Tap Into The Solo Travel Market: A Guide for Tour Operators

Tap Into The Solo Travel Market: A Guide for Tour Operators

Thanks to technology, travelers are more comfortable traveling solo than they have ever been before.

Let’s take a closer look at the solo travel market, and how tour operators can tap into it.

What defines a solo traveler?

Tourism Intelligence defines a solo traveler as a person traveling alone, unaccompanied by another member of the same household.

But it’s more complex than that. The University of St. Gallen in Switzerland identified 4 solo travel categories:

  • Single-solo (live alone and travel alone)
  • Single-group (live alone but travel in a group of more than 6 people)
  • Collective-solo (live in a multi-person household, but travel alone)
  • Collective-group (live with others but travel without them in a group of more than 6 people)

It’s important to note that not all solo travelers are single – some have partners who are too busy working or don’t enjoy same style of holiday.

What do solo travelers look like?

There are several trends that are apparent in solo travel.

Age differences

Single-solo and single-group travelers are typically older women, while collective-solo and collective-group travelers are typically younger men.

Travel Weekly reports that:

  • 44% of travel agency clients taking solo trips are 55 or older
  • 29% are between the ages of 45 and 55
  • 18% are between the ages of 35 and 45
  • 9% are between the ages of 25 and 35
  • 0.4% are between the ages of 18 and 24

It seems that because they have the most time and money to spare, older travelers are the ones that traveling alone more often.

Gender differences

The Solo Travel Report by Booking.com found that more women between 25 and 45 in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany, are comfortable with the idea of solo travel.

American women…

  • Take an average of 3 solo trips or more per year.
  • Two thirds have traveled without a partner.
  • Over half are keen to try solo travel.

Australian women…

  • Almost two thirds travel solo.
  • Opted most often for a spa or retreat.

The ability to stay constantly connected is cited as the reason for such an upsurge in women traveling solo. In fact, 58% said that social media made them feel safer, and 49% of women said it enables them to better explore their destination and discover places that are off the beaten track.

Knowing these kinds of demographics is the key to selling your tours to them.

What do solo travelers want?

According to Travel Market Report, the demand from solo travelers is highest for programs that are adventure-oriented or that feature exotic destinations.

The single-group traveler look for sightseeing tours, while the collective-group traveler are more interested in events & sports vacations.

And because they tend to stay at hotels (instead of with friends and family, or at vacation homes), tour operators should make sure to approach surrounding hotels and establish a partnership with them (or at least their concierges).

Since they are coming from overseas, possibly from countries where they don’t speak your language, they are more likely to be booking through travel agents.

You should make it easy for your agents to book them in. Can you take payments and send notifications with a few quick clicks?

If not, use an automated booking system like Rezdy to keep everyone on the same page.

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