The impact of cognitive age on online travel purchase bahaviour: The UK Senior case

Authors: Braham, B. and Buhalis

Start date: 4 September 2017

Seniors, or those who are sixty years of age and over, are an increasingly important market for the tourism industry. Seniors have large purchasing power and like to spend their leisure time actively. The digital revolution and exposure to the Internet has reshaped the way they plan and consume travel. In order to understand their online behaviour better, the research upon which this paper is based evaluated the role of self-perceived age also known as ‘cognitive age’ on senior online tourist behaviour. Based on a modified four-dimensional measurement of cognitive age established by Barak and Schiffman (1981), this research examines the online behaviour and attitudes of seniors and presents the values of a number of cognitive age groups, thus linking this psychological dimension with senior online travel. The results indicate that the behaviour of some seniors is connected to their chronological age, but there is a level of complexity that contradicts classic generational theories revealing a new perspective on cognitive age. The data was firstly gathered by means of a questionnaire which was completed during in-person interviews and secondly using an online survey from seniors who were chronologically 60 years or older, UK citizens and who had booked their holiday online in the last 12 months. 155 usable responses were received. The genders were equally balanced with the age of the respondents ranging from 60 to 79 years of age with a mean of 69.5 years.

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