Research from email service provider, Mailjet, has revealed that ‘The Grey Pound’ – consumers aged 55 and above – is a high spending segment during off peak holiday seasons, but travel brands are failing to serve tailored ads on relevant channels to capture this audience.
May, June and September are the months when the over 55 market is most likely to travel, with over half of the demographic (56%) planning trips within this time period. 65% are most likely to use the travel company that proactively offers them travel deals and discounts via email. However, this is an opportunity being missed by the majority of brands; one third (32%) of respondents state that they never receive relevant offers or discounts.
Nearly two thirds of the respondents are not satisfied with the emails sent by travel brands. 27% say the messages they currently receive are too targeted towards younger generations, 17% believe brands use language that’s overtly persuasive and 23% say that they do not focus on customer service or provide advice.
No time like the present
The opportunity at this time of year is substantial. Whilst the vast majority of respondents admitted they will only travel abroad once a year (68%), one in ten set aside over £5,000 for their annual holiday budget.
Added to this, 82% spend less than a month planning their trip. This suggests that marketers must start targeting this segment when purchase intent is greatest and will see success from promoting packages at a higher price point.
No longer the offline generation
Older generations are more tech savvy than ever before; less than a tenth (8%) of over 65s are now checking travel brochures as part of their path to purchase. By comparison, a whopping 62% of Brits over 65 now have a Facebook profile.
Nonetheless, traditional online marketing channels remain strongest with nine in ten respondents checking their emails every day; that’s more than double the number checking Facebook (40%).
Trust for purchasing online amongst this demographic has also risen significantly in recent years. Now, nearly a third (32%) see no limit to how much they’re prepared to spend online, believing it’s just as safe as an in-store transaction.
Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet, comments; “It’s important to realise that different generations are moving into the digital age at varying paces. The Grey Pound presents huge opportunity to the travel sector and brands mustn’t ignore this high spending demographic in their email marketing. Marketers can look to technology to better understand their target audience and how to reach those individuals effectively.”
Old fashioned values, digital world
Personalisation is key to the over 55 demographic. 84% of over 55s will delete anything that looks salesy, but will open emails from known brands or companies (i.e. their supermarket or a recently used travel service). Similarly, 60% of the respondents who agreed that they would be more likely to book with a travel company that proactively approached them over email also stipulated that these interactions had to be personalised to their travel interests.
Josie concludes; “There’s something of a paradox in marketing today. We have to think very carefully about choosing the right channel, time and location to engage with different segments, but we must not forget about the importance of capturing the audience’s attention. Marketers need to focus on creating email content that is personalised and therefore captivates their audience.”