PLAINFIELD, IL – November 8, 2021 – While Millennials have received the bulk of the travel industry’s attention of late, the baby boomer generation still represents a wealthy niche for hotels to pursue. On average, this generation takes up to five trips and spends over $6,600 annually on travel, making it a market segment that the hotel industry ignores at its own peril. Born between 1946 and 1964, the so-called “boomers” spent a whopping $157 billion on travel in 2019 prior to the pandemic.
Besides their spending power, boomers have also proven to be highly loyal to hotel brands that meet their needs, taking advantage of loyalty programs more so than any other generation. For example, 82 percent of traveling boomers are members of a loyalty program and 70 percent of the time they will book their hotels with their program provider.
So how does your hotel become a favorite of these wealthy and extraordinarily loyal guests?
RENOVATING WITH BOOMERS IN MIND
With Property Improvement Plans (PIPs) on the upswing after a COVID-19 hiatus, hotels should look to ways to tap into baby boomer preferences during renovation. This takes a balancing act since a hotel renovation that inadvertently makes guests sense they’re either “too old” or “too young” risks alienating whole generations. Here are some tips to make your next renovation a multi-generational success.
- Baby boomers are not interested in “roughing it” or glamping. In fact, they are responsible for 80% of all luxury travel spending. Make them feel special by adding extra features. In the bathroom, for instance, install high-end shower heads, double sinks and lighted makeup mirrors. Bedding should be extra large, soft and inviting. Small luxury details are often what turn a four-star review into five, or what compels a guest to want to return.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking aging baby boomers want the interior designs of their parents’ generation. Instead, go with “contemporary vintage” designs that appeal to boomers because it makes them feel younger without being too edgy, sleek or minimalist. Natural textures, metallic touches and neutral tones inspired from the outdoors are popular decors for boomers.
- Accommodate older travelers with stress-free, comfort-driven features ranging from larger shower-only bathrooms to well-equipped exercise rooms and luxury spas.
- Allocating more rooms as larger suites is also recommended, because boomers are more likely to pursue multi-generation traveling and need additional room for family.
- To help older guests feel safe install security lighting in parking lots and entry ways. Bright lighting throughout the hotel is crucial to baby boomers both to aid vision and to help create aesthetic appeal. Also, install floor and headboard lamps to provide a “wash” of light throughout the guest room.
- Large, comfortable seating is important in guest rooms and lobbies. Avoid ultra-modern, low-to-the-ground chairs that may be difficult for older travelers to get in and out of.
- Unlike Millennials, baby boomers are not connected to technology 24/7, but technology is still important to them. Boomers want a simpler experience with hotel technology so install user-friendly TVs, Internet and hotel websites with clear instructions. Free Wi-Fi and USB charging stations are big with boomers who expect them as a service. Overall, however, boomers desire more of a human connection than Millennials do.
- Women-only travel is an increasing trend among Gen X and baby boomers. To make female guests feel at home in your hotel consider adding extra closet space, a full-length mirror as well as a night table, and modern, stylish bedding, sheets and duvets.
- Baby boomers are “foodies” who enjoy fine dining. Your renovation is not complete without updating the restaurant with an eye towards contemporary styling and luxury appointments which baby boomers will pay extra to experience.
Over the past few years, the hotel industry has altered its designs to meet the needs of Millennials, while failing to address the consumer power of baby boomers. The key to renovating your hotel to appeal to baby boomers comes down to understanding the distinct nuances in terms of their lifestyles, behaviors, and motivations for travel.
To learn more, please visit www.cicero-construction.com.