The Inverted Pyramid

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Today is momentous.  For the first time, those classed as pensioners can get their hands on their cash in lump sums rather than in weekly / monthly instalments.  This is potentially huge.

Imagine someone with a few pensions, one main one but lots of little ones here and there with a £1,000 or a bit more in each.  Lets say £5,000 knocking around doing nothing which can now be claimed.  So how many people are over the age of 55 ??(thats the age one can access the cash if they wish).

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Well, according to a report from Age UK there are 22.7 million people over the age of 50 and 11 million people over the age of 65, so somewhere in-between those two numbers.  either way it’s a lot.  According to a radio 4 reports today, about 2 million people can take cash out right now, today.  2 million.  Huge.  Lets say they have £5,000 each spare.  Thats £10bn coming into the markets.  What might they do with the windfall?  go on holiday maybe…..

Massive change.  It’s also worth noting two other material points;

1.  These rules won’t change in the near future.  So, pensions can access more cash should thy wish.

2.  There are people over the age of 65 than under the age of 16 in the UK.

According to a parliamentary report the mean age int he UK is just over 40.  So, there are more people over the age of 45 than under.  The inverted population age pyramid, I know, it’s a snappy name i have come up with.

This fact has profound consequences.  I shall focus on one.  Holidays  Actually, mobile in the holiday market, not the travel market, but holidays.  This is an important distinction.  I think more people will take more holidays as they have access to cash that was previously unavailable.  So, over the past year years all I have heard from various bodies within the industry is make sure your holiday business is amazing on mobile, the best, you must have mobile and really you MUST have an app.

Much of this I think, is rubbish and misdirected advice for holidays businesses from those who haven’t thought things through.

Those who spend good money on holidays re typically those over the age of 40.

Those that use apps are typically under the age of 25.

Those who book holidays on the phone and indeed desktop are over the age of 40.

Those who have less money to go on holiday are typically those under the age of 25.

So, those under 25 years old make a small proportion of the market.  Why should one bother focusing on mobile?

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One shouldn’t.  Yes, it’s good to have a mobile friendly site, probably better for tablets actually as people like to shop for holidays, people like to browse, look at pictures, get a feel for the place(s) they’re looking at.  Is mobile really great for that?  maybe some, pending screen size but not all.  Maybe a customer shall use a mobile to add a holiday to a short list, but serious research and booking?  No, the vast majority do not book on mobile.

I am not saying mobile isn’t important but one has to think about context.  If one is buying a hotel stay they yes, mobile is great.  But a hotel stay is not a holiday.  A holiday is far more complicated and far more emotive, especially for families.

Good use of mobile for a holiday business can be seen with Thomson.  An app for wen in resort, otherwise, really, get on the laptop / desk top / tablet.  The mobile site is ok of course but the experience is better on desktop / tablet.

I’d go so far to guess that those holiday businesses who have launched apps will reap less than 1% of bookings via their apps.  Those with mobile sites may get a few more bookings through but the vast majority remain on desktop.  For now.  What I am trying to say is if one is in the business of holidays, you have some time to get your holiday proposition on mobile right.

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