Hotels Cater to Travelers Over 50 With New Targeted Marketing

For too long, the golden rule in travel marketing has been to shy away from guests in their golden years. It’s time to put age before beauty in travel marketing and reprioritize accuracy over the aspirational.

The brawny, bearded and tattooed man in Extended Stay America’s ad titled Summer Adventure Awaits looks at first glance like a hipster beach boy. But give it a second look, and his crow’s feet reveal a man eligible for Medicare who’s eager to catch the next wave instead of grabbing a walker.

Extended Stay America isn’t the only hotel brand seeking to tap into the huge market of mature travelers, with 67 percent of Americans age 50 or older saying they had made travel plans for 2022. Courting that that large and lucrative demographic represents an opportunity for a sea change for marketers, who have typically written off mature consumers as fixed in their travel habits and brand preferences.

So a few bold brands are flipping the conventional script of travel advertising, and featuring more than just young couples and families. Here’s how three brands are shining a spotlight on guests over age 50.

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“For this shoot we intentionally used more senior models to display how all types of guests are welcome at our properties,” said Jennifer Jost, Charlestowne Hotels’ corporate director of marketing strategy. “Boomers are eager and adamant travelers.”

The HarbourView says it saw a 20 percent increase in online bookings for guests older than 65 after posting the video on Facebook and other targeted channels. But Jost believes that it’s important to look at further avenues to reach the demographic that accounts for 38 percent of the company’s total revenue.

“We’ve found that Boomers are much more active on Bing than Google compared to other generations. (Bing) has a much higher return on ad spend than other avenues of search,” Jost said.

Meanwhile, the Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens, another Charlestowne Hotels’ property, has launched an email campaign titled Grown Up Saving that offers special rates for weekday stays, the Collector’s traditional downtime.