Why is solo travel on the rise?
The rise in solo travel is a fascinating phenomenon that travel agents should not ignore. Many studies reveal that solo trips are particularly popular among women and millennial travelers. Solo travelers travel frequently, plan carefully, and love to blaze their own trail. They don’t shy away from a high price tag as long as they can have a unique, meaningful experience. The great news for travel advisors is that this group is also looking for guidance. Their top travel fears are safety, getting lost, and the stress of planning. Their setbacks are everything you excel at preventing.
Exploring the solo travel trend reveals much about what is motivating today’s traveler to go. For travel agents already serving this demographic, it’s important to take a look at some of the unique needs and goals of these clients. If the solo travel market remains uncharted territory, it may be worth a look. Solo travel is a profitable niche with so much untapped potential. If you’re overlooking this market, you could be missing out.
So what’s driving the rise in solo travel?
1. Freedom to explore
Our main motivators for travel have shifted in the past decade. Travel used to be focused primarily on leisure, family time, and getting away from work. Today’s traveler is often motivated by curiosity, exploration, and even personal growth. Without a travel companion, the single traveler is able to freely engage with their surroundings: soaking up culture, meeting with locals, and moving at their own pace.
2. The rise in technology
The world is less of a mystery than it used to be. With just the click of a button, we can translate a foreign sign or pull up directions to anywhere. The technology provided by the internet and cell phones makes travel easier and safer than ever before. Affordable access to GPS tracking devices allows family back home to monitor your location as you go. This has given many travelers a sort of safety net to venture out on their own.
3. Ability to work remotely
Also rising from the recent growth of technology is the trend toward working remotely. It was almost unheard of decades ago. Now it is estimated that over two-thirds of people around the world work remotely at least once a week. For young professionals with less responsibility at home, this means the ability to travel frequently without falling behind at work. Or, in some cases, the travel might even be integrated with their career.
What does this mean for travel professionals?
Solo travelers usually have a pretty good grasp on what they hope to gain from their experience, although they might not be able to articulate how to get there. This gives you, as the travel advisor, lots of room for creative guidance. Start by asking questions and helping define their goals. Are they looking for relaxation or adventure? Are they hoping for peace and quiet, or the opportunity to meet new friends? Here are a few other things to consider when working with solo travelers.
1. They have more flexibility
Booking for one means only one schedule and one set of travel preferences to worry about. No coordinating time-off, mixed dietary needs, and conflicting interests. This simplicity provides lots of opportunities to create an adventure that will far exceed your client’s expectations. Suggest date flexibility to get lower prices. Offer stopovers, upgrades, or add-ons. Encourage your solo travelers to get out of their comfort zone and try something new every chance they get.
2. They opt for shoulder season travel
Most solo travelers book during fall or spring. May, October, and November are the top months for solo travel, and July and August are the lowest. This trend may point to the solo traveler’s desire for a more authentic experience, without the heavy, touristy feel of the high season. If your business tends to slow down after summer break, this could give you a good boost.
3. They travel frequently
Solo travelers tend to book trips more frequently than couples or families. Finances, flexibility, and time all contribute towards the solo traveler’s ability to take multiple trips throughout the year. One study polling solo travelers revealed the 43% travel three or more times per year. Building great relationships with repeat customers takes less time and money than constantly searching out new ones. If you struggle with clients who book once and then disappear, this could be a worthwhile niche to explore.
4. Safety is key
Working with single travelers will require you to place a greater emphasis on travel safety. Helping your clients choose safe itineraries and accommodations will help them feel more confident with going alone. Don’t hesitate to share any travel resources or tips that will help them navigate their destination. Most importantly, don’t let your solo travelers leave home without travel insurance! Our Centrav team can help you find great insurance products for both long and short-term trips. Find out more about how you can sell and commission through travel insurance here!
5. Focused marketing
Is solo travel a niche you could tap into? If you have the knowledge and experience to do it, don’t miss out! Spend some time researching this market and trying a few solo trips yourself. When you are ready, work out a targeted marketing plan to reach this demographic.