HAT304 Emerging Issues in Hospitality and Tourism in Australia: Ageing Tourism Assessment Answer
EMERGING ISSUES IN HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM: AGEING TOURISM
Issues in Hospitality and Tourism Industry in Australia through Traveller’s touch points
Tourism is one of the key factors contributing to the economy of Australia. It accounts for more than 10% of the GDP of Australia. However, Grey Tourism has become a common occurrence, while, there is a subtle lack of understanding on behalf of the tourism and hospitality industry for the wellbeing of the senior travellers. Thus, this study focuses on the major issue identified about the emerging challenges in ageing tourism in Australia, along with a critical analysis and an evaluation of the potential solutions as well. A number of issues in ageing tourism or grey tourism have been identified considering the senior travellers’ touch points. Figure 1 illustrates the traveller’s touch points, which are quite common for most elderly tourists. The steps identified in this regards map out the entire process from being inspired to travel to a particular destination to the final stages of overall customer experience of travelling.
Figure 1: Traveller’s Touch points
(Source: Author’s creation)
- Dreaming: This focuses on the sources through which the traveller draws inspiration for travelling. For elderly people, it is mostly communication with peers or other sources such as emails or more. It may be stated in this context that these individuals do not fit the stereotyped version of the older generation and the average age has been found to be 63.3 years for these travellers or the ‘grey market’. However, the sources may often be misleading (Pesonen et al. 2015).
- Planning: Shopping for trips is a common affair, and planning involves a large part of shopping for the journey destination. However, the bundled offers may not of use and dealing with elderly clients may be difficult.
- Booking: Online booking for trips or airplane tickets, hotel rooms, transit is commonly done online, which may pose as a difficulty for technologically challenged population (Eriksson & Fabricius, 2015).
- Experiencing: This touch point includes activities like boarding flights, checking in at hotels and activities done on trip. Boarding flights to the destination may require assistance. Furthermore, issues with luggage and other automated process may be difficult to comprehend for this particular client group. Additionally, the aspects of duty free provisions may be difficult to explain and comprehend. Checking in at hotels, airports may pose difficulties as well. Booking ID numbers are often provided, but adding the provision of assistance is essential for the elderly. The on-trip process may include the stay at hotels, the arrangement of transport and even adventure travels for the elderly. Caravanning may also be another aspect to be considered. Furthermore, aspects such as flight changes or in-flight troubles, such as breathing issues may be evident (Yared et al. 2015). Additionally, the health issues are also to be taken into consideration.
- Sharing: The post-trip experiences deal with the Customer Experience management. Moreover, planning for the next trip may also occur in case of customer satisfaction. Thus in the sharing touch point customers may want to share their personal experience but may face issues associated to sharing feedback on online platforms being technologically uninformed and crippled.
Critical analysis of Issues in Ageing Tourism in Australia
Certain issues have been evident in the Tourism and Hospitality industry in Australia, through the traveller’s touch point map developed for this study. It may be stated that one of the prime issues identified is the aspect of health. Though these older adults defy the prevalent social norms, it is not uncommon for elderly individuals to develop health issues. For instance, considering accessible tourism, it is to be noted that the alignment of health with tourism is common (Darley et al. 2017). Furthermore, the common impairments found are namely, motor or physical impairment, psychic disability, sensory impairment and certain hidden impairments which are not evident through general interaction. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018), every one in five individuals are likely to have a disability. Furthermore, 90% of these people travel and constitute a significant percentage of the ‘grey market’. In addition to that, $8 billion are spent annually in Australia tourism by the aforementioned population, which constitutes approximately 11% of the tourism expenditure of Australia (Vigolo, 2017). These issue may create difficulty in all of the touch points as being physically ill aged customers will not be able to plan for the journey or board flights or travel with ease during their journey.
However, once this aspect is considered, the technological barriers for the elderly or the ‘grey market’ are to be taken into account. Currently, the trend considers all aspects of travel to complete online, such as flight booking, accommodation, travelling, site seeing, adventures and more (Patterson et al. 2015). Though many of the elderly population of Australia (as depicted in Figure 2) are retired and consider travel option such as VR, drive tourism and even cruises, it is to be taken into account that many are technologically sabotaged as well. The inadequate technical knowledge of these individuals makes them susceptible to frauds as well. Furthermore, an evaluation of the travel behaviour may be essential in catering to the outdoor activity requirements and the arrangements for the availability of doctors are essential for health purposes (Harvey et al. 2019).
Figure 2: Ageing population of Australia throughout years
(Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018)
Hence, this issue would affect the traveller touch points of flight booking and experience sharing using online tools. Hence following issues has been identified as major issues faced during each touch point.
Dreaming: Aged people for having much illness because motor function impairment, inability travel far, travel by air or other mode of transportation may face difficulty in deciding on appropriate location of travel.
Planning: During the planning phase information search is done often-using internet and sometimes physically visiting tour operator’s office. Physical reasons may restrict customers over the age of 60 from visiting tour operators office while for being less technologically sound, they may not be able to do information search online.
Booking: most of the booking services are offered online now days however, aged people having less expertise in handling smart phones, mobile applications and online booking service may find it difficult to book passage, hotels for their travel.
Experiencing: While experiencing the travel both the issue of health and technological barrier may create problem for aged customers. Having ill health, they may require high quality transport services but may not be able to book those using digital mediums such as cab service apps.
Sharing: Tour operators often encourage customers to share their feedback in their website. However, lack of technical expertise may make it difficult for aged customers to do the same.
Critical evaluation of solutions for Ageing Tourism in Australia
Dreaming: Firstly, conducting a thorough medical examination is essential for elderly tourists. Even for tourists going solo, the government may undertake surveys and fitness camps awarding fitness certificates for travel (Edwards et al. 2015). Moreover, tour operators may consult the people regarding the best place for travel according to their physical and mental needs.
Planning: arranging a help line number with an agent on the opposite side to guide such people through the process would prove to be highly beneficial.
Booking: issue of facing technological barriers may be addressed through arranged for technical awareness workshops for travellers. Since most the travellers are retired and spend time in leisure activities, it may be easier to approach them for attending classes in developing technical awareness (Veiga et al. 2018).
Experiencing: During this stage, tour operators must focus on the arrangement of the availability of medical help and attention is a vital part of grey tourism. Individuals with disabilities or mental illness must be attended by nurses, care providers or family member capable of taking care of them (Wu & Pearce, 2017). Recruiting specialists for the detection of even hidden disorders is to be undertaken as well.Furthermore, encouraging the businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry to be more compassionate, patient and understanding towards the elderly may prove effective (Summers et al. 2019). However, the discussed issues may persist, these solutions may prove effective in managing most of the challenges identified in this regards.
Sharing: The operators may arrange simple feedback forms for such customers. Moreover intimating the tourists regarding fraudulent activities may prove beneficial in terms of proper CRM. Additionally, providing assistance at every step wherein difficulty may be experienced is to be overseen.
This study focuses on the major challenges faced by the elderly population of travellers in Australia, about the tourism and hospitality industry. The chief issues identified include technological barriers along with health and wellbeing of the travellers. Potential and effective solutions to the identified issues have been offered as well.