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Marketing to Bank Customers: Appealing to boomer cruisers

Mike Sullivan

Linking the baby boomer generation more closely to the bank’s loyalty program is a good relationship move for bank travel professionals. More than 80 percent of luxury travel purchases are made by boomers.

Bank travel managers would be wise to create a focus with cruises that appeal to this target market. Affluent customers, as a rule, use many more banking services than other customers. Most banks are very much aware of this opportunity, targeting boomers for investment, savings and retirement business.

The boomer generation spans those households headed by individuals ages 45 to 65. It includes 77 million individuals born between 1946 and 1964. It’s one-third of the U.S. population.

Facts about affluent boomer cruisers

There are quite a few business reasons for segmenting your business toward the wealthy segment of affluent boomers. First, they are the most traveled generation in history. They love to travel. Many see travel as almost a life necessity. The average age of cruise ship passenger is 50 years; household income averages $109,000 per year, a very affluent group of bank customers.

Second, about 69 percent of boomers are college graduates or postgraduates, which naturally creates an interest in the educational aspects of travel. More than 86 percent are married, creating more travel bookings. A large percentage, about 69 percent, work full time.

Values that relate to boomers

The key to creating and packaging boomer cruises is to understand boomers’ lifestyles and interests, and plan travel to meet those needs.

• Boomers value individualism and focus on themselves. They believe they are special. This shapes their need for unique, new experiences on board.

• They are dealing with stressful, busy lives and are looking for simplification. Cruises provide relaxation and relief from their everyday hectic lives. Travel can be therapeutic.

• They like being independent and in control. The cruise industry has found that boomers have created more changes in cruise ship programming than any other travelers. They speak up and tell cruise managers what they like and don’t like.

• They are seeking self-fulfillment through personal, action-oriented excursions. They want to see the mountain, but they also want to climb it and learn about its history.

• They want connections to family, friends and society. “Bring along a friend” destination packages should be part of the promotional package offered to boomer cruisers. “Grand-tripping” with their grandchildren is another aspect of cruises that can be effective.

For information about his training programs, contact me at Michael P. Sullivan, president, 50-Plus Communications Consulting, Charlotte, North Carolina, 704-554-7863, consults and trains staff at banks, financial services and health care organizations. He is listed on LinkedIn under Michael P. Sullivan. His book, “101 Easy Ways to Increase Business with Boomerplus Clients” is available on his website,