Baby Boomers increasingly finding outdoor adventure

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Surfs Up For The Beach Boy Generation

I was there, late 1977, or was it 1978? The Beach Boys in concert at Western Springs in Auckland, New Zealand. Brian Wilson, the truly gifted member of the band was there in spirit only as he idly tapped at the piano. He was going through his mental breakdown stage, fuelled by a past obsession to trump the Beatles, mixed with a cocktail of alcohol and drugs.

The sun was shining as we sat out on the grass during the afternoon concert and soaked up the sounds. The sounds of the Beach Boy Generation.

The Beach Boy Generation and Adventure

It appears to be true what has long been suspected, the generation that grew up with the Beach Boys and the Beatles is a late bloomer in the outdoor adventure holiday segment of the travel market.

Are we about to see a tidal wave of grey haired, balding and slightly overweight extreme kayakers and mountain climbers? Probably not, however by their sheer numbers and spending power they are forcing adventure outfitters to sit up and take notice.

The sheer numbers and spending power of this generation, often called Boomers, is forcing outfitters worldwide to redesign their offerings, often with an increased emphasis on creature comforts and so called soft adventure options

How Can Adventure be Soft?

How can a trip that focuses on creature comforts still be adventurous? This is a question that many adventure operators and outfitters are presently working out. However from feedback we have received, it would appear that the main concerns of this group appear to be more a fear that they will in some way let the rest of the group down, rather than the lack of home comforts.

This is especially true where physical input is often expected from clients, such as on rafting trips or cycle tours.

This fear of letting the rest of the group down, or as one participant in our survey commented, being surrounded by over achievers and not being able to keep up, is at the very core of how operators are redesigning their trips.

However saying that the adventure needs to be soft is not quite correct, as studies suggest that this group generally pursue outdoor leisure activities for relaxation, play, and continued personal growth. For the trip to be classified as “Adventure”, there needs to be some sort of calculated risk taking that extends the participant beyond their comfort zone

So, How Are Adventure Trips for this Group Being Redesigned?

According to one Adventure Operator we spoke to, the redesign, the planning and the details for a successful trip for the Beach Boy Generation has to incorporate several key elements.

The Key Elements that are Desirable in a Trip Include:

  • Careful selection of knowledgeable and mature guides
  • An educational or skill development aspect
  • Time during the day, especially later in the day, to relax, take in the surroundings, maybe read a book
  • Good food
  • Comfortable, warm and dry sleeping arrangements
  • Made to feel as if they are pulling their weight
  • Some sort of X factor – scenery or cultural

So what does the Beach Boy Generation Really Not Want?

What this group really does not want can be summarised as;

  • Being guided by young, thrill seeker types with no empathy
  • Being treated as if they constantly need extra attention
  • Being part of a group of over achievers and not being able to keep up
  • Being wet and cold
  • Putting up with inane conversations
  • Having to put up with poor food
  • Having no time to relax and take in the surroundings

Surprisingly, Some Adventure Outfitters View Meeting these Requirements as Far too Much Hassle

While some Adventure Outfitters look at these requirements as way too much hassle, and will stick to the thrill seeker type of customer, others have embraced this new market, and now offer a range of trips especially for this more discerning clientele.

This range of trips for their more discerning clientele includes, but is certainly not limited to;

Wine on the River, Rafting Tours – essentially a multi day rafting trip that is accompanied by a well known Wine Maker, a well known chef, and some great evening food and wine

Educational Trips – these vary from wilderness tours where a well known photographer accompanies and holds workshops during the day on camera technique, to tours that have a geologist along interpreting the rock formations.

Classical Music Rafting trips – these have become quite popular in the desert country of the United States South West. Quartets of musicians who play classical music accompany the trip, and each evening play under the stars, with the sound resonating through the deep canyons.

Other trips and tours involve travel by cycle or horse, stopping at small villages and overnighting in Country Inns, and immersing yourself in the local culture.

The Changing Face of Adventure Travel

There is no doubt that the face of adventure travel will dramatically change over the next few years as members of the Beach Boy Generation find that they too can share in the magic of following the paths less travelled.

How is River Valley Catering to the Beach Boy Generation?

River Trips

Rangitikei Headwaters Expeditions – 4 days of wilderness rafting on the upper Rangitikei.

Mountains to Vineyard – an overnight trip on the Ngaruroro River

Rangitikei River Lodge to Lodge – a two day, two night trip, overnighting at riverside Lodges

Scenic Family Rafting – a one day trip taking in the beautiful gorges of the Rangitikei River

The Multi Day River Rafting trip selection – search all of our multi day rafting trips.

Out of interest, we do find that many fitter members of this group still love to get out on the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River.

Horse Trekking

All River Valley Stables treks are suitable for this group, but we would recommend the longer Full Day, or overnight Lodge to Lodge trekking trips as being best for participants who have a reasonable amount of riding experience.

Are You Looking for Advice on a Suitable Trip for You?

If you wish to talk to someone about the best trip for you, call one of our knowledgeable reception staff on 0800 248666 if in NZ, or +64 6 3881444 if calling from overseas. Alternatively, send an email by clicking here.

Adventure is not just for the young, it is for the young at heart.

Rangitikei Headwaters Expedition

Taking some time out on a riverbank.

Taking in the view on a Lodge to Lodge Horse Trek

Fly fishing on a tributary of the Rangitikei River

Rangitikei River Lodge to Lodge Interview

Rangitikei Hill Country

The dew lifting from a riverside camp

The Rangitikei River Canyon

By | 2017-06-12T02:48:11+00:00 June 17th, 2016|Adventure Travel, Articles, Rafting|0 Comments

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