Travel company banks on tablets to reach older audience

Irish holiday company The Travel Department is expanding across the UK with a strategy to target its older customers via tablet computers.

travel department
The Travel Department believes older holiday-makers are now tech-savvy.

The company, helmed by former Thomson Holidays marketer Tim Williamson,offers escorted tours and targets the “increasingly tech-savvy over 50s market”.

It is refreshing its website and has a devised a digitally-led campaign together with its agency Designate.

CEO Williamson says that research shows the over 50 market is taking up tablets thanks to low entry price points and ease of use.

He says that tablets are no longer “some yuppy exclusive tool given everyone will have one” and that they are very useful for travellers thanks to their video functionality and ability to refer to websites and bookings.

“Our audience is more likely to book from a tablet – they might do a lot of research on smartphones but there is not a lot of bookings from them.”

The company has launched a new eCRM programme for UK customers and an enhanced online marketing programme including more focus on PPC and SEO. It is also ramping up its social media presence.

There will be supporting press and online advertising beginning in the new year in the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

Williamson says that competitors in the escorted tours sector are still wedded to “reader offer” press ads for marketing but “this is not a good model” as it means the newspaper controls the customer data, the positioning of ads and takes a commission.

“We have done a lot of research into where the marketing spend is from our competitors in the UK and we do not see anyone owning the digital space.”

The Travel Department has unveiled a new brand identity and the new website has a cleaner layout and improved search functions. A brand new “My Travel Department” will allow customers to login and check on details of their holidays, such as any visa requirements.

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