The industry is being urged to take the “older and poorer” end of the mature market “more seriously”.
Travel firms focus too heavily on the wealthy and healthy 50‑plus traveller, rather than those with limited means and mobility, according to Silver Travel Advisor managing director Debbie Marshall.
Writing for this week’s Mature Travel special edition of Travel Weekly, she said many people in their 70s and 80s and those living off just their state pension were still very keen to travel.
“It’s not the sexy end of the market, but it’s where there’s great loyalty and still a desire to travel even though some destinations and holiday types may be beyond reach or ability,” said Marshall.
“It’s an area that needs to be taken more seriously by the travel industry.
“Constantly seeking to reduce the average age of clients shouldn’t be at the expense of older people once they become frail or have accessibility requirements and they shouldn’t be forgotten and left to sit at home.”
Marshall said some companies had introduced accessible coach tours and cruises as well as care-assisted holidays, and she urged the trade to tap into this market.
Shearings Leisure Group chief executive Richard Calvert said the mature market is often associated with high-ticket trips and experiential travel.
He said: “That area of business is growing, but consumers who are retired are also time-rich, so there is another group that wants to travel five or six times a year [on smaller, budget-conscious trips] on domestic and European holidays.
“These types of trips might not be big earners but they all add up, and if that customer does want to book a once-in-a-lifetime higher-ticket trip, they’ll come to you.”
Shearings will hold its first customer advisory board meeting next month to find out what they do and don’t like about its products.
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