The Next Economic Wave Will Propel the Travel Industry Skyward

I’m a baby boomer so I have a natural interest in this group. However, there are reasons why a whole lot of other people should be interested in this population. They have driven the U.S. economy for many years and will continue to do so in various fields for at least a couple more decades. Travel is the next industry that boomers will revive and transform, so gear up for some serious growth.1) Nearly 86% of baby boomers were born in the U.S., and the states with the highest population of boomers are: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Some boomers will traverse their home states first as they reach retirement; others will immediately launch into broad national and international travel.2) One baby boomer is retiring every eight seconds (that’s 10,000 per day), for the next 19 years. Many of these retirees will have the time and money to travel at their whim.3) 73% of all United State’s households are online and 82% of U.S. travelers. Boomers are taking advantage of what the internet offers in a huge way. They tend to use big portal sites and do things like their banking and shopping online. They will increasingly be driving the travel market.4) Half of all spending comes from people currently between ages 45 and 63, yet this segment is being largely ignored by many marketers. We should see only growth for the travel industry for at least the next 20 years. This means a travel agent could literally bypass the younger demographic for the next couple of decades and still have an extremely thriving business.5) Try to wrap your brain around this projection: Over 80,000,000 baby boomers are planning on a significant vacation in the next year. Collectively, that travel should total something in the neighborhood of $125 billion. And, as more and more boomers retire and devote, perhaps, months each year to world travel, it is difficult to imagine how much money will gush into the travel industry.6) Word of mouth and social networking will be huge among this demographic. In other words, boomers will base when, where, motivation, and mode of travel largely on what friends, relatives, acquaintances, and online bloggers have to say.7) Boomers want fun, adventure, activity, and excellent, knowledgeable service. One demographic will go after rustic, challenging “reality” travel adventures. Another demographic will pay for luxury, convenience, creature comforts, and the best travel packages available. Though boomers don’t make up one homogenous strata, they do gravitate to others from their generation.8) One demographic that has been somewhat ignored in the retirement age range is percentage of Europeans reaching age 65. This could be called Europe’s “silver” or boom population. By 2020, 730 million avid travelers may be circling the globe from this continent.9) What are some of boomers’ general travel interests? Lauraday Kelly of says that this group likes family, cruise, and spa vacations. Of course, some like roughing it and will pay for sporty adventure. Many will take religious pilgrimages to the Middle East, Rome, biblical locations. Boomers comparison-shop by telephone or internet, and they like economical, all-inclusive packages. If they find a travel agent or expert who can give them what they’re looking for, they will stick with that person or company.One prime conclusion we can draw from all this is that, though many brick and mortar travel agencies have shut down, there is no way that the travel agent profession is headed anywhere near extinction, at least for a few more decades. Millions of internet users will want advice, suggestions, and booking plans implemented by helpful and knowledgeable agents of all specialties.