A ‘Boomer’ Travel Checklist for Independent Hotels

Boomer Traveler

As COVID-19 vaccines roll out, the tourism industry is injected with optimism. Soon, safer travel will see the return of guests who, we may add, are in desperate need of a vacation! An impending travel boom will be led by the Boomers, according to G Adventures. In the western world, this generation of retirees between the ages of 57 to 75 will be among the first to receive their vaccines.

Is your hotel ready for a post-pandemic Boomer travel boom?

Whether senior travelers are the first to return to travel in droves or not, the Boomer generation is an important demographic because of their disposable income, free time, and desire to travel in comfort. Here’s our checklist to ensure your hotel is attractive to Boomer guests during the pandemic and beyond.

>> Mobile-Optimized Website – Don’t make the mistake that Boomers are technologically challenged beyond rotary phones and fax machines. According to Wordstream, Boomers spend more on flashy mobile devices than any other generation. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile, with a responsive online booking engine that works well on tablets, phones, and desktop.

>> Clear and Simplified Pre-arrival Messaging – From web content to booking confirmation emails, ensure your pre-arrival messaging is easy to digest and uncluttered. Not only is this appreciated by Boomers, but other time-obsessed generations appreciate streamlined, to-the-point content as well. 

>> Value Adds – Boomers have worked hard all their lives and now, retired, they’re looking for a slice of luxury in the form of value over discounts. A coupon for 10% off is much less appealing than a bottle of wine brought to their room on arrival. During the booking process, offer value-added packages and add-ons like spa, tour, and dining packages. You can also offer upsells to your guests in confirmation and pre-arrival emails.

>> In-room Extras – In addition to value-adds, in-room extras serve to ‘surprise and delight’ your hotel guests. While newspapers, bottled water, and in-room coffee may seem like extras to other generations, these are expected by Boomers. Go one step further for your senior guests with upgraded coffee and tea, sparkling water, and a handwritten welcome card addressing guests by name. Boomers also appreciate spa robes and slippers (available to purchase new at the front desk!).

Level up: go one step further with in-room gift baskets filled with local treats, in-room movies with room-service popcorn and snacks, complimentary cocktails delivered to the room on arrival, flat-rate mini-bar, and drop-off turn-down service (such as chocolate and tea delivered to the room).

>> Impeccable Housekeeping – Before you add the extras, ensure your Boomer’s guest room is impeccable. While they’ll probably leave their white gloves at home, if your hotel is dusty, this generation will notice. Use integrated housekeeping software to manage room upkeep and guest expectations. 

>> Respectful, Polite and Friendly Staff – Even more than other generations, Boomers appreciate (and expect) respect. This translates to well-mannered valets, friendly housekeeping, and polite front-desk staff. Ensure your employees at every guest touchpoint are well-versed on how to treat guests. Boomers are your ticket to word-of-mouth recommendations and excellent customer service will put your hotel on their lips.

>> Real People – While most Boomers are technically savvy these days, as a general rule, this generation prefers to talk to real people versus searching for answers on an FAQ page or email. Display your customer service number in your emails, on your website, and all marketing materials. You needn’t worry about being inundated with phone calls since other generations prefer online communication. 

>> Marketing – Make sure Boomers know you’re ready for them through marketing initiatives that are targeted to them. This generation is well-versed in Facebook and is most receptive to ads on this platform, especially if the content is relevant to them. You can get very targeted with your ads on Facebook, zeroing in on age group, location, and interests. 

Baby Boomers are also receptive to email marketing, as long as it is personalized. Use your PMS and CRM to cultivate guest loyalty by reaching out to previous guests to welcome them back with targeted offers. Encourage word-of-mouth recommendations by asking previous guests to forward your email to a friend for some small incentive such as a thank-you discount, free drink during their next stay, or loyalty program perks. 

If it’s in your budget, digital ads such as Google Ads can get you on top of search results, depending on who you’re bidding against for search terms. Bing is a less competitive option. As the default search engine on Microsoft desktops, it’s largely favored by Boomers. Expect more bang for your buck on pay-per-click ads here. 

Don’ts: Boomers don’t appreciate pushy pitches, so leave your SMS marketing for your younger Gen-Z and Millennial guests.

Whether Baby Boomers are the first to return to travel in a big way following COVID-19 restrictions or not, they will remain a significant demographic for your hotel. Boomers are retired and ready to travel, so check your efforts to ensure they contribute their highly accumulated disposable income to your hotel. They’ll reward you with brand loyalty, repeat visits, and word-of-mouth recommendations. 

So, what do you think? Are Boomers banging on your hotel door? Or do you anticipate a different demographic to lead the return to travel? Let us know on social media @webrezpro. 

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Pre-arrival Messaging During COVID-19

10 Ways to Attract Guests During COVID-19

Maintaining the Human Touch in a Touch-free World