There is a major contradiction between the UK hospitality and leisure industry’s attitude towards the baby boomer generation, and the actions of the sector, with the majority of operators neglecting this growing market, according to a new study. The report by Barclays Corporate found that 88% of the 160 senior executives surveyed claimed to be engaged with the over-65s market, but that almost two thirds (62%) admitted that they did not have any services or products specifically tailored to this age group. The majority of those who did not have tailored offers (82%) said that they had no plans to introduce any, either, and admitted that they had never considered the idea. 18% said this was because their products and services were suitable for all ages. The survey highlighted how important the ageing population was for the industry, with those businesses surveyed seeing an average of 28% of their income coming from the over 65s market, which represented an estimated £25bn of the hospitality industry's income. Barclays said that this was 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 3% of those businesses surveyed are looking to make a major investment in this space. 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.” “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 survey also found that 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%) of large companies in the sector expect to employ more over 60s. This compares to the industry as a whole, where only 36% of those surveyed state that they will be employing more over 60s in the next five years.

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