21 September 2010

Baby Boomers & Travel Companies & Irony

Recently there was a item from a trusted source about a new travel company targeting Baby Boomers.  I’m not linking to it because I wasn’t impressed. Dull and lifeless stuff.  Just add it to the invisible list of the same old same old.

A day or so later I stumbled upon another news story about a travel company targeting twenty/thirty-somethings.
The irony for me: The latter company has a good site, good copy – and with tweaking of their offers and philosophy would be a great model for targeting Baby Boomers.

That one I’ll link to.  In a minute.

I’ve been writing and speaking about this subject for years.  From January 2004 (get out your magnifying glass or skip it):

The article was expanded for a chapter in my book (©2005, 2007).  Excerpts:

Pouncing Mouses
      Many sociologists and futurists are predicting a few more radical social and political upheavals triggered by Baby Boomerbefore were packed off in coffins and urns, sprinkled over mystical mountains and mundane golf courses, or blasted into outer space so we can eternally commune with the cosmos.

advbbcoverOn  the other end of the spectrum, we’ll also be revolutionizing the  tourist industry for the  next  thirty years, taking hundreds of millions more vacations before the ultimate holiday. Travel companies are having big problems trying to figure out what to offer—and how to reach us. Were not lining up on docks for meaningless cruises on silly ships, nor are we allowing ourselves to be bundled into cookie- cutter cavalcades so we can gawk at decaying castles from the lumpy seats of double-decker buses. Nobody is going to tell us what a vacation is. We’ll tell you.
Theres a cottage industry out there preying on the blubbery and frightened tourist industry, making wild guesses as  to  what Baby Boomers will want to do with all our free time. I wont list them all here. They range from ecologically correct junkets to health-nut boot camps to intellectually and culturally themed excursions to the beating down of well-publicized, well-traveled “unbeaten paths.

This book deals with advertising to Baby Boomers, but I’ll over- step my bounds and propose a business model: Boomers  are internet- savvy. Boomers  are not passive. We do not want to simply  slap one key and have  our  vacation  pop up on a  screen. We want to rattle lots of keys, have our mouses pounce and bite off appetizing chunks of graphic and description from all sorts of sources––and build unique, variegated vacations.

Some smart dot-com entrepreneur will partner with thousands of travel companies, resorts, hotels, museums, airlines, car rental companies, and build a modular travel and reservation website. Myriad tempting experiences will be offered. The website will calculate the price of each activity, cataloguing and coordinating everything. It will be a package you fill with goodies.

Planning it will be half the fun, and immediately entice and involve the site visitor. For a few days you’ll be lying on a beach. The next day you’ll travel to a large city and take in whatever sights you wish, perhaps joining a guided tour. In the morning you’ll be driving to a tennis resort for a day or two. After that will come a scenic road trip to a local winery for a prearranged private tour. Keep driving, and you’ll check into a secluded lodge, and hike in the mountains for a few days. Then  youre off visiting another city in another country, mostly to just goof around. Finally, check in your car, hop on a train, and before long youre naked and slumping into a vat of hot mud at a famous health spa, followed by a shower and reservations at a five- star restaurant.

30                                       Advertising to Baby Boomers

You could even spend an afternoon in lumpy seats on a double- decker bus if you want.

Possible Copy/Campaigns:
We dont tell you what a vacation is. You tell us.
Package your own vacation.
The unPackaged Packaged Vacation
Tell us what a vacation is. Then take it.

And there have been a slew of posts. Just a few:
My Favorite Cyber-Myth (2005)
How I snicker and roll my eyes whenever I read about Baby Boomers fumbling around on computers, scratching their heads, totally flummoxed.
Cookie-Cutter Cavalcades (2009)
If you spend too much time rocking on the front porch, will your brain droop into autopilot? One antidote for this is educational travel …
Travelers Angry with Web (2009)
NostraChuckus was sure the online travel biz would make things easier and easier, more fun and more fun – where one of the best parts of a trip would be planning it. 
Here’s the travel company for twenty/thirty-somethings:
image All our tours are flexible and give you free time every day. So you’ll have plenty of time to do your own thing. We also give you plenty of great ideas (and prices) with our Explore More optional activities.

Like to mix it up? Keep it simple one night & a little more spectacular the next? Budget tours give you a chance to stay in everything from cabins, hostels to hotels & even a 16th century French chateau.
Sounds like tons of fun to me – very close to my version of a perfect travel service for Baby Boomers.  Pick and choose, pick and choose.

image The PDF brochures are a bit busy for my eyes (they’re not for my eyes) – but wow.  I’m excited.  Download or view a couple:
contiki ebrochures
So where’s the travel company with variety and oodles of pizazz for Baby Boomers?

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