Age is nothing but a number. That is the underlying motivation for the older set wanting to book more active travel adventures.
The travel industry is witnessing a significant shift with an aging yet increasingly active demographic of travelers seeking more than just conventional luxury tours involving a leisurely-paced cruise or train trip.
G Adventures, known for its active, multi-day trips connecting young travelers with diverse cultures and local communities, is responding to this trend by launching its Geluxe Collection.
Scheduled for booking from May 2024, this new line of travel experiences is designed to cater to the evolving needs of its over-50s customers, which now represent about 35% of its clientele.
“As a brand, we’ve evolved. We’ve gotten older. And our customers are growing with us. They’re staying more active for longer, so they want something that meets their needs,” said G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip.
As the global population ages, the United Nations reports that people over 65 are the fastest-growing age group, with their numbers expected to surpass those aged 15 to 24 by 2050. This demographic shift certainly requires the travel industry to adapt and cater to the needs of older travelers.
But while an ill-advised default is to consider that old means decrepit, that’s not necessarily the reality for Boomers and Gen-Xers who are taking better care of themselves, actively seeking a lifestyle geared towards wellness and longevity.
Active Luxury for Older Adventurers
As G Adventures ventures into this higher-end market, the challenge is to meet the luxury expectations of its older, active travelers without compromising its core values of sustainable and community-focused travel.
“They were telling us they wanted more luxury with active experiences, but also wanted to not give away the reason they traveled with us in the first place, which is the community tourism elements … We didn’t want to call the product luxury as we don’t want to be restrictive on where we go, based on accommodation standards,” said Poon Tip. “We’re not going to stay at the Oman hotel because it’s the best in the area. Because we think that sacrifices the community experience. So it’s the highest comfort level if you will, but that’s also locally owned and encompasses our Ripple Score, making sure that the impact is given to local communities.”
Driven by customer feedback and a desire to meet the changing needs of an aging yet adventurous clientele, the collection launches with 28 initial trips. Features include Your OMG Stay and Your OMG Day.
Your OMG Stay offers accommodation options like the Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia and Refugio Amazonas in Peru. Your OMG Day allows travelers to personalize their journey with a row boat ride and yoga session in Nepal with the Himalayas as a backdrop, a Cape Malay cooking class in South Africa, or a Jeep safari to experience the Saharan nomad cultural heritage of southern Morocco.
Paying a Premium Price
Geluxe’s positioning in the market is both ambitious and cautious. The premium product also shifted from G Adventures’ traditional approach of finding far-flung or lesser-explored destinations to what customers shared with the business across its platforms. While catering to older travelers influenced the creation of Geluxe trips, there are no age restrictions.
It is priced higher than G Adventures’ other premium offering, National Geographic Journeys. For example, a 9-day Costa Rica NatGeo adventure costs about $1,863 per person, excluding flights. Meanwhile, its Geluxe Collection 8-day Costa Rica trip is $3,620 per person excluding flights.
According to Poon Tip, it’s difficult to peg the new Geluxe product down to price “as it is based on different destinations and every destination is different.”
“We have always had an active series; our general market is 37 to 40-year-olds. The average age is 37 for that product,” said Poon Tip. “But our data shows people very specifically want active and luxury. And so that’s what we’re going after.”
G Adventures recently experienced its strongest financial performance in 33 years, beyond the initial post-Covid travel surge, claimed Poon Tip.
“There has been a 50% increase in business over 2022 and a 20% increase from pre-COVID levels in 2019. We’ve exceeded all targets in our first quarter of our new fiscal year for 2024,” said Poon Tip.
He also noted a shift in travel patterns for the G Adventure customer, with people now favoring fewer but extended and more in-depth stays in destinations. This change aligns well with G Adventures’ focus as travelers increasingly seek meaningful experiences.
“I would never wish a pandemic on anyone. But I always say never waste a good crisis because the travelers coming out of the pandemic have been more in line with what we do,” said Poon Tip. “They’re staying longer and going deeper in destination and traveling less frequently per year; instead of taking three one-week trips a year, they’re staying longer in single destinations, which is perfect. That is a gift for us.”