Restaurants and hotels losing billions by neglecting the over 65’s

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Over 65s spend more on hospitality services than any other age group
Over 65s spend more on hospitality services than any other age group

Related tags: Le bistrot pierre

The UK hospitality sector has lost at least £16bn in potential revenue over the last year by ignoring the over 65 age group, according to a report from Barclays Corporate Banking released today.

Despite the older generation spending £37bn on hospitality last year, 76 per cent of businesses have no plans to introduce products or services targeting this age group and 28 per cent see little financial opportunities in catering to them.

The report found that over 65s spent more on restaurants and hotels than any other age group, averaging £556 on eating out and £878 on UK hotels per head last year.

“There appears to be a gulf between the perception and reality of the spending power of over 65s,” said Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays.

A missed opportunity

The report warned that the ‘missed opportunity’ is set to increase in line with the UK’s ageing population. The number of people aged 65 and over is set to grow 23.3 per cent by 2020, and despite four in five operators planning investment in their business in the next five years, only 15 per cent will be dedicated to services for the over 65s.

In London and the South East this figure dropped to 8 per cent, despite 94 per cent of operators in the region rating themselves 'engaged' or 'highly engaged' with the age group.

“More needs to be done to start planning and accommodating for the currently ‘overlooked generation’,” said Saul.

“By investing in targeting these customers now, businesses can ensure they are able to meet and capitalise on the increasing demand.”

According to Barclays’ report, the total annual spend of over 65s on the hospitality and leisure industry has the potential to grow to at least £57bn by 2025.

Casual dining benefits

Le Bistrot Pierre​ and Loch Fyne​ have both experienced growth by catering to affluent retirees.

Speaking to BigHospitality in 2011, Le Bistrot Pierre founder John Whitehead said: “It’s a great demographic: relatively high disposable income, financially secure, not faddy or fickle…they are very loyal.”

Le Bistrot Pierre has since grown to thirteen sites​, while Loch Fyne operates 41 seafood restaurants nationwide.

Barclays report, titled An ageing population: the untapped potential for hospitality and leisure businesses, ​was based on research conducted by Critical, which interviewed 564 hospitality businesses and 1,100 consumers between January-February 2015.

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