Pensioners drive comeback in hospitality spending in April

Pensions flashing the cash more than their younger counterparts

Jon Ihle

Spending by flaithiúlach over-65s helped the struggling hospitality sector to a positive month in April, as the Easter holidays sent punters flocking to pubs, hotels and restaurants.

The average daily spend across the industry rose significantly, with hotels taking in 7pc more money, pubs seeing an increase of 6pc and restaurants booking 4pc more in sales, according to AIB’s Spend Trend data.

Older consumers were flashing the cash more, however, compared to their younger counterparts.

People aged 65 and over had the highest increase in average daily spending on drinking, eating out and overnight stays – spending 12pc more cash in hotels, 11pc more in pubs and 10pc more in restaurants compared to March.

In fact, leisure spending in the older age group was 13pc of overall spend – more than half of what they spent on groceries during the month.

“It’s a positive sign to see increases across the hospitality sector in April, as people enjoyed the Easter break and ahead of the summer months which are an important time for hotels, pubs and restaurants,” said John Brennan, head of SME banking at AIB.

“However, we saw overall spending was flat when compared with March, which could be further evidence of the impact of cost-of-living increases.”

Average daily spending in hotels increased most in Laois and Leitrim, at about 14pc, average daily spending in restaurants increased most in Waterford at 8pc, and average daily spending in pubs and off-licences increased most in Donegal at 15pc.

Despite the propensity of fun-loving pensioners to spend on hospitality, essentials still account for the biggest proportion of spending across the population.

Of the 10 sectors AIB analysed, groceries continue to account for most spending at 18pc of total spend – an indication of why food price inflation has become such a hot topic in recent months.

By contrast, overall leisure spending came in at around 10pc of the total.

AIB compiled the data from 60 million debit and credit card transactions in April, representing an average daily spend of €97m, in line with March’s figures.