Generation X is often called the “Lost Generation” - caught between Baby Boomers, who view using a travel agent as a given, and Millennials, who often turn to social media. Travel Agent spoke with expert agents, many Gen-Xers themselves, for this Special Report on what makes these travelers tick. We've looked at Gen-X versus Millennial travelers and top Gen X travel stats -- now we break down the differences between recently single and still-married Gen-Xers.
Many of the agents Travel Agent spoke with say Generation X clients can be divided into two groups: recently single or heading toward a major wedding anniversary. Rene’ Fifik, owner of On Your Way With Rene’, an agency located just outside of Cleveland that specializes in family travel, says many recently single Gen-Xers aren’t necessarily just seeking to meet someone or looking to party, but rather they are more interested in taking those trips that perhaps they weren’t allowed to take when they were married.
Fifik also says many such singles vacations include niche-oriented getaways as golf vacations to Punta Cana or fishing trips to Costa Rica. But even those groups of recently divorced Xers who want to celebrate their newfound freedom are still looking for something unique and not just international speed dating.
“They want to do something different and resorts are listening,” says Nicki Squittieri of Chicago’s Legacy Travel. “A great example of this is the Divorce Party Package that the Grand Velas Riviera Maya offers. Girls are booking the Presidential Suite at this all-inclusive resort to celebrate the next chapter in their life. This package includes a girls spa day and even a ring burial ceremony.”
As for those still-married clients, Fifik says many of them are approaching a significant marital milestone they wish to celebrate in style.
“Most of my clients are around the 38-year-old range,” says Fifik. “What I’m finding is that a lot of them that are still married are approaching milestone anniversaries — 10th, 15th anniversaries. For Gen-Xers, anniversary trips are really big right now.”
|“Italy is always a popular destination,” says Jill Taylor, who also notes that “Africa is on the radar now.”|
Jill Taylor of Jet Set World Travel, Inc. in Chicago, says celebration travel in general is hot for the Generation X client.
“We book a lot of 10th anniversary trips and 40th/50th birthday trips,” says Taylor. “Typically, we have done their honeymoons and have been organizing their travel for many years, so we know them and get to be a part of their major life celebrations. We really want our clients to work with us over the course of their lives and now we are getting their parents as clients as well and doing more multigenerational travel.”
And although a divorce isn’t typically considered Celebration Travel, Taylor says there is a growing trend of women who want to make the best out of an otherwise difficult time in their lives.
“There seems to be a focus on wellness travel to destination spas such as Miraval and Body Holiday,” says Taylor. “We see more women travelers who are going on small trips with their girlfriends or even alone. I love helping to plan the divorce celebration trips where clients are wanting a new beginning and to take care of themselves.”
But when they aren’t celebrating a milestone, they simply want to enjoy what they couldn’t before, says Stephen Scott, owner and CEO of Travel Hub 365, an independent contractor of First in Service Travel, based in New York City.
“The married Gen-Xers look to build upon their family vacation experiences, or college trips they took years ago,” says Scott. “Now they want to experience what they couldn’t do when they were younger, and show themselves and the world that they can now experience nicer things thanks to higher incomes.”
And what about those who simply never got married?
“I have a nice little group that has never been married and they are some of my most quirky clients,” says Heather Christopher of Classic Travel in Woodbridge, VA. “They never know what they want — I tend to do more research for them than anyone else, possibly because they have no one they really trust to bounce ideas off of or maybe it’s because they can do whatever they want.
“Mine are picky about bedding and about food and beverage,” Christopher adds. “What always comes to mind is this lady who will only stay at a hotel that offers Pepsi products. They are willing to hop into any groups we have pre-planned, will spend good money without over-analyzing it and tend to do the same thing over and over once they figure out what they like. A male client of mine, once I got him on a cruise won’t do anything else. They also are the most generous with their time with me. They aren’t in a rush and are patient.”
Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for the rest of our Gen-X Travelers Special Report.