Who’s Your Travel Customer?

The boom may be over for boomers as far as travel is concerned, but travel agents can focus on the Generation Y crowd during this recession. That’s the trend seen by PhocusWright’s Consumer Travel Report, which also reported that the total U.S. travel market will decline 11 percent in 2009, returning the industry to pre-2006 levels.

“Twenty-five to 34-year-olds are spending the most per household on travel and 18- to 34-year-olds are significantly more likely than older age groups to indicate that they plan to travel more this year," PhoCusWright says. "While boomers are commonly described as the wealthiest generation, the 45-64 age group is spending the least per household on travel and is also the most likely to reduce travel spend this year.”

For home-based agents, this will require a change in marketing strategy. Younger clients respond to a different approach, and suddenly viral marketing, Twitter, Facebook and other online tools become even more critical. Cooler, hipper destinations will draw them as well. While your boomers will still be looking for bargains on cruises and Disney, you may have to be more creative in coming up with vacation destinations for the Gen Y crowd. They’re not as worried about their dwindling retirement plans, kids’ college tuition or the mortgage crisis, so they’re willing to let loose with the dollars to escape all the bad news around them.

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