From intrepid millennial travelers eager to explore the world to savvy senior travelers checking off their bucket lists, solo travel is on the rise. According to statistics and trends curated by Solo Traveler, roughly one in four travelers said they would travel solo in 2018. This stat is corroborated by Travel Agent Central, which notes that 25% of millennials are planning a solo trip in the next two years. Ready to win over this growing travel segment? Dana suggests mastering these four mindsets.
- Make them feel wanted. Solo travelers have traditionally felt like the “third wheel” of the travel category. With pricing based per couple or double occupancy, it’s hard to not feel unwanted. While the industry has done an admirable job of marketing to the IBT (Individual Business Traveler) market through loyalty programs and perks, the solo leisure traveler isn’t likely to see themselves represented in marketing efforts. Start by showing solo travelers in your materials and adding relevant content on your website and social platforms. For example, Overseas Adventure Travel includes testimonials from solo travelers on its website.
- Address concerns up front. Whether or not you’re on your own, you want to feel secure, important and included. And solo travelers have a legitimate beef here! Who hasn’t heard stories of being seated by the kitchen doors in a restaurant, being ignored at the front desk or just feeling “less than” when traveling alone? Be sure you hit on top solo traveler concerns in your materials—and make sure your staff is on board, too. Employee training can pay off by ensuring that solo travelers are treated to the same standard of service as couples, IBTs and families. For tips on supporting solo female travelers in particular, check Maiden Voyage and Solo Traveler.
- Be frank about the finances. Oh, that dreaded “single supplement”! It can be a real bone of contention with singles. We like the way our client smarTours® tackles the topic. When they launch their new website, they’ll be devoting content to solo travelers and addressing the concern up front. Once solo travelers understand how hotel bookings work for group travel, they are more likely to be forgiving of the extra charge. But if you want to win over this group, be honest and don’t gouge them. Take the example of Celestyal Cruises. This cruise operator serving the Greek Isles actively pursues the solo travel market by pricing single supplements at 70% less than most cruise lines and providing attractive offers like Last Chance No Single Supplement.
- Help make the connections. It helps solo travelers if there are opportunities to connect with other people, and you can help make those connections happen. Whether you’re simply suggesting restaurants with communal dining tables, including group get-togethers on tours or offering on-property gathering places, these introductions will be appreciated and remembered. A long-standing example of making connections is the hosted wine hour at Kimpton Hotels, a decades-long amenity that led to a near-fanatical following of Kimpton by solo travelers.
And don’t miss the boat. Now is the perfect time to capitalize on the growing solo traveler trend. Assess your offerings to make sure that you’re marketing to solo travelers. Need help? Contact Lynn Kaniper at 609-466-9187 ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.