The American travel industry is staring at a generational divide.

On one side are the deep-pocketed baby boomers, with more money and free time than ever. On the other are the burgeoning Generation X'ers, whose oldest members turned 40 this year and who increasingly are asserting their buying power.

The challenge facing hotels, golf courses, airlines, travel agents and tourism marketers around the country is how to appeal to two groups of consumers whose tastes could not be more different.

Typical boomers look for a natural environment, luxurious decor and comfortable accommodations when they travel. Average Gen X'ers want an urban environment, trendy decor and functional accommodations.

"It's a little bit like mixing oil and water," said Neil Howe, a Virginia-based author, economist and consultant on generational issues. "Every time you try to accentuate your appeal to one generation, you end up rubbing another generation the wrong way."

Get the full story at The Arizona Republic