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How to market travel rewards to 50% of the U.S. population

By Brett Zabel, Connexions Loyalty Senior Director of Supplier Management

Tapping in to 50% of the U.S. population

Millennials and baby boomers place a premium on travel experiences. They also make up a whopping 50 percent of the U.S. population — a huge opportunity for brands that can effectively market travel-based rewards based on each group’s unique travel needs and desires.

Marketing travel rewards to millennials vs. boomers

Millennials crave experiences. So do boomers. Once you understand the differences in types of travel each group seeks, it’s important to understand each group’s goals, priorities and travel planning processes to promote the right travel rewards and experiences.

For Boomers…

In general, boomers travel as couples and multigenerational groups on trips focused around traditional leisure activities like cruises and relaxing beach vacations. How do they find, evaluate and select destinations and accommodations?

  • Desktop or laptop – Boomers research and book travel primarily on desktop or laptop devices, so ensure your site focuses on a clear, succinct path to booking.
  • Travel guides & ratings – Boomers appreciate the help and expertise travel guides provide. Ensure your travel rewards platform includes destination suggestions and ratings from sites like TripAdvisor or Fodor’s.
  • Marketing channels – Find boomers on Facebook, advertise to them on television and engage them with targeted email campaigns.
  • Messaging – Boomers aren’t old and they don’t want to feel that way. They appreciate the feeling of nostalgia, so market with messages of creating new memories with significant others and family members.

For millennials…

Think create-your-own adventure. Millennials crave adventurous trips to exotic, often international destinations. They want to create new hot spots and experience different cultures. Ensure your travel rewards program has specific capabilities and focuses on marketing via the following channels.

  • Mobile – Millennials are primarily mobile users. They research, find and book travel destinations via mobile search and apps. Your travel rewards site must not only be mobile equipped but also friendly (read: easy to scroll and navigate).
  • Social – Millennials value ratings and reviews from social media. Showcase reviews and photos other rewards members have taken and shared on social media.
  • Marketing channels – Consider advertising on social sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as smartphone search ads to find and attract millennials.
  • Messaging – Marketing to millennials should focus on being relevant, engaging and building community. Market messages about creating their own unique, adventurous experience.

Make sure your brand’s travel rewards program can cater to both millennials and boomers. Rewards platforms should have all the options both groups desire as well as optimized, user-friendly search and navigation on mobile and desktop. Offer rewards to millennials and boomers based on their specific travel preferences and market using their preferred online channels. Personalize your message to speak to each group’s goals, priorities and preferences to successfully capture and engage these priority audiences.

Travel Trends Report

Tags: travel rewards, blog

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