Just the Facts: Baby Boomers and Travel Incentives

by | Aug 1, 2016 | Event Planner, Group Travel Packages, Incentive Travel, Sales Tactics

Leading the Four Generations at Work

  • A recent AARP survey of 2,001 people born in this era revealed that 63% plan to work at least part-time in retirement, while 5% said that they never plan to retire, some because they like working, others because they need the money to replace lost retirement savings.
  • Boomers are the first generation to actively declare a higher priority for work over personal life. They generally distrust authority and large systems. Their values were shaped primarily by a rise in civil rights activism, Viet Nam, and inflation. They are more optimistic and open to change than the prior generation, but they are also responsible for the “Me Generation,” with its pursuit of personal gratification, which often shows up as a sense of entitlement in today’s workforce.
  • Each group has its own distinct characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work, based on its generation’s life experiences. To successfully integrate these diverse generations into the workplace, companies will need to embrace radical changes in recruitment, benefits, and creating a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for its multigenerational workforce.
  • A core challenge over the next decade will be to attract and retain a skilled workforce as the labor market continues to tighten, technology continues to evolve, and fewer foreign students immigrate to America for job opportunities. This situation is exacerbated as companies find themselves managing four generations of American workers:

Generations in the Workplace

  • Four generations of workers are currently in the workplace: Veterans (or Matures), Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials.
  • Baby Boomers, who were born roughly between 1945 and 1964, can be motivated with flexible work schedules and opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and they totaled 80 million people in the US in 2010.
  • As the Boomers matured during the late 1970s and 1980s, they became known for prioritizing their careers and experiencing a high degree of stress in their personal lives as a result.

Generations in the Workforce & Marketplace: Preferences in Rewards, Recognition & Incentives

  • At almost 80 million strong, US Baby Boomers are roughly the same size cohort as Millennials.
  • As of today, even though many are already retired, they remain far more powerful and influential in the workplace than either Xers or Millennials.
  • Boomers were also born into one of the most optimistic periods in US history. After WWII the economy grew rapidly, technology and medicine brought vastly improved lifestyles, progress in science, including space travel, created an aura in which anything seemed possible.
  • Given the events that occurred in their era, Boomers are said to be the most idealistic of the three generations. While Millennials also share this trait, Boomers are, relative to Millennials, unrestrained idealists (and remain so relative to other generations in their 50s, 60,s and 70s).
  • It is said that Boomers live to work, they seek advancement and status, they want respect and they expect others to pay their dues.
  • Boomers are said to look for peer recognition, promotions, more responsibility and greater formal respect (titles, deference, etc.).
  • Sodexo’s 2015 Workplace Trends Report offers the following in its advice to organizations seeking tailored rewards and incentives for Boomers. In addition to retirement planning information and services and sabbaticals: “baby boomers tend to prefer rewards in the form of appreciation, promotion, and recognition delivered with a personal touch.”
  • For Baby Boomers, like other generations, recognition should remain at the root of most incentive and reward programs. A 2012 study by Aon Hewitt consulting found that recognition was the fourth-most important driver of engagement globally in 2012, behind issues such as career opportunities and pay.
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Generational Differences Chart

  • Youth
  • Trust no one over 30
  • Transformational
  • Team Oriented
  • Spend now, worry later
  • Equal opportunities
  • Equal rights
  • Anything is possible
  • Anti-government
  • Anti-war
  • Highest divorce rate and 2nd marriages in history.
  • Post War Babies who grew up to be radicals of the ’70s and yuppies of the ’80s.


  • Involvement
  • Optimism
  • Personal Gratification
  • Personal Growth
  • Question Everything
  • Work
  • Want to “make a difference”
  • Ability to handle a crisis
  • Ambitious
  • Anti-establishments
  • Challenge Authority
  • “The American Dream” was promised to them as children and they pursue it.
  • Extremely loyal to their children


  • Competent
  • Competitive
  • Consensus Leadership
  • Consumerism
  • Ethical
  • Good communication skills
  • Idealism
  • Live to work
  • Loyal to careers and employers
  • Driven
  • Workaholic-60 hr work weeks
  • Work long hours to establish self-worth and identity and fulfillment

How Gen Y & Boomers Will Reshape Your Agendababy boomers incentive travel

  • Both groups see such breaks as opportunities for personal fulfillment: 53% of Gen Ys and 49% of Boomers who temporarily step away from work use the time to explore passions or volunteer.
  • Both Boomers and Gen Ys, we found, are drawn to opportunities that allow time out to explore passions, hobbies, and good works. … 29% of [Boomers] … report having taken time out.
  • Our finding is that people, especially Gen Ys and Boomers, are looking for what we call a “remixed” set of rewards: Flexible work arrangements and the opportunity to give back to society trump the sheer size of the pay package.
  • Gen Ys and Boomers also share a heightened sense of obligation to make a positive contribution to society and to the health of the planet. Respectively, 86% and 85% say it’s important that their work involves “giving back.” That’s not as true for Gen X: People in their thirties and early forties are 10% less likely than twenty-somethings to find this important.
  • Overwhelming majorities of Gen Ys (89%) and Boomers (87%) say that having flexible work options is important. Similar percentages (87% and 83%, respectively) say that work/life balance matters to them, so it’s not surprising that roughly two-thirds of both groups also wish for opportunities to work remotely.
  • The desire to work remotely is tempered by Ys’ and Boomers’ love of teamwork and community. While some (27% and 16%, respectively) would even give up a personal workspace to be able to work remotely, most who want a remote option would prefer working from home just one day a week.
  • Most Ys (58%) say they look to Boomers, rather than Xers, for professional advice, and over three-quarters say they enjoy working with Boomers
Let’s start hammering out your incentive program today!
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<strong>About </strong>Luke Kreitner

About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.

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