Boomer Travel Trends: One on One with Liz Dahl, Boomer Travel Patrol

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  1. This month, ExpertFlyer talks with Liz Dahl, founder and president of BoomerTravelPatrol.com, a new travel website that specifically caters to the interests of fun-seeking, travel-loving Baby Boomers (1946-1964). Liz talks about the many gaps Boomer Travel Patrol fills for the 50+ traveler set wanting to do a lot more than just bus trips and cruises! A key differentiator is the site’s cadre of top class contributors covering a unique variety of areas and backgrounds from the mindset of a Boomer.

    “Because baby boomers are not in the coveted 18-49 demographic, we get left out of the “fun” activities when it comes to travel. Sure, bus trips and cruises are great and have their place, but there’s a lot more to see and do and we have the time and means to explore the world!” – Liz Dahl


    When and why did you launch Boomer Travel Patrol and how has the site been received?

    The site was launched in July of 2013. As a former owner of a travel agency and currently selling travel, I noticed that there was a lack of choices being offered to the Baby Boomer demographic. The “cruise and bus tour” mentality of the advertisers didn’t work for me or most of the people who contacted me about trips. I wanted Boomers to know the travel opportunities that exist.

    What do your Boomer subscribers seem to be most interested in? Any surprises?

    Not really any surprises because Baby Boomers never liked to be pigeon-holed. With the variety of travel interests we offer on the site, it opens their eyes to the possibilities that exist in the field of travel.

    Your contributors – or shall we say, “patrollers” – all seem to have a special niche and passion for what they cover. You have 15 different patrol areas on the site right now. Tell us about that and who your contributors are.

    The initial core of patrollers were, and still are, my friends. I wanted to find regular people who were both boomers and passionate about travel across a range of niches. We started out with five Patrols 22 months ago, which included Luxury Patrol, contributed by Catherine Saxton, a publicist to the rich and famous; Air Patrol, written by Diane Diehl, a 60-something who still works as a flight attendant for a major airline; Sports Patrol, by Mark Pennell, a former Cricket player and travel and sports writer for the Times of London; Globetrotter Patrol, contributed by Penny Frederickson, a farmer in Queensland, Australia, who travels solo throughout Southeast Asia; and Pet Patrol, which is written by my partner, Don Anderson. Now we have 15 Patrols and every writer has an interesting back story and shares great information.

    You’ve achieved some pretty impressive traffic in a relatively short time. What is it about the way you are presenting information that’s setting you apart from the pack and hooking Boomers?

    We are their peers and present the information for free and from a Boomer perspective. It is also easy to navigate and provides information on every country in the world. We not only have our Patrol, but the other tabs on the site provide enormous amounts of research and data.

    Talk about trends in Boomer Travel. The youngest of the boomers will be 51 this year and the eldest, 69. Aging is obviously an irrefutable factor in what one can do and is interested in doing. What’s hot now and how do you see the market’s travel interests evolving over the next 5-10 years?

    When it comes to Cruises, River Cruising is the hottest trend. Multi-generational trips are also big with the Boomers. They want to share experiences with their kids and grandkids. These trends will continue over the next 5-10 years, as well as luxury, culinary and educational travel.

    What are the key differences between travel preferences of boomers vs. millennials’?

    Boomers tend to want to visit museums, immerse themselves in the culture of destinations. Millennials want all-inclusives and always think there may be a better bargain out there. They grew up with computers and Baby Boomers had to learn them. Millennials are very trusting of websites and Baby Boomers are leery of them. Also, Millennials don’t have the freedom of time and they have to cram everything into 4 or 5 days. Boomers have more flexibility and can travel off-season and spend more time. They also have bigger budgets since they control 70% of the nation’s disposable income.

    What are you finding most challenging about leading the charge for better Boomer Travel options?

    The biggest challenge I have is the mindset of the general public and advertisers and marketers in particular. They cater to the 18-49 age group and either ignore people over 50 or view them in their rocking chairs, taking medications and lacking a sense of adventure. They have a misconception of who we actually are.

    Anything else our readers should know about Boomer Travel and BTP?

    We want people to enjoy the site, but we’d also like to hear from them and their travel adventures by commenting on our stories and providing their own experiences. We created the Guest Patrol area for that purpose. The world is a big place and we can’t be everywhere, so sharing is what we’re about.

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