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AARP Services, Inc. and Focalyst Launch First Quarterly Boomer Report: Travel Trends Among the Baby Boom Generation and Beyond

WASHINGTON—Today, AARP Services and Focalyst released their first quarterly boomer report which focuses on the travel trends of baby boomers and others age 50+. This is the first in a series of reports tracking baby boomer trends through Focalyst—a joint venture of AARP Services Inc. and the Kantar Group specializing in research about baby boomers.

Focalyst’s first quarterly boomer report finds that “baby boomers” and “mature” consumers represent a sizable market for the travel industry. More than 81 million older adults are planning to travel in the next year and collectively, they plan to spend a total of $126 billion on their next trip alone. The Focalyst study, which surveyed 30,000 Americans, finds that one of the most lucrative segments of the 50+ population are boomers with children under the age of 18 living in the household. On average, these families take trips in the largest groups and their spending per trip was highest among all segments.

Other notable travel trends for boomer families:

  • 72% like to return to familiar places for their vacations;
  • More than one-third look forward to vacation as a time to just eat, drink and relax;
  • More than half are going on road trips rather than long distance vacations;
  • Overall, they steer clear of organized trips.

“This study confirms that boomers are traveling in large numbers and helps explain the interest in the AARP member travel products and discounts that are made available as benefits to our 39 million members,” said Adam Sohn AARP’s Associate Director of Member Value.

According to Heather Stern, Director of Marketing and Client Development for Focalyst, "Companies often focus on Boomer empty nesters but the fact is that many Boomers still have young children and are juggling the demands of work, home and potentially caregiving responsibilities. Unlike retirees, who often view their vacations as an exploration or opportunity to learn about a different culture, Boomer families are simply seeking rest and relaxation and are willing to pay more to achieve it."

Other segments the study analyzed were retirees, the highly affluent and single women, all of which had unique travel planning behaviors. But according to the study, over 90 percent of all respondents across all life stages expressed concerns about safety when traveling. These concerns go beyond post 9-11 fears of terrorism to include issues such as being within close distance to doctors, pharmacies and other medical facilities as well as avoiding extremely desolate destinations where communication with family is difficult.

The study also found that when it comes to airlines, hotels, motels and cruise lines, “boomers” and “matures” display very little brand loyalty with only 10 percent using the same company all the time. Interestingly, word-of-mouth marketing proved extremely effective as recommendations from friends and family were the number one most valued source of information among these groups when making travel plans. For a population of this size, marketers who are able to take advantage of the multiplier effect with satisfied customers will be very successful.

About AARP Services
AARP Services, Inc., founded in 1999, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AARP. AARP Services manages the wide range of products and services that are offered as benefits to AARP’s 39 million members. The offers span health products, travel and leisure products, and life event services. Specific products include Medicare supplemental insurance; member discounts on rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and lodging; special offers on technology and gifts; pharmacy services; legal services; and long-term care insurance. AARP Services founded AARP Financial Incorporated, a subsidiary that manages AARP-endorsed financial products including AARP Funds; AARP Services develops new products, manages and markets products and services, creates and maintains partnership and sponsorship relationships, and develops and manages AARP’s award-winning Web site, AARP.org.

About Focalyst:
New York-based Focalyst (www.focalyst.com) is a joint venture of AARP Services, Inc. and The Kantar Group, the research, insight and consultancy arm of WPP. The company specializing in research is a leading source of information about Baby Boomers and older consumers, providing forward-looking research and strategic consulting to marketers, advertisers, researchers and brand managers across a wide range of industries. Boomer travel trends are one of many subjects that Focalyst studied in its landmark research of Boomers and beyond. Comprehensive findings are covered in the recently released Focalyst View report.

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