Did you know that the over-50s now hold about 80% of the UK’s wealth? No, we didn’t either. But a fascinating report just published by the website Silver Travel Advisor shows just how important this market sector is going to be; and just how badly the travel industry is currently serving them. Despite this age group accounting for more than half of all spending on travel, the report found that 75% of travel firms had no plans to offer holidays and services aimed specifically at them.
The Report’s authors question why these travel firms continue to focus their marketing efforts on younger age groups, even though they have less money and less time to spend on holidays. We have a theory here at Explorer Travel Insurance for why this should be and it goes like this. The marketing personnel at these travel firms and their supporting marketing agencies are all young themselves and simply can’t relate to this older age group. After all, it would be like trying to write a brochure for your mother, or worse, your grand mother!
And of course there are differences between this age group and others. According to the research, high up on the older traveller’s list of wants is ‘ease of travel’ and ‘security’. Their wish list also includes ‘meeting like-minded people’ and ‘equality’. Amongst their concerns and gripes are ‘single supplements, ‘having to share a room’ and ‘feeling stifled’.
Our view is that addressing these concerns should not be too much of a stretch for the industry and ultimately would be worth it. Why? Because let’s face it, the over 50’s are, well, loaded. Many are them are the lucky recipients of final salary pension schemes or have downsized their properties so as to release significant amounts of equity or are the lucky inheritors of properties that have risen dramatically in value.
Collectively, they will spend an estimated £16 billion a year on travel. Silver Travel Advisor’s research showed 20% of their sample would happily spend more than £5,000 on a holiday and 60% of them plan to take at least four holidays a year.
They may be old, but they’re not daft. 60% of older travellers sampled said they research and select their holidays online and most stated that they are influenced by online reviews. (65% of them claim to have three or more ‘devices’. We’re assuming they mean mobile phones, tablets and laptops here).
That’s not to says that the role of the traditional travel agent is totally over, as many of them do still prefer to discuss their holidays with travel advisers either face to face or over the telephone (providing they speak up and speak slowly).
And, of course, this age group is growing fast. In fact, it’s the fastest growing demographic in the UK. By 2020 its estimated that there will be more over 50s than under 50s. It probably best if those young marketers start spending more time with their parents.