Beijing is still warm and cold in early spring, and this is not the traditional tourist season, but the number of visitors in the major scenic spots is not very large. In the crowd, the tour groups that appeared in groups were conspicuous.

In the past three years, traditional group travel has been one of the most affected travel business sectors by the pandemic. Now, the return of tour groups from all over the world seems to be announcing on a high note: the bustle of the tourist market is back with spring.

Returning tours

"At present, the group tour business has indeed recovered relatively quickly, and the number of groups in our company from Beijing can reach 3000,4000 to 2019,<> people a month, which is not much different from <> before the epidemic." Tang Peixuan, CEO of Yuping Tourism Group, said.

"Since the beginning of the Spring Festival, the situation of group travel resuming has been very gratifying. Beijing's ground connection business has reached the level of 2019, and group cross-provincial tours from Beijing are also recovering in an orderly manner, with Hainan and Yunnan routes being more popular. Yang Yang, general manager of Beijing Spring Travel Agency, made a similar judgment on the market.

"Our company's customers are mainly 50 to 70 years old. Tourism has become a rigid demand for many elderly people. "Tang Peixuan believes that the urban elderly have a stable retirement income after retirement, and there is no expenditure pressure in housing, education and other aspects, and their spare time life is very idle, and they are especially willing to walk around." Three years into the epidemic, many elderly people's travel plans have been temporarily stranded, and now they are slowly being released. ”

Ma Yiliang, chief statistician and director of the Statistical Survey Institute of the China Tourism Academy (Data Center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism), noticed that not only the elderly in big cities, but now the visitor source gradient of the elderly tourism market is gradually sinking, and more and more elderly people in small and medium-sized cities, towns and even rural areas have joined the tourism ranks. "In particular, the first batch of migrant workers are gradually over 60 years old, they have been working outside the home for a long time, they are full of expectations for the world outside their hometowns, and they are more willing to travel after entering old age."

In terms of travel methods, group travel is still an important choice for many people, especially the elderly. "Older people are dependent on travel agencies, and they are more cautious about health and safety when traveling, and they need travel agencies to provide them with a full range of services." Yang Yang said.

"Affected by factors such as the decline in receptor capacity, the proportion of elderly people traveling by car is not high, and they take more public transportation and the proportion of participating in groups is relatively high." Ma Yiliang provided a set of data showing that 65.20% of domestic tourists from cities and towns over 8 years old participated in the group, about five times the average for all ages.

"As the elderly are more sensitive and valued for health and safety, the proportion of the elderly tourism market has declined slightly since the epidemic." Ma Yiliang said. However, with the change of the epidemic prevention and control situation, after a period of wait-and-see, the elderly have become active in travel activities, and some have even begun to resume outbound travel.

Changing views on consumption

Holding a small flag and wearing a small hat, the bus gets on the bus to sleep, the bus stops to take pictures, and buys a bunch of souvenirs and souvenirs... This is the inherent impression that many people have of tour groups.

"Nowadays, it is difficult to meet the needs of the elderly in this way of traveling, and it is increasingly difficult to become attractive simply because of the low price." Yang Yang said that a considerable part of the main force of group tours are "young" elderly people who have just retired, they are in good health, have a lot of savings, have a very new consumption concept, strong consumption power, and increasingly need high-quality group tour products.

Tang Peixuan observed that the needs of the elderly can be divided into two categories, one type of likes slow-paced vacation products, stays longer in a destination, walks slowly, looks slowly, and the other type of "energetic" elderly people like to catch all the well-known attractions in one net. The two needs have one thing in common: the elderly have more expectations for the quality of travel, hope to live better, try special dishes, and arrange some health care programs. "Elderly people generally live a simple life and are not willing to waste, but we find that they are willing to spend money on tourism because they can make themselves happy." Tang Peixuan said.

Li Yutong is a travel customizer at 6 People Travel Network. Customized tours are an emerging way to travel in recent years, characterized by the possibility of forming small groups with your family and friends, designing itineraries according to your preferences, etc., but the cost of travel is relatively high. "There is indeed an increasing trend in the number of elderly people who come to us for consultation and registration, they have two characteristics, one is willing to spend money for the experience, and the other is very 'knowing' to play, especially like to pick beautiful natural scenery and niche destinations."

Ma Yiliang also found that the demand for elderly tourism has changed, especially after three years of the epidemic, people are more concerned about health, and the demand for health tourism has further upgraded - many elderly people will reduce the number of recreational destinations in a trip, choose to stay more time in each destination, participate in the local customs, nourish their bodies and minds, and even many people will choose to live in places with beautiful mountains and rivers and pleasant climates for a period of time; The tourism demand for "light leisure and slow experience" is more significant, and they are more willing to combine tourism with pension, health preservation, light sports, education, etc., to improve the quality of life through tourism.

The appeal of reset

"The number of elderly groups in China is getting bigger and bigger, the average life expectancy is getting longer and longer, the social security system for the elderly is constantly improving, the time and energy investment of the elderly in intergenerational parenting is decreasing, and all factors determine that the elderly tourism market has broad prospects, and tourism will become an important aspect of improving the quality of life of the elderly." Ma Yiliang said.

"For our traditional travel agencies doing group tours, the elderly are the target consumer group that must be captured." Yang Yang said frankly, "The problem now is that many tourism products of travel agencies for the elderly are 'outdated', and products that cannot adapt to the new needs of the elderly are meaningless." ”

He gave an example. In the past, the company launched an India tour product, a double flight of about a week, the price is only a few thousand yuan, but this product has not sold satisfactorily. "Later, we carefully studied some Indian travel strategies and found that 90% of tourists did not come back after a week of playing, but spent a dozen days to visit several unique cities in India." Based on this discovery, the company redesigned the route and launched a product with a 12-day to 15-day itinerary, with a price of about 2,<> yuan, but the market feedback was very good.

"This shows that simple price attraction is not enough. To do a good job in elderly tourism products, we must pay attention to the study of elderly travel needs, behavioral characteristics, consumption habits, etc. Yang Yang said that in the past, when designing team tour products, it was mainly driven by resources, "what resources are available in which destination, what hotels can be arranged, and which time flights are included, always giving priority to resources and prices, and then pushing back to product design." "Now, this routine is slowly not working, and it is necessary to transform to demand-driven, starting from the needs of target consumer groups."

"Seniors like more human interaction and more integration into destination life. Most of the current tourism products are only properly transformed on conventional tourism products, and the deep integration in elderly preferential treatment, community interaction, training and education, and participation in local public cultural activities is far from enough. Ma Yiliang believes that many "young" elderly people can and are willing to participate in light sports such as hiking, cycling, camping, mountaineering and other light sports in the destination, and also like to participate in musical instrument performance, intangible cultural heritage experience, tourism souvenir making and other activities, gradually shifting from viewing the scenery to integrating into the local cultural customs, so that "light leisure" tourism products can be more abundant.

In Tang Peixuan's view, in addition to product design to be customized on demand, it is also necessary to keep pace with the times in the promotion of drainage channels. "In the past, we mainly marketed through newspapers, TV and other channels, but now the way the elderly obtain information has changed, and we must pay attention to short videos, live broadcasts and other channels." Ma Yiliang also mentioned this, "Elderly people pay more attention to interpersonal interaction before or during travel, and are more willing to accept recommendations from people similar to themselves, and the marketing effect of product and word-of-mouth fission through the community may be better." (Economic Daily)