Over 50s in online travel boom

Online travel agencies are attracting more of the lucrative over 50s market than traditional high street brands as new research shattered the myth that online travel is monopolised by the younger generation.

The study, by Nielsen//NetRatings, revealed that more almost nine out of ten over 50s have visited a travel site in the last 12 months, with 1.5 million visiting the ‘secure’ booking pages in September alone.

It was unable to say how many had actually completed a transaction.

The research showed the older age range prefer online agencies which hold four of the top five most popular sites.

Expedia was ranked first, with 2.4 million unique users between May and September, followed by lastminute.com with 1.5 million, ebookers with 924,000 and Opodo with 812,000. Only TUI broke the mould, attracting 1.34 unique users.

Nielsen//NetRatings European internet analyst said: “It’s worth pointing out that it’s not simply a case that they’re sticking with offline brands they’ve trusted over the years. Only Thomson make it into the top five.

“If the older generation can utilise the web to such an extent, this bodes well for the web over the next few years.”

But the study also revealed offline brands are beginning to make their presence felt with a 7% increase in visitors numbers in the 12 months to the end of October.

By sector, airlines received 9% more visits from the over 50s in September, cruise lines climbed 107% and hotels rose 35%.

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