Believe that vacations are limited only to flocks of friends, families or attached couples? Think again.
In its most recent Travel Intentions Study, Visa discovered that global solo travel is following an upward trend, with 24% of people having journeyed on their own during their last leisure trip.
Affluent solo travelers more than doubled to 32%—but those considered not affluent still accounted for two-thirds of the pool.
First-time travelers became more adventurous too, increasing their solo travel to 37%.
What do these facts and figures tell us? More than ever, accommodating solo travelers must be a priority for any member of the travel and hospitality community. In your amenities, offerings, rates and marketing promotions, remember to welcome those solitary-yet-significant explorers.
Here are only a few ideas on how you can be more mindful of this market:
First, avoid the temptation to stereotype.
Lots of solo travelers are actually married or in committed relationships. Sometimes, they cannot (due to conflicting schedules or other responsibilities, etc.) or choose not to (because of different interests or wanting an independent, flexible escape, for instance) tour together as a couple.
On the flip side, many solo travelers are truly single or divorced. But don’t assume they’re chasing after affection. They’re more likely to seek a relationship with their destination than prowl for a love connection.
Be free…of the single supplement.
A steep penalty (sometimes over 100%!) for roving alone is hardly what we’d call inviting. The single supplement—a charge solo travelers pay to hotels, cruise lines and group tours because just one guest occupies the room or cabin—is meant to help these providers recover the costs normally covered by double occupancy.
While still the exception, many (and more) prominent, prestigious providers have made it a rule to rally added solo-travel revenue by leveling the playing field with a price break. Their strategy to waive or decrease single supplements pays off in boosted bookings by solo guests who appreciate the attractive value.
Likewise, create single-oriented deals and packages, which can include single-oriented accommodations, activities and events, and market them to people planning to vacation independently.
One doesn’t have to be the loneliest number.
Nobody wants to be that fifth wheel. Keep single guests from feeling like outcasts by giving chances for them to have human contact and meet other solo travelers.
How can you do that? Consider inspired options in line with the following concepts:
- Meeting spots, lounges and mixers where they can mingle.
- A share program that matches up same-gender and/or like-minded roommates, passengers or travel buddies.
- Designated restaurant tables at which they can gather to dine.
- Some cruise lines have gotten really creative in tailoring to their needs, hiring (mostly mature male) dance hosts to cut a rug with (mostly mature, unescorted, female) passengers.
Go for bespoke.
Also increasingly popular among solo travelers are personal guided tours. The Visa Travel Intentions Study revealed that this type of arrangement has nearly tripled among them. Consider it further proof that they still often enjoy the safety and companionship that comes in numbers.
If you’re a tour operator, stay attentive to the requests and wish lists of single travelers. And if you’re not, partner with a good one, and helpfully point your guests their way.
We can pair your brand with the solo travel market.
So let’s get together! Email Lynn Kaniper at email@example.com or call 609.466.9187, ext. 117 today.