When you think of the perfect target audience in the hospitality industry, what comes to mind? Perhaps a picture of a 30-something couple sipping margaritas in front of their luxury hotel on the beach?
While it’s certainly great to market towards young professionals in hospitality and tourism, there is a much larger untapped market with far more resources to travel: the silver generation or those who are above 50.
Studies have shown that people aged 65 and older, specifically, are spending more money in the hospitality sector. Although, for the most part, they are no longer a part of the workforce, they still have a lot of spending power.
The Advantages of Marketing to Seniors
When it comes to marketing to the silver generation, unfortunately, so many businesses simply ignore this demographic. However, there are many reasons that hoteliers specifically may want to market to older travelers.
1. Traveling in Groups
With the senior traveling demographic, accessibility is often a consideration. Some travelers may require special arrangements to meet their needs. In general, customers have higher expectations these days. This is especially the case when it comes to accessibility. You must do everything you can to meet the needs of your guests.
Seniors often travel together in groups, and if a hotelier goes out of their way to meet one guest’s needs, they are much more likely to be recommended when a group is seeking a hotel that will meet the needs of an entire group–which may have mobility considerations for multiple people.
2. Traditional Lodging
Seniors are more likely to book hotels than to try vacation rentals or other forms of alternate lodging because they are more familiar with the process of staying in a hotel. It may also be important for seniors to know that there is a front desk agent available to help them to find shopping, restaurants, and local entertainment.
3. Longer, More Frequent Trips
With less intense work and family obligations, the silver generation has more time to travel. This means they will be able to stay longer and take more frequent trips. Longer and more frequent trips maximize profits for hotels, which is imperative as the hospitality industry comes back from the impacts of the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tips for Marketing to the Silver Generation
Once you have a better understanding of the importance of marketing to the silver generation, you may be asking yourself how to go about doing that. Here are several tips to help you when creating advertising or marketing content.
1. Use Language They Can Relate To
It’s easy to tell when someone is trying to market to Millennials or Gen Z by the jargon, internet slang, or trendy language they might use. The silver generation is going to appreciate a little more upfront language. Don’t use internet slang to make jokes. They may not know what you are talking about, and they will be likely to move on.
2. Make it Personal
Create an ad campaign specifically geared toward seniors. Feature senior actors in commercials or marketing imagery. Establish that your hotel is very senior-friendly, and you are especially welcoming the silver generation to your hotel.
3. Make it Easy
This generation didn’t grow up with smartphones in their hands so some things won’t be second nature to them. They may not know some terms within an app or a website. It’s important to make any instructions as clear as possible. This is good advice for marketing content targeted toward any age, though.
Making Your Hotel More Senior-Friendly
You understand the benefits of marketing toward the older generation, and now you have a few tips on how to do that more effectively, but how can you approach making your hotel more welcoming for the silver generation?
1. Think About the Whole Experience
Consider the entire experience of a guest in your hotel from start to finish: from booking the trip to arriving at the hotel to enjoying comforts and services during a guest’s stay to departing. This is a good thing to do for every guest, not just seniors, but it’s important to do this exercise from that perspective. As you go through this process, is there anything that can be improved? Make a note of any ideas as they come up.
2. Reevaluate Your Services
Is there a way you can reframe the services you already offer? Studies have shown that focusing on health and wellness can be an effective marketing technique for hotels. Could you think outside the box and add additional services? It may be worth it to take a look at your hotel as it is currently operating and consider whether or not you could add any services or reframe any services you already offer.
3. Make Sure You Are Accessibility Friendly
Does your hotel provide accommodations for people with disabilities and mobility issues? Is there a way for people with disabilities to enter the pool? Are there wheelchair ramps and working elevators? These are all great things to make sure of. For more information on considerations for accessibility, read about the Americans with Disabilities Act.
When it comes to hospitality, a massive portion of those who are traveling belong to the silver generation. The last thing you want to do is miss out on being a part of the adventures with this exciting group of people just because you haven’t been advertising to them.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to the hospitality industry, business productivity, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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About Are Morch
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