In Generational Marketing

In our blog series, A New Age In Travel, we’ve focused on Generation Z and how they fit into the marketing landscape of the travel and hospitality industries. In this third and final edition, we’re looking at how to effectively communicate with this up-and-coming travel segment, as well as the generations before it.

multiple generations age ranges

You wouldn’t use the same verbiage and tone during a face-to-face conversation with a 25-year-old and a 70-year-old. So why do brands have a tendency to deliver messages in just one way? Think about this: Who are you trying to market to, what moves that target audience to action, what will catch their eye and how should you be reaching them? The answer varies for each generational group. Even within generations you may encounter differing preferences.

Light a fire

When targeting multiple generations, it’s important to consider what motivates each demographic to purchase. In terms of the travel industry, here are the key triggers and tips on how to leverage them:

Generation Z

  • Most still vacation with their parents, but don’t discount them—Gen Z kids have a lot of influence over their families’ travel plans. (According to the Cassandra Report, 93% of parents say that their Gen Z children have an impact on household spending and purchases.)
  • Make it known that there are plenty of activity options that allow them to be independent (think teen or kids’ programs).
  • This is the generation of “pictures or it didn’t happen,” so showcase snap-worthy backdrops and mouth-watering food in marketing efforts.
  • They prefer “snackable content” like memes, interactive infographics and videos, which means social media platforms like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram are your best bets for reaching this generation.


  • They are at a prime age for travel—most are financially independent and look at taking vacations as a way to reward themselves for their hard work.
  • Loyalty programs and a good deal are highly valued, so give them incentives to book.
  • Posting photos on social media is important—make sure they know there are worthwhile things to capture at your property.
  • Facebook is generally considered their choice social media platform, but many feel that it displays too much information and takes up too much of their time. This leads to a tendency to skim the site rather than really absorb content, so making your advertising stand out is vital. (However, does note that Facebook offers that are redeemable at local businesses tend to have the most success with this demographic.)
  • Peer recommendations are important, so making sure you have a strong presence on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp is key. (Read our tips for responding to online reviews.)

Generation X

  • They’re likely to be traveling with family and footing the bill—target them by appealing to their interests and those of their loved ones.
  • Their spending power is high: According to Shullman Pulse, approximately 64% of “upscale” Gen Xers—which equates to about 4 million adults—have a net worth over $1 million. (Overall, “upscale” Gen Xers account for about 10% of their generation.)
  • “Mass market” Xers, aka those that don’t fit the “upscale” profile, have higher-than-average incomes than their Baby Boomer and Millennial counterparts.
  • Saving is important, but they’re still willing to spend on travel.
  • Show them that they can get the most bang for their buck at your property.

Baby Boomers

  • A large portion are retired, which means they’ve got time to travel and want to experience new things.
  • Those that aren’t retired still value new experiences and getting away for leisure trips.
  • They like to be informed and do research before purchasing.
  • Target them in advertisements by featuring people their age.
  • They’re more tech-savvy than you might think, but many of them still like having the ability to book over the phone.
  • Boomers are also more likely to book based on a referral, so consider creating a program that lets them benefit from spreading the word about your property.

Watch your language

Phraseology is important to consider. Younger generations will respond to more digitally-focused buzzwords and abbreviations—think hashtags and acronyms like “FOMO”—while older generations, like Gen X and Baby Boomers, may not quite understand (or appreciate) this lingo.

Along with words marketers should use, there are words that are distinct “don’ts” for certain groups. A prime example: using “old,” “senior,” “elderly” and “aged” when communicating with Baby Boomers—they don’t want to be reminded of their age. Similarly, younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, resent feeling like marketers “dumb down” content to reach them—they’re smarter and savvier than they’re often given credit for.

Deliver on dreams

Younger and older generations have all jumped on the “bucket list” bandwagon, but it’s the Baby Boomers that are most enthusiastic about these lists—they have the most spending power and, typically, the most time, as many of them are in their retirement years. And when it comes to “bucket list” items, travel is usually at the top of the list.

But just because Boomers are most able to embark on these trips and activities doesn’t mean marketers shouldn’t appeal to the younger generations as well. When it comes to Millennials and Gen Z, they’re already dreaming about these once-in-a-lifetime trips and experiences. So even if their ability to take part isn’t immediate, now is the time to plant the seed of “this is what you can do” or “where you can go.” Give them gorgeous photos to post on their “bucket list” Pinterest boards and know that they’re trying to find a way to make that dream a reality.

This concludes our three-part series on Generation Z. We hope you’ve found this deep dive eye-opening and invaluable. If you’d like to learn more about this up-and-coming travel segment, reach out to Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or

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