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‘84 Primary Voters Send Message Hoteliers Should Heed

David Brudney & Associates- Hospitality Marketing Consultants
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with four decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Assoc. of Carlsbad, CA

By David M. Brudney, ISHC October, 1984

More than 70 million people, about 30 percent of the population, represent a ‘new majority’ amongst the electorate in this country. This group of people is not bound together by political party preference, occupation, ethnic background, sex or geographical location. They do have one thin in common, however: they were all born between 1940 and 1949!

Meet the "baby boomers," those Americans now aged 35 to 44. J.F. ter Horst writes that these baby boomers "will probably be decisive in determining America’s political, social and economic direction for the 16 years remaining in the 20th century and well beyond."

Political analysts claim that these baby boomers surfaced as a group for the first time during the primaries and spearheaded a major "attitudinal shift’ within the nation’s electorate. The 35 to 44 year olds turned out more than twice the numbers of the over 60’s. Analysts claim these baby boomers are weary of old hats, old formulas and old way of doing things.

This ‘new majority’ is turned off by traditional messages, is more independent, more self sufficient and better educated. They are in need of change, innovation, new blood and new faces. Horace Busby writes these "baby boomers don’t want more of the same."

Fifty-three percent of the baby boomers are women, ter Horst points out, who are interested in "making money and getting ahead in the private sector...actively concerned about environmental, civil rights and nuclear issues, not must interest in being Democrats or Republicans and very much performance oriented."

Ter Horst, former press secretary for President Gerald R. Ford, concludes that "if Ronald Reagan is re-elected, it will be because he adjusts sufficiently to accommodate the interests of this electorate...and that’s where the market is."

Sign the industry is "Adjusting Sufficiently," too

If hoteliers acknowledge the existence of a baby boomer market, 70 million strong, then surely the industry, too, must "adjust sufficiently to accommodate the interests" of this market. These baby boomers have no doubt already "infiltrated" the ranks of standard hotel users: individual business travelers, pleasure travelers, incentive, convention and meetings, tours, sports and various mini-markets. If the baby boomer influence has not yet make an impact, it will before too long.

There are sign everywhere that the industry has indeed "adjusted sufficiently" to accommodate this new market. Baby boomers, depicted as more independent, self sufficient, and better educated, must be attracted to the emergence of so much new competition, the wide range of choices in type and rate of typical guest rooms and suites and the alternatives available to the traditional hotel accommodation.

Baby boomers should be attracted to small, independent hotels, motels, resort, extended stay residence inns and quaint bed and breakfasts facilities, especially if those operations present themselves as catering to the needs and interests of that market. Remember, this market apparently seeks out innovation, new blood and new faces. Properties that introduce new packages, facilities, amenities and services should do well with this market.

Residence inns with condo or home surroundings equipped with full kitchens should do well with baby boomers. So should the all suite facilities, particularly those offering moderate prices. Properties featuring private floors and or areas where guests can mingle and meet one another should expect their fair share. Those hotels that feature quality room service, outstanding security and room and suite appointments, colors and amenities designed to make the business-women more comfortable, should be successful, too.

Customer loyalties will no doubt be hard to maintain with baby boomers. The large chains, hotels and motels, might suffer the most. Brand names, logos and past reputations will mean very little to this group. Remember, they are very much performance oriented. Hoteliers will have to earn their continued patronage daily. 

A check list of other items to consider:

  • Upgraded training programs for all customer contact employees to introduce this new market, its needs and interests. 
  • All collateral, especially signs, brochures and post cards, should be reviewed. If new collateral is being introduced, be sure to consider art work, pictures and design that will appeal to baby boomers. 
  • All advertising messages need to be examined. 
  • Packages must be re-evaluated and possibly adjusted to attract more business from this market. 
  • On property facilities, particularly those suited for recreational and entertainment purposes, need to be "looked at" through the eyes of baby boomers. New facilities and or adjustments on existing ones might be in order. 
  • Updated material and information on off property attractions, restaurants, entertainment, sports and cultural activities should be available and accurate.

This article has dealt primarily with a new emerging market, specifically, the baby boomers. We dare not forget, however, that there are others equally in need of special care and attention. We must also recognize that some traditional markets will be altered. Restaurant Hospitality’s special report: State of the Industry, September, 1982 addressed this change. "We will see traditional markets shatter and shrink as new markets emerge on the basis of special interest."

RH predicted that by 1990 the "challenge to the foodservice industry will become absolutely clear: satisfy the will of the new consumer and master as many markets as you can." 

About David Brudney & Associates

David M. Brudney has become a charter member of Laguna Strategic Advisors and was a founding member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. Brudney is a veteran sales-and-marketing professional concluding his fifth decade of service to the hospitality industry. Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators about hotel sales and marketing best practices and standards of care, and conducts reviews of sales-and-marketing operations throughout the world. Brudney is a professional speaker, teacher, mentor and sales trainer. Previously, Brudney held sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.

Contact:  David M. Brudney, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone:  760-994-9266
Email David Brudney
Web Site:   www.DavidBrudney.com

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