`Baby Boomers' are are earning themselves the name`Zoomers’ – ‘baby boomers with zip’ – for their adventurous travel habits and refusal to let go of their youth. They seek travel enlightenment, nostalgia, convenience and spontaneity (…packaged in a safe, customised, healthy, green wrapping and with great customer service…)
The generation born between 1946 and 1964, is very different from the stereotypical mature travellers of past eras, who tended to seek more passive travel experiences and activities. And according to a new report on over fifties travel habits, Boomers are also jaded students of advertisements but respond well to emotive memories as the right brain is where emotions and memories reside and develops as people mature.
These findings are backed up by Dr. Simon Hudson, director of the Centre of Economic Excellence in Tourism at the University of South Carolina, whose research shows that baby boomers represent 30 to 35 percent of the population in many western countries. He maintains that they are now completely reshaping and redefining the travel landscape.
Dr. Hudson said “There are key psychographic nuances of the traveling boomer; for example, they are looking for a memorable experience rather than a holiday, they are seeking authenticity, spiritual and mental enlightenment, nostalgia, convenience and spontaneity, all packaged in a safe, customised, healthy, green wrapping and delivered with great customer service”.
He continued “Boomers do not associate themselves with old age – in fact, boomers on average feel 7-12 years younger than they actually are!
Dr Hudson talks about Silver Travel Advisor: “A website written exclusively by and for mature travellers makes so much sense for many reasons. First of all, it is a myth that just the young use the Internet; for many boomers, the web is a key communication tool to a more inclusive lifestyle. Not only are boomers looking for information online, they are also using the web for social networking – so it is great to see Silver Travel Advisor featuring on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Boomers also feel ignored as a consumer group – which is not surprising as 95 percent of marketing and advertising budgets are spent on the under-50 age. So a website customised just for them will certainly appeal. Boomers are also jaded students of advertisements and they seek out media that gives them more information to make decisions.
What is distinctive about the Silver Travel Advisor website, is that is packed full of real-life travel tales as opposed to advertorials, and this would be attractive to Boomers. They respond particularly well to emotive stories – research shows that older adults typically recall twice as many of the emotional components of a story than younger adults. This is because as people mature, cognition patterns become more right-brain oriented which has a critical impact on marketing, as the right brain is where emotions and memories reside. Finally the travel reviews on the website are all about experiences and Boomers in particular are motivated and driven by the chance to collect one-of-a-kind experiences. By the time they reach their senior years, many have had their fill of packaged vacations and typical destinations.
Silver Travel Advisor’s MD Debbie Marshall said “We are delighted to read that Dr Hudson endorses Silver Travel Advisor. Our Silver Travellers have no intention of leaving their youthful pursuits behind as they get older. They are looking for more active travel pursuits in which health, fitness and learning new skills play prominent roles”.
Dr Hudson has written 5 books, more than 50 journal articles and the focus of his research is tourism marketing.