“The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau
Combining adventure with luxury travel has been a trend for the last couple of years. But beyond that adventure-luxury combination, travellers are simply becoming more adventurous.
Whether the number of single people is increasing, or people in general are more well-informed and confident about travel these days, more and more people are choosing to explore the world and head off on global adventures by themselves.
According to The Telegraph: Hitwise, the largest online behavioural research tool in the UK, reported that after analysing search engine usage among 3 million consumers in the UK, there has been a 143 percent increase in search for “solo travel” over the past three years.
So what can travel brands do in order to cater to this growing market?
Well as a whole, travel brands should support and encourage solo travellers. There are a number of ways for brands to make solo travellers not feel disadvantaged for being on their own.
Here are just a few of them:
Get Rid of Single Supplements
The rise of solo travel has reached even the cruising industry, a niche so popular with couples and groups. Renowned river cruise line Uniworld has reported a 25 percent increase in solo travellers and has gotten rid of single supplement surcharge on most of their popular cruises.
Overseas Adventure Travel, known for operating tours in small groups (no more than groups of 16), has completely eliminated single supplements on all of its trips. And today, more than 40 percent of their guests are solo travellers, a big change compared to one in four just over five years ago.
Solo travellers should no longer feel as if they are being charged simply for not having a travel companion. Travel brands need to stop the traditional expectation of solo travellers not spending as much as two or more, which leads us to our next tip:
Welcome the Surge of Baby Boomers Travelling Solo
When we hear the term “solo traveller” it is easier for us to imagine young backpackers jetting off into the far corners of the world blazing the trail for solo travel.
It is time for us to re-think that image.
According to statistics and data from Solo Traveler World, there is an increase in baby boomers travelling solo. A study done by Booking.com of 20,500 global travellers revealed that two fifths (40%) of global Baby Boomers have taken a solo trip in the last year and a further fifth (21%) planning to take one in the future.
Baby boomers love to travel but they are also increasingly single. Sad as it may seem, when someone reaches the age of 50 and above, life events inevitably throw them towards the rite of passage of solo travel.
Those who are separated, divorced or who have experienced the death of a partner may find themselves wanting to travel, but the lack of a travel partner is not going to be a hindrance for them.
On top of this, the longer life expectancy worldwide means that Baby Boomers are in the workplace longer. This means that many turn to travel for relaxation and rejuvenation to treat themselves.
The older solo travellers of today are more interested in getting travel experiences that are memorable and authentic. And travel brands would do well to listen and cater to this market. For this is a group that find themselves with more means and time to travel.
Women Travelling Solo
While females travelling solo isn’t a ground-breaking new trend, there’s been a dramatic increase of women travelling alone over the past five years.
An article by Travel Agent Central states that Europe Express, a leading wholesaler in the European custom group, has reported that their company’s solo travel clients’ median age group ranges from 41-47, have an average income of USD 150,000 and about 85 percent of them are female.
Call it the Eat Pray Love phenomenon, but there really are more women going on travel adventures by themselves than men.
A survey done by Solo Traveler World asked women why they travel alone and they found that there are more times in a woman’s life when responsibilities are restrictive so solo travel acts as a break for them.
Because of this, in general, women are more adventurous than men and are more comfortable being on their own.
Solo female travellers who fall under that age bracket may tend to lean towards group travel as there is still safety in numbers, especially when heading to ‘adventurous’ locations such as South America and Africa.
With solo travellers being composed mainly of women and baby boomers – travel brands are urged to think how this can affect them as this group of travellers are increasing in number and will continue to explore the world.
Has your brand seen surges in solo travel the past number of years? How has your experience been?