Steadily increasing life-spans and longer productive years are allowing people to work well into their 60’s and beyond. While those 60+ continue to work, they are accumulating more disposable income and, with their experience and tenure, many 60+ still in the workforce have earned a good bit of schedule flexibility and paid time off. With empty nests, more time flexibility and more income to spend on travel, increasing future leisure travel will be a reality among our 60+ population.
This hypothesis is backed up by the numbers: In 2020, aggregate spending by consumers age 60+ is projected to grow to 31%, and by 2025 it will reach 33%. They are the only consumer segment that is projected to have aggregate spending growth over the next few years, and 60+ consumers are projected to spend more of that share on travel and other discretionary treats than any other younger age segment.
So, where does that leave the travel and tourism industry? You must ask yourself: How can I position my destination to appeal to the 60+ segment of the population that is looking for new and different leisure travel opportunities? According to an AARP study, spending time with friends and family is still the top activity of interest. Relaxation, rejuvenation and getting away from everyday life follow respectively as the next reasons for travel among older travelers. These desired activities are consistent among all travel segments, but AARP also identified a keen interest in touring and dining with locals among the 60+ crowd. So, what kinds of attractive opportunities can you curate to help these potential visitors recharge while connecting them to the fabric of your destination?
Do you know of someone in your town who is an independent coffee roaster? Talk with them about offering an opportunity to experience the complexities of roasting coffee beans, and potentially gifting participants with a bag of coffee from that roast to take home with them. These visitors might also purchase a few bags of coffee beans to give as gifts—think of how many times they will share their experience other coffee aficionados? Apply this same theory to beer, candy, art, wine, strawberries, ice cream—virtually anything that is made in, unique to or even original to your destination. Work with your makers to create these experiences. We have seen this process turn into wonderful experiences for visitors as well as establish new relationships among like-minded people (and in some cases, long-term customers for the maker).
Multi-generational vacation options are also very appealing to this demographic, with spending time with friends and family as the top activity of interest. Lodging options that can accommodate more than 2 guests, as well as entertainment options that range in appeal to both young and old are a top priority.
Travelers in this well-educated age segment also enjoy pairing continuing education opportunities with leisure travel. Learning opportunities can range from lectures and talks to more immersive workshops, lessons and hands-on experiences. Making things that visitors get to take home with them to share with others also gives them opportunities to share their story and the experience they had visiting your place with others.
And don’t assume that 60+ consumers shy away from activity and adventure. After all, age is just a number! A variety of outdoor adventure options will help them find, then explore and enjoy what’s available.
Keep technology in mind as you connect with older travelers. More than 80 percent of Americans age 50 to 64 have smartphones, and their technology usage continues to rise. Keep that in mind as you strategize how to engage with this market segment. They will likely use their smartphones while in-market for photography, navigation and sourcing activities and good places to eat as well as perusing your destination’s website, landing pages, social media pages, TripAdvisor listings, etc.
Of the 60% of 60+ consumers who use social media, Facebook is their preferred medium of choice, 70% enjoy watching videos about products and services, and 60% spend time reading blogs and online articles as sources of information and intrigue. This demographic has demonstrated little interest in Instagram and Twitter, but their proclivity towards video content makes YouTube an attractive platform. As you formulate your social media marketing plan, ensure that you are creating highly-target boosted posts on Facebook that feature mature travelers enjoying your destination, links to valuable blog content and/or great video.
- 60+ consumers tend to use the applications that are native to their phone, tablet and/or computer. So, be sure your website is optimized on a variety of browsers from Internet Explorer to Firefox to Safari to Chrome.
- Be sure your destination’s website is discoverable through Bing as well as Google.
- Be sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, including iPads.
- Be sure your website isn’t overly trendy or techy. It should be easy to navigate, appropriately represent your destination and offer clean white space with the right size fonts (or fonts that can be enlarged on a desktop).
Paying special attention to the ever-growing 60+ consumer segment can pay big dividends for your destination. Don’t get left out! If you have any questions or would like to discuss this subject or any other marketing related field, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.