Monday, February 17, 2014

Building Hotel Brand Loyalty -- The Senior Traveler

Between the “Baby Boomer” generation reaching retirement age and advances in medicine helping the “War” generation live longer, more active lives, there has never been a time with more senior citizens than right now. And the number of seniors is only going to grow in the coming years. This amounts to a sizable segment of potential hotel guests. Many hotels try to earn the patronage of the senior traveler merely with “senior discounts,” forgetting that it takes much more to earn the loyalty of the most experienced travelers.

Making hotels more friendly to a rapidly aging population should be mostly centered around changes in attitude and the training of staff to be more sensitive to the needs of seniors. Instilling an awareness in personnel that things such as strength, stamina, hearing, sight, and balance decline with age is important in anticipating the needs of seniors. This is crucial for providing outstanding hotel service to those guests. Another factor to be taken into consideration is the way Baby Boomers dismiss the facts of getting older. They do not like being treated as seniors, despite the reality of their age, because they still think of themselves as young. So in addition to the anticipation of their needs, providing excellent service to Boomers requires a degree of discretion.

Beyond training and awareness there are some changes to hotel operations and amenities that will make seniors more at home. Implementing some or all of these would go a long ways toward making seniors more likely to book the hotel again.


  • Streamline the check-in process in order to keep seniors from standing in line for extended periods of time. Ensure valet and porter service is available immediately upon arrival.
  • Avoid small or fine print in all hotel guest documents, room controls, menus, and other hotel amenity items. Restrict all forms to that which is absolutely necessary.
  • Respond quickly and efficiently to service requests and provide swift and positive response to complaints that need to be rectified. Doing otherwise can make some seniors feel helpless.
  • Be clear and straightforward regarding any ancillary hotel charges.
  • Have staff and facilities prepared for medical emergency scenarios that will arise.
  • Be sure hotel staff know precisely what to do in response to a variety of situations. 

Seniors, particularly Baby Boomers, will encompass significant and increasing numbers of hotel guests going forward in time. It is best for both the hospitality industry and its customers that hotels are fully prepared to welcome all guests to their establishment.


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