Travel Research

Baby Boomers use hotel loyalty programs more than other age groups

a building with domes and a tree

Hotel News Now has a short article on Baby Boomers Travel Trends with some Phocuswright insights I find interesting when comparison this age cohort with other groups.

Baby boomers are the generation around 55 to 75 years.

Perhaps what intrigues me is the difference I see in travel among baby boomers, the generational cohort my wife and I find ourselves living in.

Many of our friends around our age are focused on their grandchildren, which may contribute to understanding baby boomer preferences with regard to travel.

Less International Travel

  • Baby boomers are less likely to travel internationally than any other generational group.
  • One of the factors cited is baby boomers travel to see friends and family. (Many of our friends our age plan travel time to visit their young grandchildren. Not an issue for Kelley and me.)

More Spend on Travel

  • Baby boomers are more likely to spend over $1,000 per trip than other age groups. (This is about our average trip expense, excluding airfare.)
  • Almost 50% of Baby boomers spend an average $3,000 per year on travel. This is more than any other generational group. (I take about 6 to 8 trips per year covering 70-90 days. About half of my travel is with my wife. Our annual travel spend is around $8,000 to $10,000.)

More likely to stay in 3 and 4 Star Hotels

  • Baby boomers are more likely to stay in 3 and 4 star hotels than other generational groups.
  • (This fits my profile exactly. Nearly all my stays are 4 star hotels with several 3 star and some 5 star hotels. I have not yet tried Airbnb, primarily due to not having yet found a deal I thought would be better value. Nearly all my paid hotel stays earn a rebate in points I can use to reduce the cost of a future hotel night.)

Boomers are more likely to participate in loyalty programs

Baby boomers are more likely to have used a hotel loyalty program for their last stay than any other generational group. Boomers are most likely to belong to two or more frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.

Loyalty Traveler Travels

I stayed 79 nights in Europe and 7 nights in the USA in 2017 for about $4,000. Every hotel night I stayed was a chain hotel in a major loyalty program. I plan each hotel night of my travels with the purpose of earning and burning for the best value I can find for my destination location.

My most recent trip to London, Prague and Copenhagen was designed to earn 10,000 Wyndham Rewards points on 2 stays in London and Prague, earn one free Marriott MegaBous reward night with two stays in London and Copenhagen, earn 5,000 Choice Privileges bonus points with one paid night, redeem a Club Carlson Free Friday night at the upper upscale Radisson Blu Alcron Prague from a promotion credit I earned on last summer’s trip to Amsterdam and London and redeem Club Carlson points for a 3-night hotel stay at Park Inn Prague over New Year’s Eve long weekend when hotel rates were over $200 per night at the few hotels actually bookable in the city.

2017 Year-In-Review

  • Best Western 5 nights.
  • Choice Privileges 16 nights.
  • Club Carlson 24 nights.
  • Hilton Honors 5 nights.
  • World of Hyatt 4 nights.
  • IHG Rewards Club 11 nights.
  • Marriott Rewards 5 nights.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest 2 nights.
  • Wyndham Rewards 14 nights.
  • 55 reward nights
  • 31 paid nights

Loyalty Traveler 2017 in Review: 86 hotel nights in 9 programs

I used 2016 and 2017 to transition from American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite I held in 2015 and 2016 and AA Platinum for 2017 to earn Star Alliance Aegean Silver elite in 2017 and earn most of the elite miles I need for Aegean/Star Alliance Gold elite membership. I am one round trip flight to Europe away from reaching Aegean Gold elite.

2017 Flights in Review $3,870 for 95,647 miles on 16 airlines in 16 countries through 26 airports

My next trip is Florida for a first time road trip to Key West. Plan on a little sunshine state warmth before heading off to windy winter Amsterdam in a few weeks.

Grandkids? Not a concern in my travels.

Needy cats in the house and a wife who likes my cooking in Monterey are the souls who keep me in country these days instead of being more of a world rambler.

Sense cathedral view
Sveti Aleksandar Nevski/Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Sofia, Bulgaria seen from the top floor bar at Sense, a Starwood Design Hotel.

1 Comment

  • Henry January 21, 2018

    As a baby boomer who reads boardingarea bloggers for fun and the rare opportunity to learn something that I did not already know, the results of any survey are quite situational. Yes, visits to grandchildren do place a focus yet there are many international trips, 5 star plus hotels with suite upgrades, and suite class cruises both transatlantic and transpacific where most of the clientele are baby boomers. Thanks for sharing this as it is always good to know that you don’t fit the norm.

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