Today’s senior travelers are the healthiest, richest, most adventurous, most tech-savvy generation of seniors ever. Yet, they’re ignored by the most of the travel agencies. It’s a rookie mistake you won’t do after reading this blog post. And this is why: Seniors are numerous too! Two billion people across the world will be 60+ years old by 2050! (World Health Organization)
So, tour & activity companies started to recognize the power of senior citizens. They are redirecting their marketing focus on seniors. Thus, they are earning more profits. If you’re a tour business owner, you should think about this idea as well. Don’t get left behind!
What Is the Age That Is Considered Old? When Do You Become a Senior Traveler?
People have different perceptions of aging. So, when you are in your 20s, you might consider travelers in their 40s as senior travelers. But, when you are in your 40s, you probably don’t consider yourself old. In your opinion, experienced travelers are the ones in their 60s. But when are you officially a senior?
Demography defines an elderly population as people aged 60 and over. While some dictionaries support that definition, others state that elderly person is over the age of 65. However, the masses get senior discounts when they’re in their 50s. In this article, I choose to define senior travelers as travelers from 53 years old upwards.
In everyday speech, you can hear terms like elders, the elderly, old people, older adults, seniors and senior citizens. Each of these terms had the same meaning. But, according to their birth, senior travelers can be categorized into specific groups:
- Baby Boom Generation (1946-1964)
- The Silent Generation (1925-1945)
- The Greatest Generation (1910-1924)
Key Research Findings of Senior Travelers
Baby Boom Generation should be in your focus. While the youngest Baby Boomers are 53, the oldest are 71 years old. Many Boomers are reaching or in retirement. Their mortgages are paid off and children are grown up. So, Baby Boomers start traveling again after a long break. And, they have the time and money to do it their way.
In 2016, a study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that travel spending of people over 50s increased by 23% over the past five years. Meanwhile, people under 50 reduced their travel spend by 5%.
80% of tour package spend is by senior travelers. They are spending an estimated $50 billion on tours and activities annually. Experienced travelers appreciate the safety of traveling in a group. Besides that, seniors like the ease of having a professional supporting them.
International ‘bucket list’ trips in 2017. On average, Boomers have 8 different destinations on their list. The half consists of international and another half of domestic destinations. More than a third of Baby Boomers plan to cross some international trips from their bucket list in 2017.
Senior tourism is a topic of particular interest in Japan. Why? Because Japan is a home to the oldest citizens in the world. In 2017, 26.3% of its population are 65 years or older. Nearly a third of the Japanese people (32.2%) will be senior citizens by 2030. And, guess what! 70% of senior citizens in Japan book their tours and travels online! So, you better take experienced Japanese travelers on some interesting tours and trips!
What Does Experienced Traveler Want?
To target experienced travelers more effectively, tour and activity providers need to understand the interest in the travel of today’s elderly. As well as their similarities and differences compared to other age groups.
The main factors explaining the senior’s traveling choices:
- Escape – from daily routine or boredom.
- Relaxation – while surrounded by beautiful landscapes.
- Self-improvement – through learning (e.g. sightseeing historic and cultural attractions, visiting museums).
- Socialization – meeting new people and building friendships.
- Self-esteem – gained through testing and proving their physical abilities (e.g. hiking trips or trekking tours).
Compared to younger travelers, seniors like to travel with their spouse. Seniors usually head off to travel during an off-season, when there is less crowd. Senior tourists are especially interested in sightseeing of historic and cultural attractions. Moreover, they often participate in the group tours and activities.
Seniors and other tourists rank tours’ and activities’ characteristics differently. What matters to the senior traveler is:
- Attractiveness of the program
- Handicapped facilities
- Kindness toward foreigners
- Opportunity to meet new people
- Standard of the bus
- Tour escort
- Tourist information
With all the trips anticipated for 2017, it’s important to note that most have yet to be booked. Meaning senior travelers are still in the planning or idea phase. Did you know that 41% will book tours, trips and travels online? More often than not, seniors will make a booking with their loyalty program provider.
In the end, there are two questions for tour and activity business owners.
- Do you have a loyalty program?
- Did you integrate booking engine to your website?
When comes to the online booking system, Orioly can help your tour business to bloom all year long. Regardless of seasons.
If you’re interested in where to find and how to target senior travelers for your tours and activities, I’ll talk more about this topic in the next article. So, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
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