Exploritas is the new name chosen for the very successful Elderhostel program. The program offers nearly 8,000 educational tours in every state and over 90 countries. The Elderhostel program has been the not-for-profit leader in educational travel since 1975, and has effectively targeted seniors who value in-depth, engaging travel experiences. Read more from President James Moses.
We have learned over many years of experience that naming is a tricky business. First, it is hard to find a great name that isn’t already in use, with intrinsic meaning, that is memorable to the target consumer. And like any creative endeavor, naming is subjective. Like many organizations (AARP included) Elderhostel had the challenge of moving away from a name that means “old” to something that will resonate with the large Boomer demographic.
The new name has great brand connotations – it is smart, vibrant and says more about the program than “elderhostel” did. But change is hard. Older consumers have very few premium quality product and service offerings that are targeted directly to them. And so there has been backlash – not about the name per se, but what it might mean to program. Older consumers are concerned that programs once dedicated to their style and pace of travel and learning will be overrun by younger consumers who will change the brand experience. Clearly Elderhostel has done an excellent job of defining their brand experience.
James Moses has used the new web site to address these concerns upfront. “Elderhostel has been, and Exploritas will continue to be, a program created for and attractive to older, primarily retired adults. . . Before 1975, older adults had very few organized ways to learn, grow, and experience adventure. When Elderhostel was founded, it was exclusively an organization for adults 60 and over. It was something special, almost a rite of passage, because it provided opportunities that weren’t previously available. Later the age limit was changed to 55, and this change had no impact on the average age of participants. When we launched Road Scholar in 2004, those programs had no age limit (other than the requirement of being legally an adult), yet the average age of participants was still over 60. For years we’ve allowed, even encouraged, people over 55 to bring along their younger spouse or partner, or for that matter, their adult children. . . we all need to remember and remind others that there is a huge difference between “actively seeking” and “not turning away.” Our goal as we relax the 55 age limit is not to change the atmosphere of our programs, but to adopt an open, welcoming posture. We don’t want to turn away any adult who has a genuine thirst for learning, affiliation and meaning, and I believe that anyone who looks beyond the sound bite will agree that this is our proper position and the right decision.”
Very well said, and certainly in the spirit of ageless marketing. Read more at: www.exploritas.org.