It staggers me that the hotel industry seems slow to wake up to the issues and opportunities surrounding the ageing population in Asia while savvy hoteliers in the USA seem to be adapting well. Here are a few examples:
In St. George, Utah the Wingate by Wyndham is aiming to be among the dozen or so area hotels to host the The Senior Games’ for competitors and their supporters.
Competitors who, in other venues, might be considered well past their athletic prime, strive for their personal bests in sports such as basketball, badminton, archery, swimming and triathlon. The Senior Games is a two-week marathon of activity that, founded in 1987, celebrates devotees of fitness beyond 50, and draws from a global population of competitors.
The hotel also plans to offer senior-friendly activities such as golfing, theater and ‘visiting friends’ are pursuits more typical of older guests than the track and field, competitive mountain biking or tennis.
As others in the industry know, it pays to get in the game and compete for these guests – and not just by offering senior discounts.
The Wingate also offers packages to senior guests interested in area attractions beyond the two weeks of games. They have outfitted some rooms with a roll-in shower to accommodate wheelchairs, and technology to assist blind and hearing-impaired people. This is the hotel’s way to keep things welcoming, especially to older guests who may not be as able-bodied as the athletes that flood the scene each October.
At the Hotel Elysee in Manhattan, maintaining a simple and uncluttered Web site, and adhering to traditional rather than trendy ambience has already put their offerings on the map for guests 55 and older. In fact, 35 percent of the hotel’s bookings draw from that age group. This also is reflected in their décor. They have a French country kind of feel. Not mirrors and glass, or a gimmick (like a female doorman ready to take your luggage).
But words for the wise from SILVER; “They’re older, but not necessarily ‘old’ and not all the same. You need to target by life stage. In fact, one of the most critical elements of marketing to the 50-plus group is targeting the life stage they are in. Travel needs are different between 50, 60 and 70.
Recognizing this, the hotel ensures that, while hotel rooms are outfitted with modern electronics, so you don’t need a college degree to operate the shower or the television. The alarm clock is easy to figure out. And if there is a DVR and they need help, there’s ready service to help them.
In British Columbia, this year marks the second annual Whistler Seniors Celebration, November 16-19 at the landmark Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Although it is only in its second year, the hotel has always done special outreach to older guests. The hotel has had to change with the times – and the tastes – of older guests because the product that seniors are looking for has changed. While food and beverage offerings, such as our daily Afternoon Tea, continue to be popular, so do interactive/learning offerings such as Foraging for Wild Mushrooms with Chef. The hotel also offers guests a variety of activities such as Stretching, Yoga and Nature Walks through our Health Club.
Now, the hotel has the celebration, a hotel-based, three-day getaway, which concentrates all those year-round efforts in one intense senior-centric event.
Adapted from this article in Hotel Interactive.