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Retirement communities

Retired to the university campus
Not all traveling retirees reside in balmy weather. Meadowood Retirement Community, on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, was built in 1980 for IU retirees, alumni and staff. Today, it’s privately operated.

“Travel is a great marketing tool. Many moved in because they can travel with our retirement community. They make friends and enjoy the camaraderie,” said Mike Kraner, Meadowood’s trip planner. “They love the tours I put together. I research and dig through books and put together unique trips.”

Meadowood has its own 35-passenger motorcoach with CDL drivers. They’ve bused to Saugatuck and Petoskey, Mich.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Branson, Mo.; Chicago; Montreal; Quebec City; Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Las Vegas and more. “We’ve driven as far as the Florida Keys,” said Kraner.

These sophisticated travelers have also boarded flights to Ireland.

“We’re a retirement community, but we want travel to be a major component of their lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, there’s an unusual travel opportunity available for residents of Holiday Retirement, one of the larger retirement enclaves in the country. With 313 communities across North America, Holiday pioneered the independent-living lifestyle.

“Each community has one or more guest rooms set aside for its travel program. A resident from any other Holiday community may book one of the rooms, travel there and enjoy that particular community free of charge,” explained Chris Ochs, director of marketing for Holiday Retirement.

For example, a Nebraska Holiday Retirement resident who goes to Los Angeles can stay for up to seven days, depending on availability, at a Los Angeles Holiday property and take advantage of the local chef meals, transportation and activities.

“It’s almost like living in your own home community,” said Ochs. “People see new places and expand their horizons.”

Editors Note: This is the third of our six-part series this year on types of groups that are leading the way in the evolution of group travel today. The Group Travel Leader is currently read by more than 400 active retirement community groups across America.

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