When traveling, safety and comfort are important to baby boomers. They normally stay away from places that are dangerous and new to them. But it can’t be ruled out that a lot of them are very interested in high-activity trips and adventure trips.
Younger groups like Gen Z get ideas for where they want to go from social media, but baby boomers are the opposite. Most of them already know where they want to go—their “must-visit” places—before they even start to plan their trip.
Many tour companies make the mistake of thinking that baby boomers don’t know how to use technology. But in reality, most baby boomers now have their own computers and smartphones, and they go online every day. People rely more and more on technology to find what they want to buy and learn more about it. This is especially true when it comes to making trip plans.
In the US, baby boomers like to use computers more than cell phones or tablets. Online travel agencies like TripAdvisor and Expedia are the ones they like best, followed by travel agent websites. They like websites that are easy to use and let them book directly with a company. As a tour service, you should put money into your website and online system so that you can serve them well.
Values and motivations
The baby boomers see travel as a chance to see new places, learn about other cultures, and make memories with their loved ones that will last a lifetime. They really value all of the good things that come with traveling.
They have a strong desire to travel, see the world, and check things off their dream list. If they know what they’ll get out of taking a tour, they usually don’t think twice about it and book it right away.
When it comes to traveling, this group is thought to be brave and open-minded. These travelers often don’t worry about cost when they go to the places of their dreams, which makes them one of the most expensive generations in the US tourism business.
Marketing Strategies to Attract Baby Boomer Customers
Understanding their needs and preferences
First thing to create a marketing strategy for this target group is to understand their needs and preferences. Well there are some key things about baby boomers’ preference that we already mentioned above. But we have to get to know them on a deeper level.
When looking for a tour, customers will consider the tour package itself and the customer service of the tour agency. When it comes to the tour package, a customer will look into activities and experience in the trip, price, reliability. And regarding the service, baby boomers appreciate empathy, transparency, ways of communication and accessibility.
So, to identify customer needs in detail, we have to conduct analysis of customers’ data. You can leverage the existing data of your customer:
- Filter the data of baby boomers in your existing database
- Review their experiences and interactions with your travel agency in the past
- You should ask customer service staff to call each customers or send them survey for your marketing plan, when doing so, you can survey them more carefully and ask about their wishes for the future
Besides using customers’ data, you can conduct other research about baby boomers’ buying journey, doing keyword research and listening to what they are talking about on social media. You can send your potential customers surveys via email or social media to gain more insight about customer needs.
Developing targeted marketing messages
In marketing, it’s very important to send the same word to people you want to buy from, especially baby boomers. Stepping your tour service toward a customer-focused mindset is the most important thing. If your marketing message isn’t clear, customers might not remember the name of your tour service.
Before you can come up with a great targeted marketing message, you need to know your target group, which are baby boomers, as well as their pain points and needs. To do this, you need to take the last step seriously and do it carefully. After that, go back to your inner travel business and figure out what your best selling points are.
A good marketing message should be clear, to the point, and both emotional and intellectually appealing to the customer. It can show how unique your tour service is.
For example, a tour company that wants to attract baby boomers might say, “Small group tours that show you the highlights and the hidden gems.”
We have the right mix of ease, safety, and excitement.
The above company is showing the best parts of their small-group trips, which are comfortable and safe. These are the things that baby boomers will like a lot.
Choosing appropriate marketing channels
There are a lot of channels that you can use for marketing: email marketing, social media marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, offline ads,… The first question you’re gonna ask is which marketing channels are the best for baby boomers?
The best marketing channel for baby boomers are search engines. In a study done by DMN3, baby boomers were asked about what forms of marketing prompted them to take action and here are the results:
Social media is also one of the top channels to reach baby boomers. According to a DMN3 study, 82.3 percent of baby boomers belong to at least one social media site, with Facebook being by far the most popular one. Facebook is definitely the social platform that attracts baby boomers the most. Nearly half of these demographics use Facebook to share their life to their family and friends on a daily basis.
Offering personalized and authentic experiences
To make great customer experiences for baby boomers, it’s important to give personalized and real experiences. This group of baby boomers has many different interests and skills, and they want their travel to reflect that.
They have spent most of their lives working and saving, so now is when they want to enjoy the best adventures. They are a group of buyers who don’t care about price, so if your tour agency can create real and personalized experiences, this will be a great thing to show them.
Here is an example of a private tour in Vietnam for an older couple. Customers want to see things in nature and learn about the Vietnam War at historical sites. When it comes to food and lodging, they would like to eat traditional Vietnamese food and stay at a 5-star hotel in a quiet, clean place. The tour service will make a unique plan for each customer based on their requests and what they like to do and eat.
You can design new tours for each customer’s request or adapt your existing itineraries to them. It is important to research carefully customers’ preference, physical ability, travel style and their must-see attractions in order to rtailor the best tour for them.
Highlighting safety and security measures
When they travel, baby boomers try to put safety and comfort first. They like cruises, guided trips, and all-inclusive resorts, which are more traditional and well-known ways to travel. They also try to stay away from places that seem dangerous or strange. Safety is the thing they worry about the most when they travel. So, when marketing to them, it’s important to talk about how to stay safe and secure while traveling.
As a travel service for baby boomers, you should tell your clients that their health, safety, and security come before anything else. You should write it down in clear rules and steps. When marketing to baby boomers, it will be very helpful to have a document of safety and security steps that is in line with the World Health Organization and the World Tourism & Travel Council’s Safe Travel Protocols for tour operators. Also, to protect yourself, your clients, and your business, it is important to have customers sign a travel waiver form.
Providing exceptional customer service
Customer service is a powerful weapon when marketing to baby boomers. It is what sets your tour agency apart and gives it a competitive advantage. Customer service for baby boomers is a little bit different compared to other generations. They usually have high expectations from anyone they do business with. They want answers fast, but they still want in-person and traditional customer support. They expect customer support teams to be available by phone 24/7 and want resolutions the first time they reach out.
The best customer service approaches for satisfying this generation are:
- Make sure they know you value their time.
- Be solution oriented.
- Be ready to give them all of the information necessary before asking them to make a decision.
Building long-term relationships with customers
Every marketing plan, but especially for baby boomers, needs to focus on building long-term relationships with customers. Since this generation isn’t as easily drawn in by eye-catching ads and catchy phrases as it used to be.
Sincerity and time spent together are what make them believe and trust. So, the best way to sell to this group of customers is to build long-term relationships with them. If you want to keep people for a long time, you have to earn their trust. You have to talk to them well, only tell them the truth, understand how they feel, and stay in touch with them at all times. Also, customers need you because they want answers, so make sure that everything you do is geared toward making their lives better.
It’s not easy to keep a customer, so don’t lose them. Don’t forget to give them something for being loyal. For example, you can give them gifts on their birthdays, plan events to celebrate their achievements, and give them gifts when they reach each milestone.
Analysis of Baby Boomer Market
Adventure Abroad, based in America since 1987, offers small-group tour packages to 120 countries across the globe. It mainly caters for adults ages 50 and older.
The target audience of Adventure Abroad is baby boomers in the USA, who are active, curious and considered well-traveled. According to the US Census Bureau, baby boomers have remained the second-largest population group in 2022, comprised of 69.6 million people ages 58 to 76
Marketing Strategies Implemented
“Small group tours that show you the highlights & the hidden gems
Adventures Abroad offers the perfect mix of comfort, security and adventure”
This is the targeted message of Adventures Abroad.
Considering the target audience is baby boomers who are 50 and older, Adventures Abroad understands very well their pain points, concerns and priorities for traveling. They decided to put the most valuable keywords: “small group tours”, “comfort”, “security”, “adventure”, which tell the highlights of their products and impress their target customers. After that, they developed their marketing strategy which aligns closely with the targeted message.
Adventure Abroad has both ready-made trips and tours that are made just for the customer.
Senior Adventures makes unique tours to meet the exact needs of each customer. Adventure Tour will work closely with their customers to make sure they have a unique trip based on their tastes, travel style, and must-see places.
“Cultural tours” and “Active tours” are the names of two other types of trips they offer. They called cultural tours “soft adventure” trips because they focus on the culture, history, and nature of the place. These tours don’t have any hard things to do. People who like to walk will enjoy active trips. This set of tours includes both walking tours and thoughtful, interesting tours of cities or nature. In each itinerary’s description, they gave information about the distance or estimated walking time.
All the tours are rated from 1 to 3 based on how active they are. At level 1, you only need to take a short stroll, but at level 3, you have to walk for a long time on rough ground. On the description of each tour package, they put all the information about the amount of activity and the full schedule.
Adventure Abroads shows that they put their customers’ health, safety and security the first priority. They display the information for safety and security very clear on their website.
Adventure Abroad focuses on 3 main marketing channels: Social media, email and website.
1.Social media presence
The tour agency really knows their target audience. They make their online presence on multiple social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, but mainly focus on Facebook. They are the most active on Facebook, where they make their posts on a daily basis.
Up to now, their facebook fanpage has got more than 13k followers, and the interaction and engagement in every post is very stable and positive.
Besides posts of photos and videos, they are also taking advantage of Facebook Reels to reach more organic traffic.
2. Email marketing
Email is an effective channel that a tour agency cannot miss out if it targets baby boomers.
In Adventure Abroad’s e-Newsletter, they provide their customers with a wide range of content, from travel news, stories, travel tips and guides to travel promotions and good deals and so much more.
3. Website: Blogs and events to engage baby boomers
Adventure Abroad have their blog mainly about introducing travel destinations, in each place, they present their tours accordingly.
Moreover, Adventure Abroad also holds a photo contest to celebrate its birthday every year. “The idea was to take the time to relive fond memories of trips and tours gone by.” Knowing that, baby boomers are the generation who treasure their memories and are nostalgic. So a photo contest will be suitable for them, bringing peaceful and relaxing feelings.
The top three most voted photos will be the winners and will receive up to $500 travel credit toward the next tour. And two random voters will be selected to receive $200 travel credit. They are doing well at engaging participants to submit their photos and vote to determine the winners. They are creating a great opportunity to value and reward their customers, at the same time doing marketing to attract many new audiences and potential customers.
How impressive it is!
Baby boomers are valuable customers for tour agencies, no doubt. If we do careful research, understand them and come up with marketing strategies that are suitable for them, it is not too difficult to attract this group of customers.
In this article, we have analyzed the characteristics of baby boomers, suggested some key marketing strategies for your tour agency, and also given a real-life example of a tour agency’s successful story in attracting baby boomers. We hope this article will be helpful to your tour agency in making a successful marketing campaign for baby boomers!
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