The Rise of Solo Travel and How to Make the Most of it
Over the past few years, more and more people choose to travel alone.
Between 2015 and 2017, solo travel bookings have increased by 42% (TravelDailyNews).
In addition, a survey by MMGY Global reveals that a quarter of their respondents plan to travel solo in the future.
So it looks like the solo travel market is on the rise and doesn’t seem like slowing down. Check out this trend report from Google:
The search term “solo travel” has increased in popularity every year since 2009.
So why do people want to travel alone these days?
According to a survey of female solo travelers, 46% said that the feeling of freedom and independence drives their decision to travel alone. Another 22% said they don’t want to wait around for other people, while 15% of respondents claim that solo travel is a way to challenge themselves and gain confidence.
Of course, the reasons will vary from person to person but the trend is clear – solo travel is soaring in popularity. And with that, so does spending by solo travelers.
Most spend between $500 and $1,500 a week, with 24% spending more than $1,500 weekly on their trip (Solo Traveler World).
As the market grows in double digits, this is a good time to evaluate if your offers are optimized for solo travelers.
To find out, we need to look at the solo travel market in more detail.
Next, we’ll look at several ways tour and activity operators can make the most of the solo travel trend.
Ready? Let’s go.
The solo travel market
It’s hard to profile solo travelers because they come from a variety of backgrounds in terms of age, income, and nationality. However, there are some patterns we can identify.
The majority of solo travelers tend to be women over 55, usually with high income levels (Travel Agent Central).
Solo travelers breakdown by age (survey by Solo Traveler World).
That said, a considerable part of solo travelers consists of millennials, characterized by increased use and familiarity with digital technologies.
When it comes to things to do, most solo travelers opt for seeing the top sights but they also look for uncommon experiences. This means that offering a mix of alternative tours and traditional routes can be a winning strategy for attracting solo travelers.
Solo travelers’ preferences (survey by Solo Traveler World).
And while they travel alone, solo travelers often want to meet new people, whether it’s locals or other tourists. This is why offering group tours for solo travelers can be, paradoxically, a very good move.
Matching solo traveler needs
Now that we know more about the solo travel market, it’s to think about your offers. How can you make sure your tour or activity meets solo travelers’ needs? This is what we’ll look at next.
Group tours for solo travelers
As we can see from the table above, solo travelers are actively looking for new social contacts. And one of the best ways to meet new people is by attending a guided group tour with other people.
In fact, guided tours grew among solo travelers from 21% to 46% between 2013 and 2015 (PATA).
You can also organize a guided for solo travelers or just make it clear that it’s solo-traveler friendly. For example, some multi-day tours have visitors sit at different tables so they can meet new people every time they have lunch or dinner.
To create a new offer with Regiondo, read our support article on the topic.
Create a video with solo traveler tips
People tend to feel fear or at least discomfort before traveling alone for the first time in a new destination. This is why they are likely to research about it online, especially looking for safety tips and experiences that are solo traveler-friendly.
If you’re already using video for your marketing (which you should), it can be relatively easy to create a YouTube clip with your best tips for solo travelers.
For example, you can check out this video which has over 400,000 views and provides advice for solo travelers.
Add a dedicated page on your website for solo travelers
If someone is browsing for offers, a dedicated page on your website for solo travelers can make a big difference in their decision.
You can include things like special offers, tips for local experiences, and directions for solo traveler meetups in your city.
This will make your website stand out from the rest and feel like your tour or activity is specifically tailored for solo travelers.
Offer to take photos
Adding photos as part of your offers or as a freebie is a great idea to improve the experience of solo travelers. Yes, it’s a good idea for all of your customers. But remember that solo travelers likely don’t have someone to take photos of them so it adds even more value for them.
From all the available data, it seems like solo travel is growing and here to stay.
By knowing the solo travel market, you’re better prepared to capitalize on the trend and serve customer needs.
While it’s hard to put a label on solo travelers, we know they are mostly female and usually part of the baby boomer or millennial generations.
We also know they look for uncommon experiences and want to meet new people during trips. This can help you create new offers around solo travelers and win a bigger part of this market.
Things like special deals, group tours, and personalizing your website can work well for attracting solo travelers and making sure they leave your tour or activity happy.
You can learn more about the biggest travel trends here:
- 6 Tourism Trends That Will Shape the Travel Industry in 2018
- Travel Like a Local: How Tour Operators Can Make the Most of This Trend
- The Rise of Experience Tourism and What It Means for the Leisure Industry
- Health Tourism in the EU: Facts and Figures