It's no secret that much has changed over the past year, leaving many in the travel industry wondering how the needs of their groups have changed. Trends for baby boomers, one of the largest travel demographics, have been switched up in a few ways—straying from their normal travel behaviors and outlooks.
According to new AARP research, even with vaccines being distributed and eligibility expanding in many states, boomers are still concerned. Nearly half of boomers who plan to travel in 2021 still feel it's unsafe and say their travel depends on the availability of a vaccine.
However, the research indicates boomers saved the money they would have spent on travel in 2020 for future travel, while their younger counterparts (generation X and millennials) spent those funds on things like home improvement projects and takeout. Boomers will indeed travel in 2021, though they're projected to spend about $1,100 less and travel in ways different than their norm: prioritizing more domestic travel, road trips, traveling only with immediate family and avoiding crowded destinations.
Unsurprisingly, health concerns and travel restrictions are the demographic's top barriers to travel in 2021, though a small group of avid cruisers (about 13% of traveling baby boomers) say they plan to take a cruise in 2021, with 82% of that group having already booked their trip.
In order to provide peace of mind and a sense of confidence, boomers are looking for clear information on travel protocols and restriction information, along with fully refundable policies on tickets and reservations in the case their trip cannot proceed as originally planned.
Approximately half of boomers anticipating traveling in 2021 and most expressed feelings of being hopeful and excited about their potential adventures.
Some additional good news? Research shows the 46% of baby boomers who haven't yet planned travel for 2021 tend to be undecided if they'll hit the road again this year rather than dead set against traveling all together. Of those boomers who know they won't travel in 2021, 57% are still saving those funds for future travels.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.