Generational Marketing in the Hospitality Industry: Baby Boomers

brown Blog, The Marketing Minute

It’s easy to make assumptions about generations—but doing so can be dangerous for your business. For example, if you’ve missed our other installments, you might think that Millennials don’t buy luxury products or services because they don’t have as much buying power as other generations. In fact, they’re the most likely of any generation to have done so in the last 12 months, according to one study.

And it’s perhaps easiest to assume things about the Baby Boomers. They’re older than other generations, so they must be behind the times, right? They probably want things to stay exactly the same, and they must not like to spend money, either.

Is that really all true? Let’s dive into the last piece of our Generational Marketing series and find out.

GENERATIONAL FOCUS: BABY BOOMERS

Boomers currently range in age from the middle of their 50s to their early 70s—they were born between 1946 and 1964. They’re not the largest generation anymore (that would be Millennials), but they still wield a lot of economic power: According to a Pew Research study, households headed by adults 65 and older had 47 times as much net wealth as the typical household led by someone under 35.

And even those who don’t have quite that much wealth still want to enjoy what they’ve got while they are physically and mentally able.

That’s why today, many Boomers are thinking and acting young—even as they become grandparents and great-grandparents. They want experiences, and they’ve got the means to pursue them. They’re also more tech-savvy than they get credit for; reportedly, more than 80% do research online before they travel.

In some areas, of course, they are a little more old-fashioned: They prefer personal interaction and tangible, informative communications. And like Generation X, they’re more likely to be skeptical than Millennials, but also more likely to be loyal once you’ve earned their trust.

MARKETING TO BOOMERS

Even though Baby Boomers use social media more than you might think, traditional vehicles such as TV, radio and direct mail are still effective. And if you have the budget, print advertising is perfect for this audience. Whichever methods you utilize, don’t completely neglect online and social options, however.

Partnerships can pay big dividends, too, because many different communities and organizations are focused solely on the 55+ set. As an obvious example, what if AARP could offer its members a special offer from your property? It’s a value-add for AARP, it provides exposure for you and an opportunity for Boomers. That can have a powerful effect on your bottom line.

And when it comes to your content, don’t try to be too clever—your materials for Boomers should provide solid information and concrete details. They are a more literal audience, and they’re willing to read an advertisement or brochure all the way through. They want to see exactly what they’re getting, so be sure to show them!

As we close out our series, the most important thing to remember about generational marketing is that you can’t afford to ignore any generation, regardless of your primary target. Families often want to bring multiple generations on trips today, and you truly never know who might be interested in your property. Being thoughtful about all generations can give you a strong advantage, and potentially a loyal customer base, for generations to come.