The revelation that the UK and much of the developed world is experiencing an increase in the age of their populations has been top of the news agenda for a while. This has caused seismic changes to the global consumer landscape but how will it affect the leisure and destination industry?
Consumer behaviour suggests that we are witnessing people holding off on major milestones until later in their life or actually repeating them. This has reduced the emphasis on following a traditional order of life stages, as people live longer, whilst having the ability to embrace a more active life, even in older age.
To put into perspective the scale of the opportunity available to leisure and destination brands, by approximately 2020 we will see:
- Global spending power of those aged 60+ to reach $15tn USD.
- The number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years
To fully capitalise on ‘The Ageless Traveller’ trend, we need to think of them less in terms of their age, and instead focus more on their interests. As Robert Sinclair-Barnes, Strategic Marketing Director of Amadeus IT Group has said:
“We see habits that start off in the younger generation being adopted by, let’s say, the silver surfers and the older generation. So the recommendation is to move away from age segmentation and more towards a segmentation built around why you travel.”
Brands that want to tap into this lucrative market need to recognise that individual preferences will need to come higher on the agenda, as traditional demographics begin to lose their significance in identifying older consumers wants and needs.
At Big Cat we’ve had first hand experience of marketing to ‘The Ageless Traveller’ through our work with The National Forest. Our initial research revealed similar findings; as social conventions have loosened, leading to fragmented and extended families, less-regimented lifestyles have become more prominent and people are now much harder to define by the ‘old’ socio-demographics/life stages. This led to a more nuanced profiling of The National Forest’s key audiences, focusing on different groups specific drivers to visit destinations.
Through analysis of existing customer data and further research, we identified ‘Easy Active Adults’ as a key target audience. As financial comfortable empty nesters, their age spanned a wide spectrum but their pursuit of easy-going outdoor destinations, interest in history and marking their occasion with a meal or memento, revealed unifying characteristics.
These valid insights were used effectively throughout the Google ‘5 stages of travel’ customer journey model, which we adopted as part of our marketing strategy. At each stage of travel (‘Dreaming’, ‘Planning’, ‘Booking’, ‘Experiencing’ and ‘Advocacy’), we were able to tailor our touch points to resonate with the wants / needs of this particular audience persona, creating more authentic marcomms.