Monday, November 17, 2008

The Ideal Boomer Vacation: Cooking Classes in Tuscany?

With Baby Boomers retrenching from the recession and the shrinkage of their retirement savings, they may not be spending as lavishly on vacations as they used to. All the more reason for tourism destinations to refine their product and their marketing spiel to appeal to Boomer sensitivities.

Writing on TwinCities.com, Debra O'Connor does a great job of capturing the new zeitgeist. Boomers don't go on vacation to relax, she says. They go on vacation to experience things. That's not to say there's no market for chilling out by the beach and plowing through a bookshelf of trashy novels. But Boomers are far more desirous of immersing themselves in a local culture, challenging themselves physically or learning something new.

Among the vacations that Boomers like to take:

Adventure: Exotic destinations and/or physically challenging activities

Midlife odyssey: Jump-starting a personal or professional change via arduous circumstances, which may include fasting or a spiritual journey, such as a hike across the Sinai Desert

Education: Constantly upgrading their knowledge; for example, lectures on board a cruise ship and scholarly tours of the Vatican

Experiential: Cooking classes in Tuscany, bungee-jumping in New Zealand, grape-stomping in Napa Valley

Volunteer opportunities: "Voluntourism" ranging from helping the poor in Peru for weeks to spending a few days helping to restore a church in Provence

Luxury: On cruises, that means smaller ships with concierges and staterooms with balconies; in the woods or on safari, it's "glamping" — glamour camping — staying in tents that have maid service

(Image credit: Organic Tuscany.)

1 comment:

handsupholidays said...

Great article!
Interestingly, voluntourism hits many of these themes:
- Experiential (meaningful interaction with local people)
- Adventure (your trip can include rafting, trekking, mountain biking)
- Volunteer opportunities - boomers have much to contribute
- Luxury - with Hands Up Holidays (www.handsupholidays.com) you can travel and volunteer in luxury!

I set up Hands Up Holidays to make it easy for people to have amazing volunteer travel experiences: trips which blend eco-sightseeing with a taste of volunteering.
We focus on small group and tailor-made adventures, and all of our volunteer projects have been designed so that you can make a positive impact in just 3-5 days.
All our trips are carbon offset on your behalf.
All our trips will depart with just two people booking; and we can tailor-make a trip for your exact requirements!
Come and join us for a volunteer travel adventure that counts!

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.