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How Do You Reach the Senior Community That’s Looking to Travel?

By Hank Cohen on August 4, 2016

Whether it’s hitting the open road or hopping on a cruise to an exotic locale, today’s seniors have become one of the fastest growing segments of adults traveling for leisure. They’re living longer with more active, healthier lives, have access to retirement savings, time to spare, and a renewed sense of adventure. Marketing to senior citizens is important because they are traveling more than ever before.

How Seniors Determine Travel Locations

For many seniors, a lot of travel is devoted to visiting grandchildren, but that doesn’t stop them from finding time for up to four or five vacations a year. The travel choices seniors make can widely vary across the entire demographic.

As people get older, they often have bucket lists of things they want to see or do while they are still able.This could include exploring on an educational guided tour, which helps keep aging minds engaged and active. Taking a luxurious cruise with exciting activities, gourmet food, and stops at exotic ports also appeals to older travelers who can partake in as many or as few activities that they desire. In 2015, more seniors expressed interest in cruise travel.

Researching and Booking Vacations

Many seniors are very technically savvy and will research and book vacations online. They also know a good deal when they see it. By having less-restrictive schedules, seniors are more flexible, thus making it easy for them to score a deal by traveling during off-peak seasons.

According to a recent AARP survey:

  • 36% of seniors traveling abroad chose Europe as a destination.
  • 37% chose a tropical vacation in the Caribbean or South America.

For domestic vacationers in the United States:

  • Locations in the South accounted for 37% of trips.
  • 16% of travelers chose Florida.
  • 26% visited destinations in the West.
  • 19% traveled to the Northeast.

Traveling Alone or With a Group

Depending upon their circumstances, some seniors may prefer to travel alone, while others enjoy the camaraderie of traveling with a group. Group travel could be a bus tour or a boat cruise with people who have similar interests. Educational tours are very popular among seniors who believe in exercising their minds.

Research conducted by the hotel industry found that:

  • 60% of seniors would rather stay in a condo versus a hotel.
  • 68% of grandparents prefer to stay in a hotel, instead of with their grandchildren.
  • Seniors value comfort over money when making travel decisions.
  • Bigger amenities attract seniors.

Reaching Seniors Through a Multi-Media Approach

Today’s population of older adults is more technically advanced than ever before. Many own computers and a host of other electronic gadgets, including tablets, Smartphones, and eBook readers. As seniors have gravitated to the electronic age, the means for marketing to this group have also needed to evolve. Social media can be a great way to reach seniors.

Lead Generation Against the Senior Market

Seniors are more apt to read their mail; therefore, direct mail remains a tried and true method of marketing to seniors by generating 50% of leads.

Lead generation percentages via other marketing methods are as follows:

  • Radio: 4%
  • Television: 7%
  • Email: 7%
  • Content/Inbound: 14%
  • Digital Re-Targeting: 7%

Analytical Attribution

Implementing a state of the art marketing attribution platform, such as Accutrak®, in your multi-media campaign will allow for real time optimization which will provide the insight necessary to make the right decision on your media investments.

When marketing to senior citizens, you need to understand that they have varied interests and are searching for a good deal. By appealing to their sense of adventure and providing them a fair deal, you’re golden! For more information on how to plan, buy and optimize a media campaign targeted against seniors contact Hank Cohen WindStar Media/CEO at

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