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Baby Boomers: The Untapped Billion Dollar Romance Market

Romance travel is one of the travel industry’s fastest-growing and most profitable year round niches. Romance packages facilitate upgrades in rooms and services, often involve group bookings and come with the increased possibility of future stays. Fortunately, romance travel is about more than just weddings and honeymoons. Many romantic milestones are celebrated with trips abroad.

With traveler concerns regarding the Zika Virus, particularly for women of childbearing age, having so much play in recent media, focusing your romance packages on niche markets such as the ones outlined below will help keep the profitability of romance travel growing in the Caribbean. Romance in the Caribbean will always be a hot trend, regardless of the traveler’s age or lifestyle. Therefore, we advise hospitality stakeholders to stay abreast of the latest news and keep their guests informed on how to stay healthy and safe. For more information on Zika Resources, click here.

Rekindling the Romance

Anniversaries and vow renewals are a wonderful market that is growing a la par with the weddings and honeymoons. Powered by baby boomers, this billion dollar market is made up of couples ranging in age between 50 and 70 years of age. Boomers spend over $78 billion annually on leisure travel; $29 billion more than the Gen-X set and $23 billion more than the Millennials.  AARP research indicates that travelers who are 50 years old and up could take as many as five trips a year. Taking into consideration factors such as empty nest syndrome, accumulated wealth and the fact that 87% of this generation is married, romantic trips abroad simply make sense.

Baby boomers are a discerning market geared more towards luxury travel. According to a study conducted by AARP, when baby boomers travel to rekindle the romance with their partners they are looking to have a “bucket list” experience. They want to be able to have the honeymoon they were not able to afford when they first got married. They are not fans of colder climates, so tropical locations are at the top of their most anticipated destinations. They want to be taken away from their everyday lives, and relax in exotic and pampering accommodations.

International romantic getaways for baby boomers are likely to be planned for spring and fall. According to AARP, 42% of the trips baby boomers will take in the year are still in the ideation stage, meaning they have still not picked a destination. International destinations are more thoroughly researched than domestic. This is the perfect time to start promoting great travel packages that speak to this lucrative traveler.

Experience of a Lifetime Packages

The essential factor in romance packages will always be centered on spending time together, “sharing experiences to achieve intimacy”. However, “experience” packages have that added “bucket list” factor that adds excitement to the traditional romantic getaway. When creating once in a lifetime, bucket list romantic packages for your guests include traditional and nontraditional experiences, for example: sailing off into the sunset, exotic gourmet getaways, salsa dancing in old San Juan or exploring underwater caves in Tortola. Spa packages play up the relaxing and sensual side of romance travel, and offer wonderful opportunities to upsell.

The Year of Romance

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has declared 2016 as the Year of Romance in the Caribbean, and will be assisting member countries with an assortment of promotional ideas which can be implemented around the theme of romance to appeal to consumers, travel agents and tour operators. Keep a close eye on upcoming promotional ideas from CTO and CHTA, to help enhance your romance travel offerings. To view the complete AARP Market Study click here.

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