The Baby Boomers: Unique and Loyal Travelers

Baby Boomers are a unique generation for more than a few reasons, but their travel trends in particular stand out from younger generations. For a start, they are far less likely to travel internationally on vacation, but at the domestic destinations they do select, they spend much more. Analysts attribute this trend to boomers’ tendency to travel to see family, with a special focus on seeing grandchildren.[1] There are clear distinctions between the travel habits of boomers and younger Americans, but how different are they, really?

The spending gap between boomers and other generations is wide, at least $1,000 more on average. Further, close to 50% of boomers spend an annual $3,000 on travel. A part of this higher spending may be boomers’ tendency to stay in 3 and 4-star hotels over alternatives like AirBnB, hostels, and couch-hopping, which younger travelers take advantage of. Boomers travel less in general as well, and to locations they’ve already visited or are home to family, making their spending more confident than younger travelers wary of overspending in the wrong place.

One of the most intriguing differences in boomers is their increased likelihood to enroll in loyalty programs, with analysts noting that boomers more than likely belong to at least two frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs. The consistent locations and methods of their travel make these programs more predictable and therefore attractive to the slightly older group, and higher spending creates more loyalty points that incentivize more spending. The travel trends that make boomers unique are completely logical, and now the question becomes how younger generations’ travel habits will develop. Will we see a similar drift towards convenience and quality? Or will the cost-saving priorities of Generation X and Millenials keep steady?


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