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Vail: Millenials and boomers booking ski vactions

Joan ChristensenVail CO, Colorado

VAIL, Colorado If you like rollercoasters, you are going to love 2008, claimed Dr. Lalia Rach, keynote speaker at the Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS) at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa in Vail. The economy has not found its bottom yet and all the economic uncertainty is altering consumer habits. Everyone but the very wealthy are concerned. She cited the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) as a significant determining factor in how the rest of 2008 will turn out.According to the CCI, consumer confidence has dropped from a high in 2007 of 111.9 in mid-July to 64.5 in mid-March of 2008 a dramatic decrease in less than one year. Change is todays reality and progressive companies will succeed in this changing environment, said Rach.Rach, speaking to a national and international audience of mountain travel professionals, focused most of her comments on the differences between two groups of consumers visiting mountain resorts: Millenials who are ages 14-29 and Baby Boomers who range in age from 44-62. The discretionary income for both groups is being impacted by the current recession. According to Rach, understanding and responding to their unique and specific expectations will be the way to attract and hold their business. Why the emphasis on these two particular generations? The answer is size and spending power. An estimated 77 million Boomers and 73 million Millenials make up more than half of the U.S. population and with 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) consumer driven, these two generations have considerable power and influence in the marketplace, particularly since approximately 41 million Millenials are already adults.Millenials were born to travel and have had more travel experiences by age 18 than their Baby Boomer counterparts had by age 30, explained Rach. As travelers they want more information in advance, they want multiple media to get their information, and they want to blend fun and challenge during their vacation experience. This generation has been bombarded with direct advertising from and early age and they are more skeptical of traditional advertising than their Boomer predecessors. The most effective way to reach them is through various online locations.In contrast, Boomers want to believe they are younger than they actually are and want experiences that make them feel that way. They often want the traditional experience but with innovation. More effective use of Universal Design larger fonts for printed materials, more signage, seating areas, wider seats, and dozens of other adaptations allow Boomers to feel younger but make the experience, whatever it is, better for everyone.If you connect with your customers, they will become loyal to your business because guests are dying to be recognized, she concluded.Publicist Joan Christensen is helping this year with the Mountain Travel Symposium this year.


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