What About the Me Generation? Travel, Social Media and Baby Boomers

While I’m on the topic of generational marketing, let’s talk for a minute about Baby Boomers (49-67 years old). While Millenials may outnumber them, Baby Boomers are one big and busy generation. Marketing travel to retirees is a whole different ball game now, because it’s clear Boomers don’t know what old school retirement is. Many are entrepreneurs or will continue to work until they just can’t anymore and they travel.

Baby Boomers are a savvy, adventurous bunch. They aren’t your old-school motel-staying, kitsch-buying grandparents. They’re taking their entire families on chartered boats and taking long weekends at destination resorts.

And let's talk social media and Baby Boomers - not only are they one of the fastest growing Facebook user groups, but according to Social Media Today, Baby Boomers actually make up just around 44% of Facebook users, 30% of Twitter users, and 43% of Linked In users. So if you think Baby Boomers aren’t paying attention to social media and travel reviews, think again.

That said, they are almost certainly using social tools differently than other generations when it comes to making travel decisions. Millenials are used to processing a lot of online information very quickly; they’ve grown up doing it. So they can look at the multitude of TripAdvisor friend-recommended reviews that come back and decide in a snap how they’re going to use the information. (I suspect, as I watch my son grow up with technology, that their brains are hardwired now to filter out unimportant information really quickly.)

Baby Boomers, on the other hand, have been discounted up until recently, so statistics on the way they use social media to decide on travel are harder to come by. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Boomers are more likely to take the recommendation of  family or friends and then head online to see if the hotel has what they want and reviews well by others. I’d venture to say that the rating systems have more play with Baby Boomers than they do with Millenials and that while they’re adventurous, older travelers don’t want to risk basic comforts.

Though the generations are using social media differently, there’s one constant across them all—they are using social media, and they’re using it to plan travel. This goes without saying, but a positive online reputation is a MUST for young and old alike.


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