As generations collide, will the travel industry adapt or overreact?
How will a distinct difference in generations affect the travel industry, asks a story at Delaware Online. The Baby Boomers and Generation X are at a crossroads when it comes to travel ability and interests, and just one can emerge victorious, while the other must be pummeled into submission.
Ok, it’s not that dramatic, but it is interesting. We are at the cusp of a generational switchover, and those generations have much different tastes and interests.
On one side, you have the Baby Boomers who tend to go for the more classical, opulent style of luxury and travel. On the other side, you have the Gen X’ers, who enjoy being pampered, provided there are ATVs and Internet connections involved. It has the travel industry at the beginnings of a quandary.
“It’s a little bit like mixing oil and water,” Neil Howe, a Virginia author, economist and consultant on generational issues told Delaware Online. “Every time you try to accentuate your appeal to one generation, you end up rubbing another generation the wrong way.”
I have heard the generational difference explained thusly: The Baby Boomers and generation preceding them were steeled by a great Depression and two World Wars to make as much money as possible, and hold on to as much of it as possible. If they’re going to spend said money on a vacation, grandeur is expected.
Generation X, however, having seen and experienced the previous generation’s dogged struggle for financial independence and without a standout event to teach them that all their money could be whisked away overnight, tend to focus more on a continued high-quality of life, as well as leisure and personal pursuits.
Again, not real earth-shattering stuff, and everyone seems to be finding the hotels, golf courses or X game that they are after. But travelers are seeing the changes. More “adventure vacations” and outdoor activities are being offered, while opulence is being moved aside for convenience at many resorts and hotels, albeit in minor ways.
We are at a generational switchover, for lack of a better term, and each passing year that switchover will be more complete. The American traveler will notice this in small ways, and likely have little complaint, provided the travel options they want are still on the table.
Many in the travel industry are noticing in a big way, however. What will be most interesting are their reactions. Because while subtle changes will be necessary for the travel industry’s evolution and be easily digested by travelers, it will be the overreactions that will shine the most light on this generational switchover, as well as shine the most light on hotels and resorts unable to understand or adapt to it.
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