Branding targets multi-generational travel

Lee's Summit JournalNovember 6, 2013 

One of the emerging trends we identified through our research was that 1-in-3 baby boomers plan to take a “multi generational” vacation within the next year. That is, a vacation that spans three generations, which is up from 1-in-5 from just a couple of years ago.

These boomer grandparents don’t just go along to babysit the grand kids. They’re more active (than their parents) and because they’re more financially secure, wind up paying for most, if not all, of the trip. In fact, a whopping 80 percent of them initiate the vacations as a means to savor what’s really important to them, which is to reconnect with their adult children and grand children.

Armed with our research insights we, and by we, I mean the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Council along with the private business sector, set out to extend our branding partnership to target this multi-generation target audience. Our partners included, Paradise Park, Hampton Inn Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit Parks & Recreation, Great Southern Bank, Freebirds at Summit Fair, the Lee’s Summit Historical Society, Powell Gardens and Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street.

Our test market was Springfield Missouri, which happens to be one of the top markets in the State of Missouri comprised of boomers who are predisposed to travel with their children and grand children. The purpose of a test market is to allow advertisers to target an isolated audience profile with a message specifically crafted to speak to their needs, wants, and desires.

Based on the response of the test market we are now armed with vital information which would allow us to roll out the program to other similar populated markets.

Here is a summary of the results:

1) We reached 126,000-plus readers within three-targeted zip codes.

2) Our magazine ads were also placed in over 300 local medical offices.

3) Our on-line advertising received nearly 200,000 web hits.

4) We specifically targeted households with an average household income of $100,000.

5) Lee’s Summit was featured in a two-page editorial within the magazine (at no cost).

But what we believe is most important when we’re talking about branding dollars is that we continue to provide a reasonable return on our investment dollars. In this particular case our return on investment was 72 percent.

And as an added bonus, the sales tax receipts for Lee’s Summit hotels/motels was up 6 percent compared to the same time last year. It is important to point out that there is more than one way to measure success. To measure success on one reporting tool only is like trying to sit on a one-legged stool.


James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at

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