Study provides senior insights

Study provides senior insights
By admin

Tourism businesses have been warned not to stereotype older travellers or risk losing out on a sizeable and affluent chunk of the market.

Travel researchers Carolyn Childs and Bronwyn White estimated 4.4 million Australian seniors were travelling, many with a high level of disposable income.

“It’s the richest group Australia has ever seen on the back of the housing boom,” Childs told Travel Today.

Of a sample of 515 senior travellers, Childs and White found 78% had travelled in Australia in the last 12 months with one in three expecting to make a domestic trip over the next year.

In addition to cities like Sydney and Melbourne, seniors are looking to travel to WA, Tasmania and the top end.

Meanwhile, more than half had travelled overseas in the last year with 80% hoping to go overseas in the next 12 months.

Europe and North America were popular destinations, but many were also heading off the beaten track with 6% planning to travel to South America.

Childs stressed the importance of the internet to reach the demographic, despite common misconceptions.

Although she admitted the generation had come to the internet late, 10%-15% now own a tablet while at least one in four have a smartphone.

“On average, they are on the net for 20 hours a week,” she said. “Two thirds of them are using search engines to plan a holiday and 25% are using it when booking.”

However, the trade also has a good opportunity to tap into the market, particularly specialist agents. “They want travel agents to know more about the destination than they do,” Childs said.

According to the research, 21% of domestic bookings and 30% of overseas are made through a travel agent.

But Childs warned that the industry must take care with promotional material, ensuring language used is empowering and images are not stereotypical.

“They see themselves as 15 years younger than they are,” Childs said. “They hate pictures of grey-haired couples walking down the beach.”

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