We may soon have to rethink the connotation of “geriatric,” especially now that our grandparents are proving to be some of the most prolific jet-setters of our times.
And no, it’s not just cruise ships and the Florida coastline that older generations are frequenting — rather, Airbnb reports that Americans who are 60 and older are both the fastest-growing and best-reviewed demographic on its site. And now, there’s a new website dedicated to grandma and grandpa’s penchant for travel — it’s called the Freebird Club, and it’s being branded as Airbnb for seniors.
According to the new company’s website, the Freebird Club was established in 2015 “as a social travel and home-stay club exclusively for the over 50s.” By way of this unique social network, the elderly are promised a “genuine community of travelers, hosts and guests, based on the principles of the ‘sharing economy.'”
The Freebird Club says that it can offer “a whole new world of social traveling for mature adults, a new way of earning income in later life,” and perhaps most importantly, “a fun and accessible way to meet new people, make friends, and enjoy social and cultural interaction as you grow older.”
Based in Ireland, this platform hopes to help an older generation explore the world, and make new friends while doing so. Founded by Pete Mangan, an administrator at the University of Dublin, the idea for the platform arose following Mangan’s father’s positive experience on Airbnb.
“There are two issues we’re trying to address,” Mangan told Fast Company. “One is loneliness and isolation in the elderly population. A lot of people are finding themselves quite isolated, particularly in the larger cities. The other is that a lot of people are quite asset-rich — maybe they have a mortgage-free hous — but they’re reliant on a [fixed income]. This is a way to monetize their assets.”
Europe seems enamored by this new concept, as Mangan has won the European Commission’s Social Innovation Competition (along with its prize package of $55,000). He hopes to launch the Freebird Club in earnest by June. The program has already been piloted in Ireland’s County Kerry and in London.
“We really want to provide something that’s fun and inspiring for older people. It provides a whole new way of traveling for them. Often, they have the time, but nobody to do it with, and they won’t go alone. That’s why it’s a club and you can stay with other members,” Mangan said.
We really want to provide something that’s fun and inspiring for older people. It provides a whole new way of traveling for them.