LONDON: Travel brands should consider a more sophisticated marketing approach when it comes to older consumers rather than simply putting them in a catch-all over-50 category, new research has claimed.

Digital performance marketing agency iProspect polled 1,012 online UK consumers aged 30+, examining their attitudes to media and technology. It found that age was no barrier to getting inspired, researching and booking travel online.

Consumers aged 50-59 were just as likely as those in the 30-49 age group to make their holiday arrangements digitally. And 72% of the 50-69 age group said they found the internet more convenient than visiting a travel agent on the high street. Even among the over-70s, a majority (69%) preferred to book online.

Over half of those surveyed felt the web offered more holiday inspiration than a traditional brochure: 55% of those aged 50-59 and 52% of 60-69 year olds used the internet to discover new destinations.

And while price was obviously a factor in their ultimate decision, just under half of 50-59 year olds (45%) were taking notice of online customer reviews, on a par with the younger age group (49% of 30-49 year olds).

Sandra McDill, Managing Partner at iProspect said that while older age groups were increasingly using the internet to organise holidays and experiences, they were still largely overlooked by travel brands.

"This generation commands a large amount of wealth that they are looking to spend on leisure, presenting a huge opportunity for marketers," she said, urging travel providers to come up with cross-platform solutions "based on interests and behaviour rather than pigeonholing groups by age".

"By personalising online experiences, travel brands can introduce a human element that is central to building loyalty and driving conversions with older customers," she added.

The findings echo those of a recent study – A Life Less Linear – by RAPP, the UK full-service agency, which warned that marketers needed to rethink their lifestage marketing strategies.

"Lifestages are changing," said Paul Philips, head of media strategy at RAPP, "and having a pre-packaged set of expectations and behaviours is provocative". Age remained a useful indicator of lifestyles, preferences and choices, but it was by no means the only measure.

Data sourced from iProspect; additional content by Warc staff