Hospitality and leisure businesses neglecting UK’s ageing population 29 Dec 2011 10:01 In a survey of 160 senior executives across the industry the majority (88 percent) claim to be either engaged or highly engaged with the over 65 demographic, but almost two thirds (62 percent) do not have any specific services or products tailored to this group. Of those businesses which do not provide specific offerings for older customers, the vast majority (82 percent) have no plans to introduce any either, with the number one reason given that they simply have not considered it. Just 18 percent said it was because their products and services are suitable for all ages.Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays Corporate said: “This lack of tangible engagement with a generation that has, for decades, shaped what leisure is in the UK should be something of a wake-up call for the sector. As the hospitality industry struggles against multiple headwinds, it would be a mistake to overlook the opportunities this healthier ageing population presents.”The survey itself highlights how important the ageing population now is for the industry, with those businesses surveyed seeing an average of 28 percent of their income coming from the over 65s market. This represents an estimated £25bn of the hospitality industry’s income. This is highly likely to increase as the number of people aged 65 and over rises by an additional 1.4 million in the next five years. Despite this, just three percent of those businesses surveyed are looking to make a major investment in this space.Mike Saul adds: “Capital is under increasing pressure, and businesses are naturally questioning where they should be investing and why. Given the level of income the over 65s currently provides the industry it would be remiss to ignore investing in a demographic that is expected to grow so significantly in the next few years. This doesn’t necessarily mean a major overhaul of operations. Simple considerations that take this group into account will go a long way towards securing their spend.” The top three age-specific offerings that businesses are focusing on include tailored facilities, such as easy access, targeted deals and offers, and/or direct marketing campaigns. In terms of employment, the majority (60 percent) of large companies in this sector expect to employ more over 60s. This compares to the industry as a whole, where only 36 percent of those surveyed state that they will be employing more over 60s in the next five years.