Over 65s - huge untapped potential

Ignore the over 65 age group at your peril! This market shelled out some £37 billion on hospitality and leisure in the UK last year, accounting for one fifth of the entire sector.

Yet, according to a new report from Barclays, only five per cent of hospitality businesses believe this is their most important sector, often focusing on the 35-44 year old age group instead.

An ageing population: the untapped potential for hospitality and leisure businesses reportfrom Barclays Corporate Banking published this week, reveals that the UK hospitality and leisure sector has lost out on at least a further £16 billion in additional revenues by underestimating the purchasing power of silver-haired spenders.

Only five per cent of leisure businesses believe this is their key market despite the fact that this ‘overlooked generation’ spend more per head than any other group. What’s worse, of the 564 hospitality and leisure businesses surveyed earlier this year, 76 per cent said they had no plans to launch products or services with older guests in mind.

It is clear from the report that the over 65 age group is a huge and untapped opportunity for the hospitality and leisure Sector within the UK. But there appears to be a gulf between the perception and reality of the spending power of over 65s,” says Mike Saul, Barclay’s head of hospitality and leisure.

We have found that almost two-fifths of businesses in the sector expect that the proportion of their turnover generated by over 65s will increase over the next five years. Yet more needs to be done to start planning and accommodating for this currently ‘overlooked generation’.

“By investment in targeting these customers now, businesses can pre-empt the effects of an ageing population, ensuring they are able to meet and capitalise on the increasing demand,” he said.

And business from the grey pound will continue to rise. This group is predicted to grow by 34 per cent according to the Office for National Statistics, forecast to leap from 11.1m to 16.9m over the next 20 years. On that basis, the older market will be worth a colossal £57 billion.

Coastal resorts are a major draw for older visitors. And they’re the ideal guests, not only are they the biggest spenders, they’re also the most loyal market and often travel off season.

Perhaps it’s time to act and focus on the industry’s most dependable sector.

By Sheron Crossman