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Baby Boomers and Vacation - US - December 2010

The U.S. leisure travel market was in decline in 2009 compared to 2008, driven down by the still-staggering economy and the rising cost of travel. While 2010 sales are up over 2009, Americans are still carefully monitoring their discretionary spending. Although Baby Boomers represent more than one third of all leisure travel and nearly 40% of business travel (which often yields rewards through loyalty programs that can be redeemed for vacations), more than two in 10 Boomers responding to Mintel’s exclusive consumer survey report financial reasons as the top justification for canceling or changing vacation plans in the last three years. Moreover, of those who did not travel domestically in the last 12 months or abroad in the last 24 months, more than three quarters did not travel because finances would not allow. This report provides an in-depth examination of the impact of the economy on vacation travel among Baby Boomers, and offers close analysis of the following:

  • Signs of recovery from the airline and hotel sectors, which may signal a turnaround for the market
  • Wavering consumer confidence, and how Baby Boomers are specifically affected by the stagnant economy
  • Social media and tech innovations that assist travelers, including Baby Boomers, through each step of their vacation planning and provide marketers with a platform on which to communicate with and build loyalty among their Boomer customers
  • Marketing that integrates online and offline strategies, and how travel companies could better reach Baby Boomers, who represent a vital consumer base
  • Responses to Mintel’s exclusive consumer survey and responses to the Experian/Simmons NCS, including wide-ranging investigation into a host of themes- from vacation types, travel frequency, spending, preferences and vacation essentials, to activities, vacation ethics and more

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Direct marketing data and creative
                • Advertising creative
                  • Abbreviations and terms
                    • Abbreviations
                      • Terms
                      • Executive Summary

                        • U.S. travel market declines 8.9%
                          • Airline and hotel sectors show signs of life
                            • Travel costs rise; consumer confidence remains low
                              • Travel costs up across every sector
                                • Low consumer confidence reflects lack of optimism
                                  • Baby Boomers see economic improvement in 2010, but worries persist
                                    • Innovations: social media, tech convenience, unique vacations
                                      • Social media as concierge, marketer, and loyalty builder
                                        • Smartphone apps assist with a growing number of travel issues
                                          • Unique vacation concepts that appeal to Baby Boomers
                                            • Marketing strategies
                                              • Baby Boomers on vacation
                                                • Vacation travel habits and opinions
                                                  • Vacation history/frequency and expense
                                                    • Vacation types
                                                      • Vacation essentials
                                                        • Vacation ethics
                                                          • Vacation activities
                                                            • Vacation accommodations selection
                                                              • Vacation preferences
                                                                • Vacation companionship
                                                                  • Reservations and resources loyalty groups
                                                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                                                    • Voluntourism
                                                                      • Vocation vacations
                                                                        • Sight-“doing” rather than sightseeing
                                                                          • Empty nester therapy
                                                                            • Do-it-yourself touring made easy and personalized
                                                                            • Inspire Insight

                                                                                • Trend: Secret, Secret
                                                                                • Market Size and Demographics

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • The economy is the central threat to travel spending
                                                                                      • Cost of travel rises, discouraging vacations while economic doubts exist
                                                                                        • Sales and forecast of the U.S. travel industry
                                                                                          • Figure 1: Total U.S. sales and expected forecast of the travel industry, at current prices, 2006-12
                                                                                          • Figure 2: Total U.S. sales and expected forecast of the travel industry, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2004-12
                                                                                        • Baby Boomers account for more than one third of leisure travel
                                                                                          • Figure 3: Travel market share and annual trip volume, by generation, 2008
                                                                                        • Baby Boomers comprise one quarter of the total population
                                                                                          • Figure 4: U.S. population by generation, 2010
                                                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Cost of travel increases, drives sales growth in 2010
                                                                                            • Figure 5: U.S. Travel Price Index, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                          • Rising airfares likely to dissuade some from air travel
                                                                                            • Air and hotel sales on the upswing
                                                                                              • E-booking provides convenience
                                                                                                • Value is the bottom line
                                                                                                  • Consumer confidence wavers in 2010
                                                                                                    • Figure 6: U.S. consumer sentiment, 2002-10
                                                                                                  • Baby Boomers say economy improved in 2010, but worries persist
                                                                                                    • Figure 7: Attitudes towards the economy, by generation, October 2010
                                                                                                  • Baby Boomers most likely to withhold discretionary spending
                                                                                                    • Figure 8: Attitudes towards discretionary spending, by generation, October 2010
                                                                                                  • Financial reasons factor most in changing/cancelling vacation plans
                                                                                                    • Figure 9: Factors impacting past three year vacation plans, Baby Boomers, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                  • Poor economy/finances are negatively impacting vacation choices
                                                                                                      • Figure 10: Financial issues impacting travel, Baby Boomers, by gender and by age, September 2010
                                                                                                  • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                    • Social media integrates into the travel industry, building loyalty
                                                                                                      • “Glamping” mixes luxury with the great outdoors
                                                                                                        • iPhone/BlackBerry apps help guide the independent Baby Boomer traveler
                                                                                                          • iPhone
                                                                                                            • BlackBerry
                                                                                                              • Genealogical tourism supported by Baby Boomers
                                                                                                              • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                • Overview
                                                                                                                  • Positioning strategies
                                                                                                                    • Hotel offerings catered to Boomers
                                                                                                                      • Figure 11: Quality Inns TV ad, 2010
                                                                                                                    • Globus offers specials for couples
                                                                                                                      • Airline strategies for Baby Boomers
                                                                                                                        • Cruise ships targeting Baby Boomers
                                                                                                                          • Figure 12: Royal Caribbean International TV ad, 2010
                                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Royal Caribbean International TV ad, 2010
                                                                                                                        • Resorts advertise activities, relaxation
                                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Sandals Grande Antigua resort TV ad, 2010
                                                                                                                        • Online initiatives
                                                                                                                          • Baby Boomers increasing use of social media
                                                                                                                            • Baby Boomers are the primary target of direct mail across all travel sectors
                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Travel category direct mail volume and share, by generation, September 2009-August 2010
                                                                                                                            • Cruise line direct mail strategies
                                                                                                                            • Vacation Travel Habits and Opinions

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Baby Boomers over-index for car rental, frequent-flyer programs, cruises
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Travel habits, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                • Baby Boomers report a range of travel interests
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Attitudes towards travel, Baby Boomers by gender and age, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                              • Vacation History/Frequency and Expense

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Income dictates frequency of vacations among Baby Boomers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Vacation history, Baby Boomers, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Married Baby Boomers with kids most likely to take multiple domestic vacations
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Vacation history, Baby Boomers, by marital status and presence of children, September 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Older male Baby Boomers most likely to spend $1K+ on domestic vacations
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Most recent domestic vacation expenditure, Baby Boomers, by gender and age, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                • Vacation Types

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • A majority of Baby Boomers use vacations to visit family/friends
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Past 12 month domestic vacation types, Baby Boomers, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Presence of children in household clearly impacts vacation type selection
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Past 12 month domestic vacation types, Baby Boomers, by marital status and presence of children, September 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers more likely to have taken a cruise in the last three years
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Past three year cruise ship vacation and total amount spent, Baby Boomers by gender and age, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Mexico, Bahamas, other Caribbean cruise destinations are most popular
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Areas traveled to by cruise ship in the last 3 years, Baby Boomers by gender and age, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Carnival, Royal Caribbean most used cruise lines
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Cruise lines used in the last 3 years, Baby Boomers, by gender and age, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Vacation Essentials

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Relaxation is the top priority
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: McAllen, Texas Tourism TV ad, 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Essential vacation attributes, Baby Boomers by gender and age, September 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Higher household income is a strong indicator for many vacation essentials
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Essential vacation attributes, Baby Boomers by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Vacation Ethics

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Baby Boomers report concern for local cultures/economies when abroad
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Foreign vacation attitudes, Baby Boomers, by gender and age, September 2010
                                                                                                                                          • College graduate Baby Boomers report greater concern for local culture/economy
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Foreign vacation attitudes, Baby Boomers, by education and household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Vacation Activities

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Baby Boomers report hiking/trekking and city sightseeing the most
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Past three-year vacation sports/activities, Baby Boomers by gender and age, September 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Higher household income indicates greater sports and activities participation
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Past three-year vacation sports, Baby Boomers, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Past three-year vacation activities, Baby Boomers, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Vacation Accommodations Selection

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Price tops list of important hotel attributes
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Attributes important in vacation hotel, Baby Boomers, by gender and age, September 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Familiarity more important than uniqueness when choosing hotels
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Hotel type preference, Baby Boomers, by gender and age, September 2010
                                                                                                                                              • College grad Baby Boomers want free internet access and loyalty programs
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Attributes important in vacation hotel, Baby Boomers, by education and by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Baby Boomers over-index for stays at a number of top hotel chains
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Hotels stayed at domestically in the last 12 months for vacation, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Vacation Preferences

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Baby Boomers say they prefer to plan their own trips over packaged tours
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Vacation preferences, Baby Boomers, by gender and age, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Household income of $100K+ points to a preference for new destinations
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Vacation preferences, Baby Boomers, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Vacation Companionship

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Most Baby Boomers travel with a partner or spouse
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Vacation companionship, Baby Boomers, by marital status and by presence of children, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Reservations and Resources Loyalty Groups

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers over-index for returning to familiar hotels, direct booking
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Booking method of most recent paid accommodations, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers mostly book hotels online
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Booking method of most recent paid accommodations, by Baby Boomer household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers online over-index for visits to top online travel sites
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Websites visited in the last 30 days, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers over-index for viewing numerous travel-related magazines
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Magazines read or looked at in the last six months, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers over-index for hotel frequent guest program membership
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Hotel frequent guest program enrollment, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers over-index for enrollment in frequent-flyer programs
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Frequent flyer program enrollment, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Baby Boomers are 21% more likely than the average adult to rent cars
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Vehicle rental and club enrollment, by generation, April 2009-June 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                      • High Requirers
                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                            • Basics
                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                  • Family Leisures
                                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Baby Boomer vacation clusters, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Essential vacation attributes, by Baby Boomer vacation clusters, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Foreign vacation attitudes, by Baby Boomer vacation clusters, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Booking method of most recent paid accommodations, by Baby Boomer vacation clusters, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Attributes important in vacation hotel, by Baby Boomer vacation clusters, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Baby Boomer vacation clusters, by gender, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Baby Boomer vacation clusters, by household income, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Baby Boomer vacation clusters, by race, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                        • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                            • White Baby Boomers more likely to take multiple domestic vacations
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Vacation history, Baby Boomers, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Median household income, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                              • Whites and Hispanic Baby Boomers most likely to relax in a natural setting, to spend quality time with friends/family
                                                                                                                                                                                • Black and Hispanic Boomers more likely to prefer familiar chain hotels
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Vacation preferences, Baby Boomers, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Demographic Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: U.S. population and share of Baby Boomers, by age, 2005-15
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: U.S. population share of Baby Boomers, by race/Hispanic origin, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: U.S. population and share of Baby Boomer households with children, by age of householder, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: U.S. population and share of Baby Boomers, by marital status, by age, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation types
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Past 12 month domestic vacation types, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Past 24 month foreign vacation types, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation history/frequency and expense
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Vacation history, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation essentials
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 66: Essential vacation attributes, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 67: Essential vacation attributes, Baby Boomers, by marital status and presence of children, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation ethics
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Foreign vacation attitudes, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation activities
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Past three-year vacation sports, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Past three-year vacation activities, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation roadblocks
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Factors impacting past three-year vacation plans, by gender, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 72: Reasons for not taking a vacation in the past 12 months, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 73: Financial issues impacting travel, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 74: Vacation cost-cutting measures, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation accommodations selection
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Attributes important in vacation hotel, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation preferences
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 76: Vacation preferences, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation companionship
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Vacation companionship, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Reservations and resources loyalty
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Family vacation research tools, by generation, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                • Vacation activities
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Past three-year vacation sports/activities, Baby Boomers, by marital status and presence of children, September 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                • Air Transport Association of America Inc., The
                                                                                                                                                                                • AirTran Holdings Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Alamo Rent a Car LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                • Alaska Air Group Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Aloha Air Group Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Amazon North America
                                                                                                                                                                                • American Automobile Association (AAA)
                                                                                                                                                                                • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)
                                                                                                                                                                                • American Society of Travel Agents
                                                                                                                                                                                • AMR Corporation (American Airlines)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                • Avis Budget Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Best Western International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Carnival Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • Choice Hotels International
                                                                                                                                                                                • Condé Nast Publications Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Continental Airlines Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Country Inns & Suites By Carlson
                                                                                                                                                                                • Cunard Line
                                                                                                                                                                                • Days Inns Worldwide Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Delta Air Lines, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Earthwatch Institute
                                                                                                                                                                                • Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company
                                                                                                                                                                                • Expedia Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Frontier Airlines Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Harley Davidson, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                • Hilton Hotels Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • Holland America Line Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Hyatt Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • Interactive Travel Services Association
                                                                                                                                                                                • InterContinental Hotels Group PLC
                                                                                                                                                                                • International Air Transport Association
                                                                                                                                                                                • J.D. Power and Associates
                                                                                                                                                                                • JetBlue Airways Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • La Quinta Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • Lonely Planet Publications
                                                                                                                                                                                • Make-A-Wish Foundation UK
                                                                                                                                                                                • Marriott International, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                                                                • Motel 6
                                                                                                                                                                                • MSN (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                • National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)
                                                                                                                                                                                • National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC)
                                                                                                                                                                                • National Tour Association (NTA)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Northwest Airlines Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
                                                                                                                                                                                • Orbitz Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Priceline.com Incorporated
                                                                                                                                                                                • Radisson Seven Seas Cruises Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                • Research In Motion (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Sandals Resorts
                                                                                                                                                                                • Southwest Airlines Co.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Spirit Airlines Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Hertz Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                • The New York Times Company
                                                                                                                                                                                • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
                                                                                                                                                                                • The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)
                                                                                                                                                                                • Thrifty Car Rentals
                                                                                                                                                                                • Travelocity.com L.P.
                                                                                                                                                                                • Travelzoo (Europe) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                • TripAdvisor LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                                                                • UAL Corporation (United Airlines)
                                                                                                                                                                                • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                                                                                                                • US Airways Group Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                • US Department of Commerce
                                                                                                                                                                                • USA Today
                                                                                                                                                                                • Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited
                                                                                                                                                                                • Walt Disney Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                                • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                Baby Boomers and Vacation - US - December 2010

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