By virtue of the fact they’re choosing to take a trip alone, solo travellers are unsurprisingly an adventurous group.
Sometimes people travel in their own company by choice, sometimes it’s out of necessity. Approximately 25% of the population have never been married, are divorced, or are widowed. These individuals still want and deserve to experience the beauty of travel, and will often decide to do it alone.
A recent poll by Kayak reveals more insights into the solo traveller market:
- More than a third of adults have been on a holiday by themselves, with almost 20% doing so in the past year – a further 18% said they’d like to travel solo
- 18% also mentioned they’d had a holiday romance that probably wouldn’t happen when travelling with companions
- A total of 70% of solo travellers indicated travelling alone allowed them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do
- The freedom to ‘create your own timetable’ was listed as a benefit by 59%
- Eating and drinking where/when you want was chosen by 47%, and not having to visit things you’re not interested in by 33%
Further indications of solo travel increasing in popularity is evidenced by Pinterest’s 2018 Travel Trend Report, which notes a 593% surge from the previous year in saved pins for solo travel.
Other developments in 2018 include Expedia reporting a rise in single occupancy bookings, and Lonely Planet publishing The Solo Travel Handbook.
Where are solo travellers likely to go?
According to Intrepid Travel the top 10 destinations for solo travellers are:
What activities do solo travellers engage in?
While naturally there are still crossovers of what people will do in a group and what they’ll do alone, solo travellers are usually more willing to try new things and take a less structured approach to their holiday, happy to ‘go off the beaten path’.
Some of the most common activities for women (who make up a bigger proportion of solo travellers) and men travelling alone include:
- Signing up for free city tours
- Strike up conversations and meet locals
- Take their time and do more of what they enjoy
- Solo dining experiences
- Explore nature and more isolated parts of the environment
- Take a class – both in new and familiar areas
- Learning and cultural discovery such as museums and monuments
- Attend local performances
How can your hotel encourage solo travellers to book with you?
Taking into account what solo travellers are likely to be interested in, there are a number of ways to increase your chances of capturing their booking. For a start, taking an aspirational approach to your website design will immediately draw their attention. Solo travellers are often attracted by the promise of an inspiring journey, so using high-quality images that reflect this sentiment is a good idea.
Including plenty of information on your website is also essential for solo travellers, who will want to be in charge of their own trip and be well informed about where they’re staying and what they can do. You might even go so far as to include a solo traveller section on your blog.
By far the best thing you can do for solo travellers – and in general for that matter – is to fully integrate your hotel with the local community. Many of the interests listed above will be covered by your endeavours to introduce certain initiatives into your hotel like:
- Local cooking, arts, or exercise classes
- Package deals that include tickets to attractions and historical sites
- Making your hotel the start or check-in point of tours
- Hosting local performances
- Publish informative content on the most stunning natural wonders to explore, and restaurants to visit
Communication is also extremely important when it comes to solo travellers. They, in particular, like to stay in touch. Inspire your guests through pre- and post-stay messaging, by informing them about upcoming events and new specials.
When solo guests are at your hotel be sure to make them feel welcome by discussing their plans with them, and offer any advice or recommendations they might need. Travelling alone can be daunting so the more assistance you offer, the more comfortable and grateful they’ll be.
For a detailed example of how you can cater to solo travellers, check out this program from the St Giles hotel group.