Originally I posted this in August 2015, I wanted to remind you that I’m happy to research and promote companies who do not discriminate on age.
In my new state of mindfulness assisted by Buddha and an Apple app, I still sadly find myself annoyed, disappointed and sometimes downright cross, which I agree is a very British emotion.
“What causes this disgruntlement?” I hear you cry. “Well…” it is due to the travel industry and how they exclude consumers purely basing their bias on age.
You need to market to your ‘audience’, I know that, I’ve done sales training. Demographics are a basic foundation stone to achieving sales. Your audience is those people who have an interest in your product, who contact you, buy your products or more commonly these days those who find you in the leviathan aka the internet.
I have searched the world wide web to track down a travel company who specialises in yak riding in the upper volta, yes this is a slightly exaggerated example used to illustrate the argument. However, can you imagine my frustration at being told I can partake this exclusive and no doubt thrilling occupation but only if I haven’t yet reached the grand old age of 31!
A travel company who specialise in gap year travel helped with honeymoon arrangements supporting my own efforts to visit Asia. I had the nerve to get married over that magic age of 31, something young ones find amusing if not totally confusing. To be honest it confused me a bit too!
I been greeted by a travel agent staff member (no name tag luckily) who reluctantly left their ‘much more important than an old customer’ cup of tea to advise they ‘usually cater to people who are at university’. He only just managed to avoid the ‘you’re too old for me to care’ which still came across with his follow up statement of ‘most of our tours are aimed at those under 30.’ Ironically I attended university, and graduated, in my 40’s too so his comment made even less sense to me.
Avoiding physical assault charges by resisting the temptation to show that old women can still pack a punch I took the moral high ground and left. I returned later and spoke to my usual contact, female, who BRILLIANTLY helped arrange a bucket list trip. I think it’s such a shame that the company could have missed out and so could I because of a prejudice without any foundation.
The ‘pink pound’ of the 80’s was replaced with the ‘financial equity release’ of the 00’s this continues and with massive redundancy packages and streamlining of employers getting older people out and about at much younger ages. Surely this is a massive market. They aren’t all wealthy, they aren’t all able to or want to use 5 star hotels with armed guards or take a sedate cruise. As a single mum I struggled to afford a tent let alone a flight. Now I am able to book on budget flights and travel abroad I refuse to allow someone to stop me because of my date of birth.
Many, many want to enjoy their newly gained freedom, spend money in ethical outlets and tick off items on the bucket lists. Please can companies start opening up their tours to this group? We aren’t all in bath chairs however we may not want to get rat a*sed overnight either. I’m fairly sure not everyone below the age of 30 wants to do that either to be fair.
In the past month I have been excluded from a travel photography competition, a travel competition and a writing competition all because I now have a lower number in my DOB box. WHY!! I now have the time to do these things, I may want to share them with my offspring or friends and as mortality is looming, so I’m informed by the looks of the younger travel staff, I have the enthusiasm to get up and do it too.
If younger people now need colouring books to destress them, maybe its time to accept that older folk may actually want to see outside their bubble and ‘burbs and partake of food, drink and activities. That may be in their own country or in the web that is the real big wide world.
Ageism in the travel industry, can we move on please? A major incentive to start my blog was to share with others the joy of experiencing independent travel. I intend to push my own boundaries and will share what I can with my readers. Please subscribe if you share the will to enjoy your life, no matter what age. I don’t record your DOB, its not relevant to me, and shouldn’t be to others.