The travel sector cannot afford to allow the over-50s market to become the “forgotten generation” in the face of increasing pressure to adapt its offering to millennial and Generation Z travellers.
That was the message from director of Spike Marketing Roy Barker and Tom Dunn, director of business development at Wild Dog Design, who together revealed some of the headline findings of Aito’s annual industry insights report at the association’s annual conference in Wroclaw, Poland, on Friday (22 November).
Delegates heard that despite more than 50% of wealth remaining concentrated in the hands of those aged 55 to 74, there had been a trend towards businesses targeting younger travellers.
“Fifty-plus feels like this forgotten generation,” said Dunn. “You don’t have to rebrand yourself to appeal to these younger people.”
Speaking on behalf of Aito members, Kevin O’Regan, managing director of Ramblers Walking Holidays, said the business looked for “like-minded” clients rather than targeting them by age.
Elsewhere, 66% of respondents said the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit would have no impact on the holidays they were planning to take over the next 12 months.
Of the 22% who said it would impact their travel plans, 52% said they were more likely to holiday in the UK, while 73% said they were less likely to travel to Europe.
The impact on holidays to the rest of the world was more evenly split, with 28% saying they were more likely to holiday there and another 28% less likely.
Encouragingly, 67% of respondents said they planned to take the same amount of holidays over the next three years, and 22% more.
O’Regan said Ramblers, like many others, had experienced “a lull” this year, but stressed forward bookings were showing significant growth. “People still want to travel,” he said, adding that while habits do change, such as a move towards less short-haul on account of the climate impact, it was vital businesses were able to spot trends as soon as possible.
The survey also found value to be only fourth most pressing consideration for travellers, with clients ranking knowledge and expertise; the desire to book with a specialist; and previous good experience ahead of value.
Barker said the research highlighted the value of Aito members’ expertise and the authenticity of the holiday experience they could offer, while Dunn said clients still valued conversation and dialogue during the booking process.