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What you should never call an older traveller

Biggest ever study reveals travel planning habits of over-55s market

A new in-depth report has been released on Australia’s seniors travel sector, revealing the planning and booking habits of the over-55s market, the opportunities these present to businesses, and even what not to call an older traveller (but more on that later). 


The largest-ever study conducted in Australia on the topic, the Future of Seniors Travel 2019 Report most significantly shows that the over-55s market is cashed up, and willing and able to travel. 



It also found that the market represents the “greatest untapped growth opportunity in the global travel industry” yet remains largely ignored or misunderstood by marketers. 


According to the report, two in five (40%) over-65 year-olds spend between $11000 and $50000 per person per year on travel, “making this sector the most lucrative travel opportunity we are likely to see in our lifetime”. 


Key to this is the fact that Baby Boomers hold over half (53%) of Australia’s wealth despite making up just a quarter of the population. 


Report author and New Young Consulting CEO Bronwyn White, called the findings ground-breaking but shocking. 


“The research process was fascinating as the focus groups just kept breaking apart all those common misperceptions including that they are out of touch with technology for research, booking and paying; they prefer ‘low-key’ experiences and are not interested in indigenous culture and history,” said Ms White, who has almost 30 years experience in the travel industry across airlines, national tourism boards and tour operators and whose company specialises in the senior traveller market. 



On top of this, the report found that older travellers could be either early planners or spontaneous, would travel during low and shoulder seasons, and use travel agents for complex trips but often use the web for more simple bookings. 


Interestingly, they do not relate to stereotypical photos of senior travellers, and hate being called “seniors” in marketing. 


“Baby Boomers were our first backpackers, the Lonely Planet generation, long before TripAdvisor and review sites were around. Today’s over-55s were a product of the ‘swinging sixties’ and the seventies,” White said. 


“They were wild, adventurous and exploratory. Many are looking to rekindle the fire through travel adventures once the kids leave home.” 


The report can be ordered through the New Young website


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 15 April 2019

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