The Rise of Solo Travel and What it Means for Your Tour Company

Activities previously enjoyed together with a companion can now be done on your own as more and more travelers are choosing to travel solo as opposed to planning groups or couple trips.

Solo travel on the rise among women and superboomers

In fact, according to a study across 25 countries conducted by Visa on Global Travel Intentions , one in five travelers aged 18-35 chose to travel by themselves in their most recent leisure trips. Solo travel has continued to grow among the affluent and first-time travelers and has increased among the so-called ‘superboomers’ group – these are adults over the age of 44.

Off-beat destinations preferred by solo travelers

In an interview with Jennifer Halboth, director of channel marketing for the Globus Family of Brands, she shared that solo travelers are in search for exotic and less traveled places, “Solo travelers gravitate more toward exotics and off-the-beaten-path Europe, because people want to be in a group environment when going to those types of places”.

Tour companies looking to target these travelers have the opportunity to customize trips by holding singles-only food tour, offering promo codes for exclusive for single travelers and incorporate ‘feel-good’ activities that they could try for the first time and participate with other solo travelers as a group and focusing on boosting promotions towards less-traveled destinations.

Challenging activities appeal to most ‘wander women’

Solo travel has also been on the rise among female travelers with 50 percent embracing their solitude and independence during the trip.

According to an interview by CTV News with Prof. Gabor Forgacs, from Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, rise of solo travel is a reflection of changing population trends. “The travel industry looks very carefully at demographics, and tries to understand people’s changing travel pattern”.

“They noticed that there’s a significant growth in single households; there are more people living alone than ever before, so logically there’s a change in travel patterns”, Forgacs added.

“Even people in relationships, more frequently than ever before, are electing to take a solo trip,” Forgacs said, noting that different hobbies and interests usually lead couples to take separate holidays.

“And the industry is eager to capitalize on this growing group of travelers, by offering special packages, tours and accommodations geared towards single people”, according to Forgacs.

Those in relationships are also taking solo travel trips due to differing interests

Customized and guided packages for solo travelers

As the numbers of solo travelers move up, more travel and tour companies are paying attention by offering guided tours and getaways customized toward activities preferred by solo travelers such as horseback riding, trekking and rappelling.

Recommend activities based on tours taken by similar demographics

By taking notice at the solo travelers travel behaviors, tour operators could start offering customized experience right from the booking process where they could proactively suggest trip locations and activities based on previously visited destinations by people within a similar demographic. For example, based on the data provided by the solo traveler, the tour operators could either automate the suggestion process or get their account managers to contact the customer by recommending the most popular travel destinations and activities taken by other solo travelers in the past.

Other tour operators responded to the rising demand by adding more cabins dedicated to solo travelers and single supplements. Other companies including the taxi-booking app, Uber, decided to offer group discounts to solo travelers. In April, the on-demand car service Uber sent customers an email before a San Francisco Giants game that said, “If you’re headed to today’s game solo, or even with one friend, opt for uberPOOL. UberPOOL will match you with a rider going to a similar destination, and get you there for $7 or less.”

With the increase of the demand for solo travels, tour companies could make great use of the upward trend and demand to customize specific packages by providing its travelers a preview of the kind of experiences they would have on their website and social accounts to help solo travelers decide quicker during their planning stages. Incorporating “feel good” and extreme activities and making it really easy to book online will not only elicit interest from solo travelers but also easily convert visitors into loyal customers in the long run.