Britain’s older generation have overtaken youngsters as the great travellers in recent times. They now account for 58% of all travel and tourism spend.
According to a recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, more and more Brits are travelling further afield and seeking more adventurous and inspiring holidays. Tourists aged 55 and over now spend £8.5 billion.
However, the market for those over 50s wanting to do something different from the typical cruise or packaged holiday is quite limited.
Sure, there are holidays available to far off destinations run by companies targeting over 50s. These typically promise an experience of a lifetime, with a range of trips to explore local landmarks and experience local cuisine.
These holidays can be ‘identikit’ holidays, generally aimed at the luxury end of the holiday market, based on the thinking that older people have more disposable income to pay for that luxury.
One less than obvious point is that holiday operators all use roughly the same type of hotel and in reality their customers, wanting to explore the local landmarks, are herded onto the same local experience trips, which are highly controlled opportunities for the locals and occasionally the travel companies themselves to up-sell to the holidaymaker. Flexibility and free time are generally not built into the experience.
Another downside of the 0ver 50s package holiday market is the sometimes fair, sometimes extortionate, single supplements. The market also includes a fair number of single, widowed or separated individuals seeking to get away from it all, but who have to pay over the odds when compared to couples; a bugbear of anyone who’s had to travel on their own, regardless of age.
Sometimes, package holidays just are not enough.
For those over 50 wanting a more bespoke holiday, what opportunities are available to experience a more authentic holiday?
AirBnB allows individuals to in effect rent out spare bedrooms in their own houses to those looking for not only cheap accommodation but also for those who want to interact with the usually amenable local home owner. Staying in someone else’s house can become a far more personal and rewarding experience than interacting with the typical package holiday tour rep.
However, AirBnB can be off-putting to the over 50: a quick look on the website reveals images clearly showing that its target market is far younger.
Enter The Freebird Club: a new travel-based social network for the over 50’s. It is a membership club, which enables peer-to-peer social travel and homestays between like-minded people from around the world.
Freebird Club members can make their spare rooms available to fellow members to come and stay for a nightly rate. While it has been described as something of a ‘Silver Airbnb’, it is much more social than that. Freebird visits always involve staying with a live-in host present, as the focus is as much on enjoying the company as the accommodation.
The Freebird Club offers a whole new way of travelling for mature adults, a means to earn extra money through their homes, and a fun accessible way to meet new people and enjoy social and cultural interaction in later life.
Founder Peter Mangan came up with the idea when he saw how much enjoyment his father Owen (a widower and retired vet) was getting from interacting with older guests while managing his son’s holiday home in Co. Kerry, Ireland.
Owen is now a Freebird host in his own right, and welcoming people on a regular basis to his own home. He enjoys the camaraderie immensely, and finds the additional income a nice bonus.
The Freebird Club has won some major international awards, most recently the 2017 European Social Innovation Tournament. The awards, which recognize innovative projects creating social value and inclusion, are organised annually by the European Investment Bank. This marks the ”European double” for Freebird, having previously won the European Social Innovation Competition run by the European Commission.
It’s clear that the Freebird Club is not just an innovative worldwide holiday venue provider, but one of its key focuses is on growing an international community, providing social value and inclusion to its members.
The organisation is keen not only for people to take up the opportunity to stay with like minded people all over the world, but to consider joining in as a host.
The Freebird Club is now offering 50% DISCOUNT on its once-off Joining Fee to all our readers who join before 7th January 2018. To avail of this offer, visit the Freebird Club websitewww.thefreebirdclub.com and join using the following voucher code in lieu of payment: FREEBIRDOFFER2017.
Interested? Here’s how becoming a Freebird Club member benefits you:
It’s a fun, accessible way to meet new people, make friends, and enjoy social and cultural interaction as you grow older
As a member you can choose to be a guest, a host, or indeed both
For those with a spare room, it offers a new source of income in later life
You will not just be a member of a travel club, but part of a growing global ‘peer-to-peer’ community
Staying with locals (especially elders with the benefit of local history) makes for a more rewarding and authentic travel experience
It offers cheaper accommodation options than standard hotels & guesthouses
For more information about the Freebird Club, Loving Life After 50 members can contact them using the following details: