• Declan Trifunovic

Reaching The Baby Boomer

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In the 25th session of Survive and Revive, Richard invited Wendy Harch, the Chief Commercial Officer of Travel at 60, to find out about what the Baby Boomer market will be looking for once it's safe to travel. Travel at 60 is a division of Starts at 60. This media and community site receives over one million visitors to its website each month. It provides the Baby Boomer market with news and important information about money, health, and travel. In May 2020, Travel at 60 conducted a 2-day survey of its members about their thoughts and intentions towards travelling in the near future, and in this session, Wendy revealed these illuminating results.

Who Are The Baby Boomers?

Broadly, the Baby Boomer market can be classified as people born between the years of 1946 and 1964. However, as Wendy describes it, Starts at 60 views this market in a much more detailed manner, with ages ranging anywhere from 54 years old upwards, and segmented by 14 different lifecycle stages. It's no secret that this market has the potential to be a lucrative one, accounting for 25% of all Australians in 2020, and perhaps more importantly, holding 50% of the nation's total wealth, and 46% of its disposable income. Another interesting aspect of this market is how minimally they were affected by the COVID pandemic. Research indicates that due to many members of this market being retired, owning their own homes, and often having investments, their financial position is relatively unchanged by the massive economic upheaval the nation has recently experienced.

Wendy also revealed one crucial factor that every brand that markets to this market should consider is that this market particularly dislikes brands depicting them as old, technophobic, and interestingly, as their actual age. Research indicates that most people view themselves as, on average, 14 years younger than they are. It, therefore, suggests that if you plan on targeting 75 year olds, it would be best to include 60 year olds in your advertisement instead, as this better matches your target audience’s self-aspirations.

The Results Are In - Baby Boomer Travelling Intentions

Starts at 60’s recent survey of 1,500 members about their target market’s travelling intentions, thoughts, and behaviours yielded some interesting results, as follows:

1. How many websites do they use when researching travel? – A 2015 research paper by Expedia indicated that on average, people look at 38 different websites before booking their trip. However, Starts at 60’s survey revealed that 53% of their market visit between only 4 and 9 websites. It indicates that this market is more likely to be trusting of a smaller number of brands, rather than being highly scrutinous of many different brands. It suggests that the key with this market is to become one of those few trusted brands, and thus it is essential to differentiate based on a sense of trust, community, and belonging.

2. How many people plan to travel within Australia in 2020 and 2021? – Travel at 60’s survey revealed that 72% of Baby Boomers would want to travel domestically within Australia in 2020, with that number increasing to 92% in 2021.

3. How many people plan to travel overseas in 2020 and 2021? – Unsurprisingly, nobody was looking towards overseas travel in 2020. However, in 2021 the results indicated that 55% were already planning to travel overseas, with 27% saying they would, but only to New Zealand. It looks like New Zealand will likely become a big market in the near future for Australian Baby Boomers. At the same time, further away overseas destinations will also likely become popular further into 2021 and beyond.

4. How many people plan to cruise in 2020 and 2021? – Previously, cruising accounted for 60% of sales at Travel at 60. However, this survey indicated that 86% of people said they would not cruise domestically in 2020, and in 2021 only 13% said yes, with 31% being unsure. Regarding international cruising, this number slightly went up for the 2021 period.

5. What changes would make you want to cruise again? – For 41% of respondents, there was absolutely nothing that could make them decide to cruise again. However, the next best answer with 34% of results highlighted that improvements to health and risk management would make them want to cruise again, followed by good deals and great prices.

6. What are the market's thoughts about sanitisation and health practices? – Unsurprisingly, 80% of respondents said these factors would be critical in their decisions, and 0% said they were not at all important.

Wendy believes the results highlighted by this survey will be an essential guide for both giving hope to travel businesses, and also providing them with direction for what practices they can implement to attract sales in 2020 and beyond, and how they can communicate these changes to their audience.

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