Boomer, Mature Travelers Rely on WOM; Have Money, Little Brand Loyalty

September 20, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Household Income | Out-of-Home | Radio | Social Media | Television | Travel & Hospitality

Boomers and matures (ages 60+) rely on various sources of travel information – e.g., TV, travel agents, radio, outdoor ads, print and the internet – but they rely most on word-of-mouth recommendations, according to a survey of 30,000 consumers age 42+ by Focalyst, a joint venture of AARP Services and Kantar (via MediaBuyerPlanner).

Recommendations from friends and family were cited by 96% of boomers and 88% of matures as the most-used source for travel information. They were also cited as the most valued by 57% of boomers and 44% of matures.

The study also found that when it comes to airlines, hotels, motels and cruise lines, boomers and matures display very little brand loyalty, with only 10% using the same company all the time.

Consumers with $75,000 or more in household income are particularly strong influencers within these two segments:

  • More affluents say “people tend to come to me for travel advice”: 28.3%, versus 22% of those 42+ overall, according to MediaPost.
  • Affluents are also dominant in terms of sheer numbers, totaling 32 million, or nearly 40%, of the total 81 million 42+ population.
  • Affluents travel more (averaging 3.9 domestic trips in the previous year and 1.5 international trips in the previous three years, compared with 2.9 and 1.0, respectively for those 42+ overall).
  • Affluents on average spend $289 per day while traveling (versus $233)
  • Affluents as a segment expects to spend $66 billion on travel in the next 12 months – or 52% of the $126 billion for those 42+ overall).

More data on the travel propensities of boomers:

  • More than 81 million older adults are planning to travel in the next year and collectively, they plan to spend a total of $126 billion on their next trip alone.
  • One of the most lucrative segments of the 50+ population is boomers with children under the age of 18 living in the household. On average, these families take trips in the largest groups and their spending per trip was highest among all segments.
  • 72% like to return to familiar places for their vacations.
  • More than one-third look forward to vacation as a time to just eat, drink and relax.
  • More than half are going on road trips rather than long distance vacations.
  • Overall, they steer clear of organized trips.
  • 90% of boomers and matures alike are concerned about safety when traveling.

Boomers’ and matures’ concerns go beyond post 9-11 fears of terrorism to include issues such as being within close distance to doctors, pharmacies and other medical facilities as well as avoiding extremely desolate destinations where communication with family is difficult.

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