In 2020, there were clear signs of a growing, thriving, mature travel sector and changes in what they were looking for from a holiday. We were all so optimistic in our plans for the future. But then, a global pandemic that no-one expected, or knew how to control, swept into our lives and completely changed how we travel.
While I was researching and writing Targeting the Mature Traveler: Developing Strategies for an Emerging Market things were rapidly changing. Is the book still relevant now, two years later? Having just finished writing “How a Global Pandemic Changed the Way we Travel” it appears that yes, it is definitely still relevant for those who serve the mature tourist market.
Targeting the Mature Traveler includes some useful definitions plus:
- personal profiles
- country profiles
- future trends apparent at the time
- strategies intended to help those in tourism and hospitality sectors to target this significant customer base.
We hear a lot about the ‘mature’ market, but what does this actually mean? Let’s face it, someone age 50 is not likely to be looking for the same holiday that his 75-year-old mother wants. However, we know that a typical profile is helpful when deciding how to target the product or service, so it will be more useful to look at lifestyle, family group, and other criteria as well as age [as Silver Travel Advisor surveys do].
Mature travellers were taking more holidays a year, spending more money, and looking for something a bit different from the traditional beach holiday. The customer profile was changing, staycations and multi-generation breaks becoming more popular, and a growing awareness of the impact of over-tourism. How people searched for or booked a trip was also a feature.
As we moved through 2020 with extreme travel restrictions imposed, online options were critical for reaching potential customers. It identifies differences in the way particular age groups use online platforms, although this too is changing.
In-depth country profiles also highlighted how destinations were viewed by inbound travellers, their perceptions about facilities, costs, and personal safety. Clear trends were emerging even then in the Bucket List of must-see places and what the mature visitor wanted to see and do when they got there. New long-haul destinations and adventure trips were moving up the list of choices, as was sustainable tourism.
As the book was aimed at tourism and hospitality sectors, including students in these disciplines, data collection and barriers to booking feeds into marketing strategies.
What has changed? Despite two years of lockdowns and the unprecedented impact of a pandemic, the findings still hold true today. Online searches and bookings are crucial, bucket list destinations have changed, and the mature traveller is as enthusiastic as they ever were.
While personal safety and insurance cover have moved up the list of criteria for choosing a break, this group is the most positive about vaccination programmes helping them to travel again. Indeed, it is clear that they have delayed plans rather than shelving them indefinitely.
Dr Jacqueline Jeynes PhD, MBA, B.Ed(Hons), B.A(Hons)
Targeting the Mature Traveler: Developing Strategies for an Emerging Market
Published by Business Expert Press (BEP) Ltd, New York in 2021 ISBN: 978-1-95253-846-9
Radio interview on America Tonight: https://soundcloud.com/kated-294710598/jacqueline-jeynes-interview?si=3d54124a1a354c878f21db4a2289dba9
How a Global Pandemic Changed the Way we Travel due to be published by BEP Ltd summer 2022. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.