23/04/2015 - Gold Coaches a Winner With ‘Grey Pound’ Customers
Bakers Dolphin benefits from the economic influence of the ‘grey pound’
A West Country coach company is among businesses that have benefitted from the economic influence of the ‘grey pound'.
A recent report by Barclays Corporate Banking identified affluent people in the over-65 age group as being a significant opportunity for the hospitality and leisure sector.
It revealed that the so-called ‘Grey Pound' boosted the UK's economy by an estimated £37 billion last year through hotel and travel spending.
Bakers Dolphin, which is based in Weston-super-Mare, has experienced a surge in bookings from older customers - particularly for its premier continental and UK holiday tours on the three coaches, which have a rear salon and carry just 36 customers.
Sales and Marketing Director Amanda Harrington said: "Our gold coaches have transformed the perception of coach travel.
"They are in constant demand from customers who are often comfortably retired and expect the highest of standards, and as a result we will soon be adding a fourth gold coach to our fleet of 60 vehicles.
"In the past year, we have developed a programme of luxury gold coach tours to augment our range of coach holidays throughout the UK and Europe, in response to the requirements of our customers."
The report by Barclays Corporate Banking also revealed that the total annual spend of over-65s could grow to at least £57 billion by 2025, based upon the projected 34 per cent increase in the number of older people.
However, it added that businesses were currently missing out on a potential £16 billion in business as a result of failing to target older customers effectively.
However, Amanda Harrington said the Bakers Dolphin approach was very much focused upon the requirements of older customers with high standards and high spending power.
"A growing number of people are recognising that they can avoid many of the stresses and annoyances associated with travel by using the Bakers Dolphin Gold service," she said.
"Our customers know it means they can travel in comfort and style, enjoying spacious leather seats and complimentary tea and coffee in the rear lounge, and in many cases hostess service.
"They appreciate the fact that they do not have to do a lot of walking around airports or railway stations, and do not need to spend ages standing at an airport baggage carousel, or have to try to keep an eye on their luggage throughout a train journey."
She added: "We have also found that many of our older customers enjoy using our Bakers Dolphin shop in Broadmead, Bristol, to make their travel arrangements for trips ranging from summer holidays to London events.
"Although many now book online, there are still a lot of people who want to talk to a travel adviser, discuss special requirements or have help deciding on what to book. They can also benefit from the protection of our ABTA bonding.
The Bakers Dolphin shop in Broadmead, which previously showcased the Weston-super-Mare firm's coach holidays and days out offers has been expanded to enable people to book cruises from Bristol, car hire abroad, flights, London West End tickets and other holiday needs worldwide through its ABTA-bonded service.
Bakers Dolphin was founded in 1889 and since 1998, when its travel division was sold to First Choice, it has concentrated on its core business of coach holidays in the UK and Europe, coach hire and days out to events and shows.