10 January 2010

Old People? Er, shove 'em in a coach. They'll be happy!

senior citizen guitaristI like this article in the Montreal Gazette about what baby-boomers want from travel.

Older people remain loyal to the same brand for life; when they travel, they shuffle about and cluster together on tour groups; they dislike venturing off the beaten path; they fear and loathe technology; they like slow-paced activities; and they're all retired.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

It's not really saying anything many/most of us don't already know... if we think stop to about it. But I suspect that many travel providers, marketers and journos, when they stop concentrating, sort of lapse back to the old default stereotypes.

I mean, what do you want to do on a holiday/break? This year, while you're 20/30/40? What interests you? What are the things you've always wanted to see/do? Where are the places you've always fancied going?

So, why, making a small allowance for stamina maybe, would you not want to do them when you're 50/60/70?

And why wouldn't you research/buy them online? You've grow up with computers and the Internet... but so have the oldies. Today's 50/60 yr-olds on the edge of formal retirement are the 'Windows' generation. They were using Windows 3.1 at work.

Hell, my ex-mother-in-law, running around on the golf course every moment she's not travelling somewhere interesting and now approaching her 70s, was a punch card programmer at Lyons Tea in the 1950s. For her, computers have just got easier & easier!

05 January 2010

Passenger Profiling? Ah yes, we remember that!

Pan Am jetIt used to be treated with a certain amount of derision by many people in aviation circles because they all remember the apocryphal tale from the first time it appeared, in the Sixties.

Back then, hijacking airliners was a new phenomenon, but by the end of that decade it was all the rage!

Cubans and revolutionary types from Latin America were hi-jacking American airliners on an almost weekly basis, and taking them off to Cuba, where, to the annoyance of the US authorities, they were welcomed with open arms.

One of the airlines, Pan Am I think, got fed up with their aeroplanes being nicked and went round the universities hiring psychology students to stand at airport check-ins, profiling their passengers.

A week after their teams had started, another of their planes was nicked. When it turned up on the tarmac at Havana, the press were there to meet the hijackers. The first one came down the steps sporting a full beard and wearing knee-high leather boots, a beret, sunglasses and a Che Guevara T-shirt!*

The profilers had missed him!!

(* For younger readers: The perfect cartoon stereotype of a 60s revolutionary)