Boomer Travel Is Making a Comeback

May 31, 2022


The first generation in history to NOT consider travel to be a luxury is back at it again! Pent-up demand, created by a couple of lock-down years, has Boomers looking to get out-of-town. Nearly 90% of seniors are planning to travel more – or at least as much as – they did last year, according to research conducted by CIRCA 46’s parent company, Slingshot LLC.

Furthermore, Boomers will be taking longer trips than their younger counterparts. Nearly half (46%) will spend at least five days on vacation. This compares to 29% of the trips planned by younger travelers.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that older trippers are ratcheting up their vacation spending versus past travels. Roughly 69% say they plan to spend about the same amount for their vacation as they had in the past. Hence, the price of the destination relative to their predetermined travel budget is a key determinant cited by 77% of the senior travelers surveyed.

Travel Planning Is Part of the Vacation Experience for Boomers

Seniors start their travel planning early. Better than half (58%) start planning their trip at least two months in advance of their travel – over 35% start planning more than three months in advance.

And they are going online for travel information and travel inspiration. Nearly half of seniors planning vacations are looking at destination websites and search engines to help them plan. While other online resources were identified – such as social media and online travel videos – these resources are utilized two-to-three times more by younger cohorts than by seniors.

While they tend to begin researching their vacation options online, seniors love reading about travel and are more likely to request, read and respond to travel collateral. That includes travel magazines, direct mail and catalogs. This is consistent with senior behavior related to almost any advertising. As a cohort, they generally prefer hardcopy over digital communication. But again, that doesn’t mean they are not online. TripAdvisor’s “TripBarometer Travel Trends” study shows that 55% of Boomers take online reviews into consideration when planning a vacation. Furthermore, 84% have purchased travel online at one time or another.

So, What Are Seniors Looking for in a Travel Destination?

When asked to choose their three top criteria (out of a list of eleven) for their destination selection, our internal research revealed three factors that were identified by more than half of the seniors surveyed: price, quality of accommodations and COVID-19 safety – in that order.

Another top criteria influencing Baby Boomers’ destination selection is to strike something off their “bucket list.” According to U.S. News & World Report, that bucket list usually consists of multiple items including:

  • Places they’ve dreamed about visiting
  • Adventures they’ve wanted to experience
  • Educational opportunities that stimulate their minds

In fact, more than 50% of senior travelers choose vacation destinations that offer new experiences, education or adventure.

The point is, Boomer travelers want adventure and/or stimulation. Now that the travel industry is getting back to normal, they are ready to get out and start looking for it again.

For travel and vacation marketers, now is the time to get in front of senior travelers. Tease their desires to see and experience new things. Show them how precautions have been made to ensure their health and safety. And demonstrate the ease with which you can deliver the quality travel experience they desire.

Just because seniors are aging, that does not mean they don’t want to be active. Show them how your travel offerings will feed their desires for action and stimulation, and many, if not most of them will readily sign on.

Check out Slingshot’s Summer, 2022 “Leisure Travel Forecast” for a deeper dive into what will be driving the travel industry for the remainder of this year. Here’s the link: