Fresh Relevance Roundtable: COVID has driven up digital adoption in older market

Fresh Relevance Roundtable: COVID has driven up digital adoption in older market

Grey market specialists warn against dismissing clients as not being digitally savvy

Travolution and Fresh Relevance hosted an online roundtable with leading specialists in the domestic, cruise, soft adventure and coach tour sectors to discuss latest marketing and consumer trends. Lee Hayhurst reports  

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen rapid adoption of digital by digitally savvy older travel clients, speakers at a virtual Travolution roundtable claimed.

The event, run in partnership with digital marketing agency Fresh Relevance, heard from a number of brands specialising in holidays popular with the over 50s and 70s.

Andy Freeth, chief executive of Just Go and National Holidays parent JG Travel Group which runs coach holidays, warned against dismissing the older generation as technophobes.

He said National Holidays, which was previously operated by Shearing before its collapse, sees just 20 of its traffic from desktop and 50% from mobile.

“Today’s 70 year old was 60 tens years ago and with what’s happened with the pandemic in the last 12 months more people in the older generation have got smartphones.

“A 70-year-old today is young, and we dismiss them as not being digitally savvy. Do not dismiss this generation and think they don’t know how to use the internet.

“It’s really easy to find what you want on a mobile phone and the confidence around online payments is there now.”

Freeth said one of the big changes seen during the pandemic is the move away from offline marketing channels like newspapers and direct mail.

He said everyone is increasingly used to using QR codes to access information or to scan into venues and that this was something JG Travel Group has started using.

Adam Gadenne, digital development specialist at Saga Holidays, said: “A 70 year old is probably recently retired. They were in work five or ten years ago using a computer every day.

“We have seen a shift to online, but that’s probably because we have shifted online because our printer were not in operation for the first three to four months of the pandemic.

“We have had to do a lot more through email and the call centres are really busy and struggling with call volumes to we try to push people online.”