By Michael Del Gigante
In their rush to court younger consumers, travel marketers sometimes overlook an important demographic: baby boomers.
Members of this cohort, defined roughly as those born between 1946 and 1964, are especially valuable because they often have the income and time to take multiple trips each year:
- 70%: The share of total US disposable income controlled by baby boomers
- $6,600: How much boomers spend on leisure trips each year, on average
- 4 to 5: How many leisure trips boomers take each year, on average
What are the key motivators and behaviors of this group? To find out, check out MDG Advertising’s latest infographic, Baby Boomer Travelers: What Marketers Need to Know.
Why Baby Boomers Travel
While boomers travel for a range of reasons, the top motivator is to connect with loved ones.
Top Reasons Baby Boomers Travel
- To spend time with family and friends
- To relax and rejuvenate
- To get away from normal everyday life
A key difference with boomer travelers is big trips: many tackle their bucket list in retirement.
Most Common Types of Boomer Trips
- Bucket list
- Summer vacation
- Romantic getaway
Where Baby Boomers Go
Domestic trips are the most common with US boomers, though many also venture abroad.
Domestic vs. International Travel
- 47% of US boomer travelers take only domestic trips
- 48% take domestic and international trips
- 6% take only international trips
Two warm-weather spots—Florida and the Caribbean—are the most visited by US boomers.
Top Domestic Destinations
Top International Destinations
UK and Ireland
Where Baby Boomers Stay
Baby boomers generally stay at hotels/motels and haven’t widely embraced alternatives.
Boomers Overwhelmingly Prefer Hotels
- 66% of domestic boomer travelers typically stay in a hotel/motel
- Only 10% of domestic boomer travelers stay at Airbnbs/VRBOs
Boomers’ affinity for hotels is driven by a like of services and hesitancy about newer options.
Top Reasons Why Boomers Prefer Hotels
- Like hotel/motel services
- Don’t need the extra space
- Unfamiliar with how to book other options
How Loyalty Impacts Boomer Travel
Brand loyalty programs are very popular in the U.S. with baby boomer travelers.
Share of Boomer Travelers Who Are Members of Loyalty Programs
40%: Rental car
Boomers aren’t just passive members—they frequently book travel through loyalty programs.
Share of Boomer Travelers Who Book Through Loyalty Programs*
92%: Rental car
* Among those enrolled
How Boomers Use Mobile While Traveling
As with other generations, baby boomers have embraced using mobile devices while traveling.
Share of Boomers Who Use a Smartphone While on the Road
- 92% of domestic travelers
- 54% of international travelers
Mobile serves key roles for boomers, including photography, communication, and discovery.
Most Popular Mobile Activities Among Boomers While Traveling
- Taking photos
- Making phone calls
- Using maps
- Finding food/activities
Baby boomers have the time and money to take trips, are open to big bucket-list splurges, and vacation frequently. By catering to their specific needs—such as for hotel amenities and loyalty programs—travel brands of all types can find success with this lucrative demographic.
Infographic by MDG Advertising