In 2014, 69% of US consumers that are 55 years or older will make use of the Internet, which represents 23% of the total internet population. As using the internet becomes increasingly common and popular among seniors, they are heading to the online sphere to perform a variety of tasks, including planning and booking holidays (eMarketer).
A recent study by AARP predicts that over eight in 10 US consumers aged 50 and older make use of websites to plan and book their leisure trips. Especially within the cohort of 60-69 year olds the online travel penetration is extremely high (91%). Also the higher income groups are more likely to plan and book their holidays online.
ACTIVE SENIORS AS FUTURE GRWOTH SEGMENT
Although the statistics are based exclusively on the US market, the main implication is applicable across European and Asian markets as well, due to the similarity in demographics. That is, due to advances in diets and medicine men and women are living longer and are healthier and more active than previous generations. Many will also be wealthier. Following Amadeus Active Seniors in the next 15 to 20 years time will generally be more youthful and adventurous than previous generations.
Technology innovations play a key part for this market segmented. Providing senior travellers the opportunity to customise travel itineraries, thereby allowing them to take more control over the trip experience will be increasingly critical. For example, enabling them to book extra leg room for long-haul parts of their journey and a standard seat for short haul parts to save money is a feature that could help winning them over as customers. In addition, with senior citizens becoming the biggest demographic group in many developed nations, it will be more and more important to address their unique information needs. Health and accessibility related information is important for their travel planning and decision making behaviour. This provides a great opportunity for DMOs, who can satisfy those specific needs. For instance, offering dedicated smartphone apps or customised online maps on their website, will deliver critical information that can help convert website visitors into customers.
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