Profile of German senior tourists travelling on river cruise ships in the post-COVID period


  • Csaba Bíró University of Pécs, Faculty of Business and Economics, Rákóczi Street 80., H-7622 Pécs, Hungary.



river cruises, senior travellers, German outbound market


The German sending market has always been a major priority for domestic tourism in Hungary. For example, before the COVID-19 epidemic, Germany was ranked first among the outbound markets in terms of guest nights spent in commercial accommodation in 2019, with a share of 12.9%. The expenditure of German visitors traveling by Danube River cruise ships is also a determinant factor concerning destinations in Hungary. Due to their prominent role, we aimed to identify the main characteristics and preferences of German senior travellers arriving in Hungary, therefore, following the lifting of the pandemic-related travel restrictions, we conducted a personal survey of German visitors arriving from river cruise ships. Our findings revealed that interpreting 55+-year-old travellers as a homogeneous segment is a misconception, as they are highly heterogeneous. Therefore, we used factor analysis and cluster analysis to identify traveller groups within the segment and also included Barak and Schiffman's (1981) cognitive age scale to partly explain the difference in consumer preferences between self-reported age and chronological age. Linear regression modelling was also used to identify the extent to which differences in sending area location, destination preferences, and travel modes can shape spending. The study provides innovative results, both in theoretical and practical terms. Furthermore, the value of the research is enhanced by the inclusion of the guests of the most prominent German travel agencies in river cruising.


Download data is not yet available.


Alen, E., Losada, N., & Domínguez, T. (2016). „The Impact of Ageing on The Tourism Industry: An Approach to the Senior Tourist Profile”, Social Indicator Research, Vol. 127., pp. 303-322.

Bailey, G., Lubulwa, M., & Hossain, A. (2003). Characteristics on Travel Patterns of Older Australians. Impact of Population Ageing on Tourism. Bureau of Tourism Research. BTR Conference paper.

Barak, B., & Rahtz, D. R. (1990). Cognitive Age: Demographic and Psychographic Dimensions. Journal of Ambulatory Care Marketing, 3(2), 51-65.

Barak, B., & Schiffman, L. G. (1981). Cognitive Age: A Nonchronological Age Variable. In: K. B. Monroe (ed.). Advances in Consumer Research (pp. 602-606). 8th ed. Ann Arbor (MI): Association for Consumer Research.

Becker, J. (1998). Marketing-Konzeption. Grundlagen des strategischen und operativen Marketing-Managements, Vol. 6., uberarb. und erw. Aufl. Munchen: Vahlen.

Birren, J. E. (1960). Behavioral theories of aging. In: Shock, N. W. (ed.), Aging: Some social and biological aspects. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Birren, J. E. (1968). Principles of Research on Aging. In B. L. Neugarten (eds.), Middle Age and Aging: A Reader in Social Psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, IL. pp. 545-551.

Butler, R. L. (1969). Age-Ism: Another Form of Bigotry. The Gerontologist, Vol. 9., Issue 4., Part 1., pp. 243-246.

Celer, C., & Janska, M. (2017). Online habits of the 55 plus generation in a selected region of the Czech Republic. Market-Trziste, 29(2), 125-138.

Chang, C. (2008). Chronological age versus cognitive age for younger consumers. Journal of Advertising, 37(3), 47-65.

Cleaver, M., Muller, T. E., Ruys, H., & Wei, S. (1999). Tourism product development for the senior market, based on travel-motive research. Tourism Recreation Research, Vol. 24., No. 1., pp. 5-11.

Cleaver, M., & Muller, T. E. (2002). I Want to Pretend I’m Eleven Years Younger: Subjective Age and Senior’s Motives for Vacation Travel. In: B. D. Zumbo (ed). Advances in Quality-of-Life Research 2001 (pp. 224-241). Boston, MA: Springer.

Cohen, S. A., Prayag G., & Moital, M. (2014). „Consumer behavior in tourism. Concepts, influences and opportunities”, Current Issues in Tourism, Vol. 17., No 10., pp. 872-909.

Combs, H. W., Anken, A., & Chaipoopirutana, S. (2008). Psychographics and Patronage Behavior of Mature Consumers in Thailand. International review of business research papers. pp. 45-56.

Cowgill, D. O., & Holmes, L. D. (1972). Ageing and modernization. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Cumming, E., & Henry, W. E. (1961). Growing old: The process of disengagement. New York: Basic Books.

Eurostat (2019), Population structure and ageing. Letoltve: 2021.07.01. Online elerheto:

Fischer, I. (1991). Psychologische Altersteorien. Gerontologie, 2. Aufl. Stuttgart, pp. 425-430.

Gonzalez, A. M., Rodriguez, C., Miranda, M. R., & Cervantes, M. (2009). Cognitive age as a criterionexplaining senior Tourists’motivations. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 3., pp. 148-164.

Guido, G., Pichierri, M., Pino, G., & Conoci, R. (2018). The segmentation of elderly consumers: A literature review. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 17(4), 257-278.

Härtl-Kasulke, C. (1998). Marketing für Zielgruppen ab Kommunikationsstrategien für 50plus und Senioren. Luchterhand, Neuwied.

Hofmeister-Toth, A., & Neulinger, A. (2022). The Importance and Realization of Personal Values and Cognitive Age. Market-Trziste, 34 (1). pp. 25-40.

Horgan-Jones, M., & Ringaert, L. (2004). Accessible tourism in Manitoba. Megtekintve: 2019.06.11. Online elerheto: uploads/AccessibleTourismInManitoba.htm

Horneman, L., Carter, R. W., Wei, S., & Ruy, H. (2002). Profiling the senior traveler: An Australian perspective. Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 41., pp. 23–37.

Jang, S., & Wu, C. M. E. (2006). Senior’s travel motivation and the influential factors: An examination of Taiwanese seniors. Tourism Management, Vol. 27. (2), pp. 306-316.

Kohlbacher, F., & Hang, C. (2011). Applying the Disruptive Innovation Framework tot he Silver Market. Technology Adaption and Deployment for Older Consumers. Ageing International, Vol. 36., pp. 82-101.

Kohlbacher, F., & Herstatt, C. (eds.). (2008). The silver market phenomenon: Business opportunities in an era of demographic change. Heidelberg: Springer.

Kotler, P., Bowen, J.T., Makens, J.C., & Baloglu, S. (2017). Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism. Seventh Global Edition. Harlow: Person Education Limited.

Kotler, P., Kartajaya, H., & Setiawan, I. (2021). Marketing 5.0. Technology for Humanity. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Kolzer, B. (1995). Senioren als Zielgruppe: Kundenorientierung im Handel. Deutscher Universitätsverlag, Wiesbaden.

Lee, S. H., & Tideswell, C. (2005). Understanding Attitudes Towards Leisure Travel and the Constraints faced by Senior Koreans. Journal of Vacation Marketing, Vol. 3.

Levinson, D., Darrow, C., Klein, E., Levinson, M., & McKee, B. (1978). The Season of Man’s Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Levy, B. R. (2003). Mind matters: Cognitive and physical effects of aging self-stereotypes. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, Vol. 58., pp. 203–211. doi: 10.1093/geronb/58.4.P203

Litrell, M. A, Paige, R. C., & Song, K. (2004). Senior travellers: activities and shopping behaviours. Journal of Vacation Marketing.

Lohmann, M., & Danielsson, J. (2001). Predicting travel patterns of senior citizens: How the past may provide a key to the future. Journal of Vacation Marketing, Vol. 7., pp. 357–366.

Lopes, S. D. F., Boubeta, A. R., & Mallou, J. V. (2009). Post hoc tourist segmentation with conjoint and cluster analysis. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural, Vol. 7. (3), pp. 491-501.

Mills, J., & Law, R. (2013). Handbook of Consumer Behavior, Tourism and the Internet. London: Routledge.

Moschis, G. P. (2003). Marketing to older adults: an updated view of present knowledge and practice. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 20., pp. 516–525.

Neulinger, A., Simon, J., Kelemen, K., Hofmeister-Toth, A., & Bodi, E. (2010). Fogyasztoi magatartas a hazai utazasi szolgaltatasok piacan. A hibrid vasarloi magatartas vizsgalata. Vezetestudomany / Budapest Management Review, XLI Evf. 2010. 6. szam.

Ntounis, N., Parker, C., Skinner, H., Steadman, C., & Warnaby, G. (2022), „Tourism and Hospitality resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic: Evidence from England”, Currenct Issues in Tourism. Vol. 25. (1). pp. 46-49.

Puczylowsky, A. (2012). Hurra! Endlich alt! Seniorenmarketing und DemografiemanAGEment als Wettbewerbsstrategien der Zukunft. Hamburg: Diplomica.

Qu, H., & Lee, H. (2011). „Travelers’ social identification and membership behaviors in online travel community”, Tourism Management, Vol. 32., pp. 1262-1270.

Rosow, I. (1965). Forms and Functions of Adult Sozialisation. Social Forces, Vol. 44. (1), pp. 35-45.

Schiffman, L. G., & Wisenblit J. L. (2019). Consumer Behaviour, London: Pearson Education Limited. 12th Edition.

Schmidtchen, R., Pataki, V., Trzecinski, S., Serra, M.R., Piepenburg, M., Piel, M., Mignone, N., Basic, A.L., and Vukovic, S. (2021), „European peer counselor training in accessible tourism – Peer Act Innovation for inclusiun in adult training and inclusive tourism”, TVT Turisztikai es Videkfejlesztesi Tanulmanyok. VI. evfolyam, II. szám. pp. 128-145.

Sharma, G.D, Thomas, A. & Paul, J. (2021). „Reviving tourism industry post-COVID-19: A resilience based framework”, Tourism Management Perspectives. Vol. 37. January,

Sudbury, L., & Simcock, P. (2009). „Understanding Older Consumers through Cognitive Age and the List of Values: A UK Perspective”, Psychology and Marketing, Vol. 26, pp. 22–38.

Sugatagi, G. (2016), „Ifjusag-, es szeniorkutatas”, Veres, Z. et al. (szerk.) Bevezetes a piackutatasba. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.

Szczepkowska, J. (2021), „What are the needs of Senior Tourists? Evidence from Remote Regions of Europe”, Economies, Vol. 9. (4). p. 148.

Swarbrooke, J., and Horner, S. (2004). Consumer Behavior in Tourism. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann. Megtekintve: 2021.12.26. Online elerheto:

Swarbrooke, J., and Horner, S. (2020). Consumer Behavior in Tourism. New York: Routledge.

Tartler, R. (1961). Das Alter in der Modernen Gesellschaft. Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 18. (1), p. 81.

Thomae, H. (1970). Theory of aging and cognitive theory of personality. Human Development, 13. (1), pp. 1–16. doi: 10.1159/000270877

Torocsik, M. (2011). Fogyasztoi magatartas: Insight, trendek, vasárlok. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.

Torocsik, M., Szucs, K. (2021). Fogyasztoi magatartas. Mintazatok, trendek, alkalmazkodas. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado. doi:

1556/9789634546351 Megtekintve: 2021.10.10. Online elerheto:

Wechsler, D. (1939). The measurement of adult intelligence. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.

Wellner, K. (2015). User Innovators in the Silver Market: Empirical Study among Camping Tourists. Hamburg: Springer Gabler.

Yerkes, R. M. (1921). Psychological examining in the United States Army. Washington.




How to Cite

Bíró, C. 2023. Profile of German senior tourists travelling on river cruise ships in the post-COVID period. International Journal of Business and Social Science Research. 4, 5 (May 2023), 1–11. DOI: