February 1, 2022
In the coming years, we can expect to see more solo travelers than ever before. In 2019, solo travel made up around 18% of bookings. As the travel industry adapts to a post-pandemic world, these numbers are only rising — Google trends data from 2021 showed that solo travel was up by an astounding 761%.
This recent surge of solo travelers, including senior singles travelers, presents an opportunity for companies that can cater to this rapidly growing market.
Not every traveler takes a trip alone for the same reason. Some are looking for a safer way to explore travel after COVID-19, while others might enjoy the chance for solo reflection and personal growth. Either way, you’ll need to adjust your strategies to reach solo travelers — and entice them to your tour — if you want to tap into the solo travel market.
To make the most of this trend, you need to know what solo travelers are looking for in their next travel adventure. Here are some of the best ways you can adapt your services, packages, and marketing strategies to target those traveling solo.
Most solo travelers are thorough about researching their vacation beforehand. 23% of solo travelers choose their destination four months before they leave.
When they do make a booking, research shows that solo travelers tend to travel for longer. Solo travelers take an average of 19 days on their trip — longer than couples or other larger groups. When they spend this much time at a destination, they’re either filling out their itinerary as much as possible, or they’ll have some extra time for last-minute bookings. Both are opportunities for tour operators to take advantage of.
With solo travel especially, you can expect to see travelers who favor flexibility in their schedules. 52% of solo travelers say they want to avoid routine in their trips. They tend to go with the flow, seeking out new experiences as they explore their destination.
This means that operators who offer flexible bookings and last-minute availability have the best chance of capturing the attention of solo travelers. Your tour and activity website should clearly list your booking calendar. Availability should be up-to-date, allowing travelers to book months in advance as well as last-minute if they’re already at your destination.
Most solo travelers aren’t looking for the standard tourist experience. Instead, they’re seeking out highly authentic experiences that allow them to meaningfully connect with their destination. They want to be fully immersed in the local culture and go off the beaten path.
Many solo travelers will also be eager to challenge themselves with something they’ve never done before. This can be as simple as taking a cooking class in the local cuisine or as adventurous as trying out a shark diving cage.
To capitalize on this drive for adventure and authenticity, you should keep this in mind as you market your own tour and activity. When selecting images and writing copy for advertisements or your website, emphasize what your own travel experience has to offer. With your tour, can travelers engage on a deeper level with the local culture? Get closer to nature in an adventurous way?
Solo travelers might be on their own, but they tend to stay closely connected to the outside world through their mobile phones. Many travelers will be heavily reliant on their phones to help them plan and organize the details of the trip, as well as navigate a new and unfamiliar culture.
Make sure that you’re reaching these travelers by optimizing your website to be as mobile-friendly as possible. It should be easy for a traveler to move through your booking process — even if they’re on the go — from their mobile phones.
When seeking out travel experiences, solo travelers want to see a more personalized experience. 43% of solo travelers want to receive inspiration for their next trip based on personal preferences. This means that inspirational content, like blogs, advertisements, and social media posts, should be more personalized than ever.
While it’s impossible for marketing campaigns to be individualized for every traveler, you can instead split up your marketing to target a range of distinct groups, or personas. For example, you can craft a social media post aimed towards young female travelers who are looking to meet new people. Or build an advertising campaign focused on senior single travelers who are looking for something relaxing and scenic. By strategically positioning your tours to different groups, you can personalize your marketing and attract a much wider audience.
While some solo travelers hit the road to enjoy their alone time, many others are actively looking to connect with new people. Guided tours are becoming especially popular for solo travelers — 52% of solo travelers say they’d be interested in a group tour.
This means that you don’t have to focus your offerings solely on single-traveler experiences. Instead, focus on marketing your group tours toward the solo traveler. Make it clear that your tour is solo-traveler friendly, including plenty of opportunities for those who want to socialize and make new friends.
Solo travel is on the rise, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you can approach this growing segment the same way you would other travelers. By understanding the way they think and what they’re looking for from a tour and activity experience, you can make the most of the huge potential that solo travelers bring to the industry.
Whether a solo traveler is already at the destination and booking last minute or planning ahead of time to find the most authentic, personalized experience, your website should take them through the process from beginning to end. That’s where Junglebee comes in. Our booking system integrates seamlessly with your website, making it easier than ever to take prospective solo travelers from your website to their final booking. Learn more about our booking software or sign up for a demo today!