According to TripAdvisor, 17% of millennial travelers will embark on their first ever solo trip in 2016. However, solo travel is also being undertaken by Baby Boomers, female travelers and Asian travelers.
Tour and activity companies should brace themselves for these travelers, who will be seeking to push their boundaries and interact with their environments in an authentic way that is highly personalised and incredibly local. Here are some key features of this growing trend.
1. Rise in solo travelers from APAC
From my personal experience traveling across Europe, the photos on my Facebook feed, and a survey published by TripAdvisor with more than 5000 respondents, 25% of Asian respondents intend to travel solo in 2016.
It should also be noted that by 2030, 50% of travelers will come from Asia Pacific, in particular India and China. Japan will also be the largest spender in the travel sector.
2. More females will travel solo
A simple Google search on "solo female travel" yields 38,300,000 results and Google trends reports this search term to more than triple over the past three years. If people are searching for it, you can bet that they will embarking on a solo trip soon.
The first five results focus more or less on the safety aspect of traveling as a solo female, suggesting that safety is a huge area of concern for female travelers. For tour and activity operators, you need to make sure your tourism company is run professionally and that this comes across clearly on all your communication platforms.
Solo female travelers also want an authentic travel experience, which means a highly personalised experience with friendly guides and friendlier locals. However, there's a very thin line between being friendly and being unprofessional. Make sure your guides know their boundaries and stick to them.
3. Baby Boomers want to join in on the fun too
"The average adventure traveler is not a 28-year old male, but a 47-year-old female. And she wears a size 12 dress", according to Marybeth Bond from The Gutsy Traveler. Apart from 47-year-olds, Baby Boomers are also embarking on solo adventures around the globe. They're those aged 52 to 70, with 44% of solo travelers being 55 years old or older.
4. Solo travelers are looking for adventure
15% of solo travelers will be taking an adventure trip this year, which is almost 1 in 5 solo travelers. Adventure travel can be categorised as anything from a hiking trip to a diving excursion to "glamping" outdoors.
In line with their desire to experience new things, many solo adventure travelers are looking for unique and untouched places, where the scenery is breath taking and unexpected moments of inspiration are found.
5. Europe is the top choice for solo travelers
Travel Guard found that Europe was the preferred destination for solo travelers, followed by Mexico, the Caribbean and America. Tour and activity companies are taking note of this trend too, creating packages that accommodate more solo travelers seeking new experiences.
Do you have any tips on how to attract solo travelers to your tours or activities?
Is your company ready to accept online bookings from solo travelers around the world?
Written by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.