4 Things Tour Operators Can Do to Appeal to Baby Boomers

By Samantha Scott
December 14, 2017

Travelers who fit into the bucket of “50+” or “senior” are in fact one of the fastest growing demographics in terms of guided tour takers. Baby boomers and older, these travelers seek experiential travel, but with a high degree of comfort.

As time goes on, this group is becoming more and more web savvy. Searching online has become less of a barrier to entry for baby boomers and seniors finding their next travel experience.

For tour operators who satisfy this niche, however, being found against the noise and volume of tour operators available can be a challenge.

Here are our top tips for attracting older travelers:

1. Inspire trust

User reviews and squeaky clean business profiles

Cute dog

Older people typically don’t like giving their information to the internet. Make sure you have stellar reviews, check your Yelp profile, BBB, and ATTA presence. Additionally being listed on a site like Stride, which offer third party reviews and the ability to compare with similar operators is one of the best tactics for remaining in customers good graces.

The reality is, unfavorable reviews happen. It’s unfortunate but nearly unavoidable in a consumer facing industry like guided tourism; and you can’t please everybody. Especially for older travelers, who like things a certain way, the smallest misstep can lead to great dissatisfaction.

If you end up with a bad review on sites like Facebook, Yelp, or Reviews.io that allow you to respond - taking the initiative to do so, extend a sincere apology and attempting to resolve the issue goes a very long way.

2. Write with seniors in mind

Honest detailed descriptions for seasoned travelers

Fountain Pen

Inclusion is important when considering attracting older travelers. Blanket statements won’t cut it. They want to feel as though their needs and interests specifically are being addressed. This is especially important in how your itinerary and tour inclusions / exclusions are presented. Your writing for a more seasoned traveler - a traveler who knows what to look for and what they want based on experience.

Happy seniors on guided tour in Europe

Honest descriptions of what the accommodations are like, the amount of walking each day entails (and the kind of terrain - too many cobblestones are hard on knees, feet, and hips!), as well as what to expect from meals are all important factors. Sometimes the “local” experiences so coveted by today’s younger travelers mean being a little uncomfortable in the name of authenticity. Consider this when designing and describing itineraries.

3. Work with Boomer Travel Bloggers

Self fulfilling prophecy

Senior woman on hiking trip

Working with influencers like boomer travel bloggers can be a hugely beneficial step toward recognition online among older active travelers. This can be huge for attracting the appropriate audience to your trips.

And working with bloggers, especially well known bloggers, is a two-fold benefit. When search engines shows search results, they are based on a complex algorithm of relevancy. One of these factors is links into your site from other relevant sources. Boomer bloggers provide the perfect niche!

Here are some of our favorite Boomer Bloggers:

4. Be active on social media

Let it work with you not against you

social media

Social media remains a divisive topic among the older generations, but the fact remains that a rapidly growing cohort of baby boomers and seniors are using these platforms.

(And even if they’re not, some savvy target marketing could put you in front of their kids - maybe even inspire them to gift mom and dad a trip, or book a multi-gen group!).

Senior couple on walk in Ireland

Being active on social media doesn’t mean necessarily adapting to a young vernacular. This is another opportunity to communicate in ways that your target audience will appreciate.

Minimize hashtag usage, or references to obscure memes. Additionally younger users of social media are into scannability and quick hits. Older users are often more interested in longer articles and will take the time to read in depth pieces.

Are you a supplier not yet listed on Stride? Go here to join the worlds largest search and reviews site for multiday tours, professionally planned travel, and adventrue trips.

Read traveler and expert reviews for 50+ tour operators »

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