How-to Market Guided Tours To Baby Boomers
"Lots of free time and disposable income, looking for adventure..." No, that's not a description of 20-somethings, that is the 50-74 year-old baby boomer demographic. Getting more bookings for your guided tour means knowing how to market to vibrant and tech savvy baby boomers. Here's how to do it using ThunderTix tour guide management software.
Booming Big Business
Getting more bookings is an ongoing challenge for all tour operators no matter what type tour. More bookings is a matter of successful marketing.
Success in marketing a guided tour often comes down to matching the target demographic with the activity type. But all too often, tours either under serve or mis-market a vast, untapped demographic - baby boomers. Statistically, a baby boomer is “a person who was born during the post-World War II between the years 1946 and 1964.”
Boomers are not content with preconceived notions of being "elderly" and pride themselves on maintaining an active lifestyle. Boomers also wield hefty financial clout and will spend liberally on activities that match their values. Analysts at Media Trend Watch published some eyebrow-raising numbers that should be of great interest to tour operators:
Boomers are set to control 70% of the disposable income in the US and they stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years. As they age out of the work force, 67% of Boomers plan to spend more time on their hobbies and interests, moving from a life dedicated to making money to one that is directed to spending money.
Those dollar amounts combined with all the free time retired baby boomers have, means that your guided activity could see substantial new bookings - but only when presented with the correct marketing.
The About.com dedicated section for baby boomers recently listed the various activities their readership enjoys. Of note are the types of guided tours, ones that could easily be mistaken as a list of 20-something’s favorites:
Adventure Tours - If you’re looking for an active vacation, an adventure tour might be right for you. Adventure tours usually include hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing or other strenuous activities.
Bicycling / Hiking / Horseback Riding Tours - Enjoy the pleasure of a day spent in the open air and the convenience of a tour. You can meet the whole group for dinner, and you won’t have to carry a heavy backpack all day long.
The entire About.com list includes non-adventurous tour types, of course, and all the activities listed are described as "types of tours to consider" by the Senior Travel website's editor.
Tech Savvy Seniors
Another misconception when marketing to seniors is that they are not using the Internet to discover new activities to enjoy. Along with the great pride in throwing off the conventions of age, boomers are far more tech savvy than one may think. A tour guide assuming the 50-74 set won't be using the latest smartphone or checking into locations on foursquare may be doing their business a major disservice, as seen in the video above.
Booking tours online is fast becoming the default method and spoken telephone reservations are fading away. However, today's always-on, always-connected world is not the exclusive domain of the younger generation. From the August 2012 Nielsenwire report:
There is no doubt that younger generations are the first to adopt new technologies, but once they go mainstream, it is the Boomers' adoption that is driving the real growth of technology. The Boomers have always embraced science and technology and are using today's internet-linked products to enrich their lives by staying connected, socializing, shopping and entertaining themselves...Savvy marketers can engage once they identify the types of technologies and social media most likely to be used by Boomers.
It is recommended that guided tour websites make online booking the default method and transition spoken telephone reservations to a secondary concern. The psychology of this recommendation is that baby boomers will perceive no option for booking online as being "for old people" - in an existential way - and may look elsewhere for a guided activity.
A previous post on marketing extreme adventurer tours recommended the booking process include visual queues that borrow from "rock concerts and the X-Games" as to create an urgent need to buy. Catering to the baby boomer demographic inside the guided tour management software should also make use of context sensitivity descriptive text and imagery.
ThunderTix Guided Tour Management Software
While you are re-thinking how to market your tour to baby boomers, that is a good time to re-think your choice in online booking software. Does it offer the tools to easily add descriptive text and photos? Does it help you book tours on your website and all the other websites baby boomers visit? If not, it may be time to switch.
ThunderTix guided tour management software has the tools to create a visually rich reservation experience, one that matches what tech savvy baby boomers expect.
Plus, we are well versed in the needs of tour operators. You need the tools that can keep pace with your busy schedule of daily tours and those tools must be able to adapt to special circumstances like a holiday rush. Our tour management technology lets you set at tour date and and time then propagate for every day of the year – all at once – no need to enter the same date and time over and over.