How Travel Agencies Attract Over 60 Female Travelers



Do you think an exclusive and inclusive Caribbean vacation resort is the ultimate in travel fun for women over 60? Well, other women our age might prefer to walk 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, kayak in New Zealand, or hike in Switzerland. Travelers over 60 are as diverse as an age group could be. Its members are married, divorced, widowed, single, heterosexual and homosexual, of all races and ethnicities. And a growing number of them have dedicated travel savings coupled with the urge to go.

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The power of over 60 women who hit the road

Numerous studies have shown that baby boomers travel more often and on longer journeys than other generations, and that they spend more money on their trips.

And the moving power of baby boomers is largely fueled by women over 60. In fact, an article in United States today reports that 80% of all travel decisions are made by women, “it doesn’t matter where they go, who pays for the trip or who they travel with.” Smart marketers have learned that depending on what kind of travel they’re trying to sell, the message is diversify, diversify, diversify.

While there is still a market for more passive travel – and cruises and bus tours continue to be popular for many – a growing number of women over 60 are looking to travel independently, with old or new friends, with relatives or alone. Marketers and travel agencies would do well to build trust with this cohort.

As an active participant in the online travel community of women over 60, I can report that if people in the industry stay tuned and take note of what women are saying, they will learn some pretty simple ways. to earn the loyalty and interest of this powerful group.

How some travel agencies are attracting loyalty from over 60 women and how to improve

Sporty and fit 60+ year old woman with gray hair happily walks on the beach carrying a surfboard.
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1. Offer a bucket list and transformative experiences

Covid has changed the attitudes of women across the country and around the world. I posted questions to over 60 women’s groups on social media about how travel plans have changed for them. Here are some representative quotes:

“I feel carried away by dreams of traveling as far as possible after a year with nothing.”

“My feeling is ‘Live It Up Now’ because who knows what lies ahead? “

“My to-do list was the places I wanted to go before I died. After the pandemic, I decided to take all the trips on my list. Why wait? I don’t know what the future of my health or the world will be.

“My list has grown! Life is short!”

While to-do lists vary, companies are finding that once rare trips to Antarctica, Easter Island, and even around the world sell out in planned post-pandemic trips.

Luggage rack tag with blank tag on silver suitcase.
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2. Submit travel deals

Travel agencies aimed at this age group offer free air travel on selected tours, discounted flight prices, and professional help with booking flights, among other benefits. Meeting a traveler at the airport with free hotel transfer is a bonus that older travelers appreciate.

3. Offer supplements for inferior or no singles

Most tour operators and cruise lines charge a one-time surcharge for those traveling alone. To get around the additional costs (which are sometimes double the cost for a single passenger), a number of tour operators like Road scholar can match travelers with a roommate. Kelsey Knoedler Perri, director of public relations for the famous educational travel agency, has found that sometimes women “end up being lifelong friends and travel together on more programs” when paired successfully. . Road Scholar and some other companies have also reduced or eliminated supplement charges for one person on certain routes. According to many discussions online, single travelers are looking for such deals.

Senior woman standing next to her tent at Seronera campsite in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
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4. Offer unique cultural experiences

Savvy travel agencies not only offer trips to the countries of their clients’ ancestors – from Ireland to Scandinavia to Italy and Africa – they also schedule activities that provide authentic cultural experiences in these countries. places, such as local get-togethers, cooking classes, genealogy research, or volunteer time. with children or adults. While cruises and tour operators often hit the most iconic sites, women posted to sites online that they also wanted to visit places that may be off the beaten track, less crowded and more meaningful to them.

Lonely gray-haired elderly woman spending a day outdoors on the beach in England.
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5. Address women traveling alone

An increasing number of older women travel alone, which is why Road Scholar, Adventure travel abroad, Fearless journey, and others also offer women-only trips. Kelsey Knoedler Perri notes that “over 60 percent of Road Scholar participants are women, and over a quarter of our participants travel alone, so there is a lot of overlap there. Road Scholar also offers some trips just for women, which provide “a truly special and uplifting atmosphere and fellowship”.

Older woman feeding a squirrel with a treat in the local park.  Beauty in nature series.
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6. Offer different styles of travel for different abilities

Tour operators can offer a balance between traveling in small groups or larger groups, but it is vital for a population in which some participants have physical difficulties to have a choice of activity levels. Road Scholar, for example, lets potential travelers know the activity level of each trip with descriptions.

For older women who are capable, there are also a number of women’s adventure travel agencies available, such as REI Women Adventures, Wild Women Expeditions, and AdventureWomen.

7. Offer off-season trips

Savvy travelers know that the most expensive and busiest travel season is summer. Since older travelers can travel at any time of the year, the other three seasons fill up quickly, with the exception of winter travel. That’s why smart travel agencies book trips all year round. I took a tour of Portugal in the winter which was not only cheaper but the attractions were less crowded. For me, the sunny and cooler days made walking and sightseeing easier.

Senior couple traveling in the airport scene, looking at flight schedules.
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8. Provide fair change and cancellation policies

The world of travel has changed with COVID, and businesses must respond to it. Cancellations of tour dates, flights and cruises are commonplace, and failures to provide timely refunds or exchanges are reported in detail on social media sites. Lack of communication with customers is also a source of complaints, as are difficulties in unsuccessfully reaching someone by phone, email or online who can help them.

9. Build trust by following through on offers and deals

Advertising and marketing mean nothing if travelers feel the victims of broken promises. Reviews of these offers, gadgets and additions are circulating quickly on social media.

10. Keep Track Of Real Women Commenting Online

Travel companies often read statistics and marketing research, but don’t rate Facebook, Instagram, travel blogs, Tripadvisor reviews, and other online comments. And that’s when the truth comes out: complaints about food, hotels, guides, transportation, pace, physical challenges, etc. Women on social media trust the experiences of other women. The cost of travel always matters to women, but the value of this cost is often the most important.

Facebook is particularly popular with women aged 60 and over. There are chat rooms, travel reviews, best value questions, inspirational stories, and recommendations for dating and finding travel partners. Two of my favorite Facebook sites that offer honest trip and trip reviews are the More than 60 women Travel and Meetup Group and More than 60 solo travelers, but there are many more.

Smiling older woman with a glass of wine next to a brown horse.
Simon TG / Shutterstock.com

Reach out to wild hearts, wise spirits, and daring spirits

Ultimately, successful businesses know that a growing number of women aged 60 and over may not need visits. They can find other places to stay and eat, they can organize their own language classes or art or cooking classes. They can change their place of stay or visit people in other countries with whom they have been in contact on social networks. In other words, a growing number of women can do it on their own, especially if the travel industry ignores their wants and needs.

It is estimated that older people will make up nearly a quarter of the world’s population by 2050. And, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, seniors will make more than 2 billion trips per year by 2050. It is time for tour operators, hotels, airlines, rail travel and everyone else to tune in to the power of women over 60 and 70 and even over 80. will exercise. It would be up to the travel industry to note which author Sue Monk Kidd wrote, which inspired older women on the internet and beyond:

“Older women, in particular, have cultivated the wild heart, wise mind, and daring mind that make third acts and late rebirth possible.”

Here are some other travel ideas:


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