How to Reach the Baby Boomers

The baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, are in their late 40s to 60s today, with perhaps more time and income on their hands. Many are finding relief through spa treatments in an effort to look and feel younger.

The 2013 Anthem Worldwide study entitled, What Women Really Want: From Health & Wellness, states that “Boomers are dealing with even more life changes than the other generations, which impacts their view of health and wellness. Not only are these women dealing with typical life stage changes, but they are also facing real physical adjustments that impact their day-to-day quality of life.”

How can you capture this market? According to the article “Marketing to Boomers” (May 2013 issue of the International SPA Association’s Pulse magazine), here are three strategies to focus on.

1. Focus on the results derived from the treatments.

Kathy Nelsen, director of spa services at Kabuki Springs & Spa in San Francisco, California, is a boomer herself. “I know the value of massage as health care, and am so happy that I have had the opportunity to have this as part of my lifestyle for 30 years. Just as my generation knows that value of local, sustainable, organic foods and supplements, we know the value of moving the circulation and lymph, as well as stress reduction.”

“Baby boomers seek results-oriented treatments with anti-aging qualities. This generation wants to feel empowered, and to look and feel younger by increasing energy, reducing stress, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles and decreasing muscular pain,” says Bill Toth, spa director at The Spa at the Peabody in Orlando, Florida.

“Most [boomers] opt for aromatherapy and anti-aging for facial treatments,” says Miharu Minagawa, spa manager at Bloom SPA Toya in Hokkaido, Japan. “They would like to have younger-looking skin; thus, they opt for treatments that help rebirth their skin and fight against wrinkles and sagging.”

2. Focus on products that allow them to continue their treatments at home.

Toth says boomers know the value in committing to a product. “They make a commitment towards their health over the long term. We notice this generation asking great questions about the ingredients, which shows a tremendous amount of research on their part,” he says.

Nelsen sees this age group purchasing books on meditation, anti-aging skin care products and dry skin oils for the body. However, Minagawa found a different situation, stating that “a large number of older generations refrain from purchasing new products available in the market and prefer using what they have always used.”

3. Focus on traditional marketing strategies.

While discounts may help close a sale, many boomers rely more on word-of-mouth to find the right spa to schedule an appointment. “A large percentage of baby boomers book treatments based on their travel agents’ recommendation or from recommendation by others,” says Minagawa. “Recommendations by friends and family are likely the number one most successful marketing channel we have found for our spa.”

Toth agrees, adding that the baby boomer generation is really the first generation to consider the spa and alternative medicines as a necessity, not a luxury. “They understand the value of preventative holistic medicine as the way to improve the quality of their lives.”