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Good News for Solo Travelers

October 24, 2017 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

More and more traveling is done solo, partly due to demographics and partly due to personal choice. But it’s not always easy, says Solo Traveler, an online resource and community that is focused on providing information, inspiration, and advocacy for the solo traveler and the travel industry that is growing to serve them.

Today, Solo Traveler announced the results of the first-ever Solo Travel Awards (sponsored by WorldNomads.com) and named the companies that are doing it right when it comes to attracting and serving this frequent traveler. They also uncovered some sectors that failed to rank in the awards process,including the ocean cruise industry which is failing solo travelers so badly there were no nominees. The river cruise category is not faring much better: three of the five Awards judges refused to recognize the river cruise nominees as delivering what solo travelers need.

The Judges, the Selection Criteria, and the Winners

With the support of its premier sponsor, World Nomads, Solo Traveler enlisted the expertise of esteemed judges and influencers in the sector to determine the winners.

The judges of the Solo Travel Awards include:

  • Spud Hilton, travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Keith Jenkins, CEO, iambassador and publisher, Velvet Escape
  • Andrew McCarthy, director, award winning travel writer, and actor
  • Tracey Nesbitt, editor and contributor, Solo Traveler
  • Oneika Raymond, publisher, Oneika the Traveller and in-house travel expert for CTV’s Your Morning.

The selection criteria for the awards included:

  • How well companies cater to solo travelers in terms of whether they apply a single supplement and how much is charged.
  • Whether prices are published based on double occupancy.
  • Whether solo spaces are limited and if so, how many are allocated for solo travelers.
  • Whether there are special services provided for solo travelers before or during trips.

The following companies were among the winners:

Tours – Intrepid Travel and Overseas Adventure Travel

Specialty Tours – Encounter Travel

Packaged Trips – Mistral Singles and Transat Holidays

River Cruises – No Winner

“There are still too many barriers for solo travelers despite the overwhelming evidence of the upside for the industry to serve this market. We’re going to continue to advocate for the solo market and are looking forward to using the insight we have gained from our global community to help companies capitalize on one of the most important and emerging travel trends.”

Facts and Stats:

Statistics on the solo travel market:

  • The current western proportions of single-person households (e.g. 31 percent in the UK) are wholly unprecedented historically, even reaching to 60 percent or more of households in some modern European and North American cities. Source
  • *Roughly one in four people say they will travel solo in the next year (2018) — and that’s on the rise, according to a survey of 2,300 people by marketing firm MMGY Global. Source
  • Between August 2015 and August 2017, the number of searches on Google for solo travel grew by 58%. Source
  • 17% will try solo travel for the first time in 2016, according to a survey of more than 44,000 travelers by online travel company TripAdvisor.Source
  • Between 2013 and 2015 the percentage of people polled who travel on their own grew from 15% to 24% according to the Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2015. Source

·       A 2014 Booking.com survey resulted in a Solo Travel Report that revealed 72 percent of American women are taking solo journeys empowered by social media.  Source

  • 54% of travelers considered affluent by a MMGY Global study are women. Source
  • 65% of US women polled by Booking.com have vacationed without their partners. Source 

What solo travelers are looking for

The awards pointed to both best practices and unacceptable practices according to Solo Traveler.

  • Most tours and cruises are sold based on double occupancy. When solo travelers book such trips, they are frequently penalized with a fee called the single supplement. This additional fee could be up to, or, in some cases, in excess of, 100%. With the number of people traveling solo on the rise, both travelers and the travel industry miss out when there is a single supplement.
  • Room sharing is one way that tour and cruise companies suggest that solo travelers avoid the single supplement, however, Solo Traveler frequently hears from readers that this is objectionable. One reader asked, “I wonder how couples paired with other couples would like sharing with strangers?”
  • Special services for solo travelers such as welcome receptions, communal tables, closed Facebook groups for travelers to meet one another before departure, and extra support during free time on tours are being offered by leaders in the solo travel market.

The companies behind the Solo Travel Awards 

Solo Traveler is an online resource and community dedicated to solo travelers. Established in 2009, it is regarded as the definitive source and community for those who travel alone, with over 300,000 travelers from 159 countries engaging with the community every month. The Solo Travel Awards were launched in 2017 to recognize the companies who are effectively catering to the solo travel market. The 2018 Awards will open in April.

World Nomads is a fast-growing online travel company that provides inspiration, advice, safety tips, and specialized travel insurance for independent, volunteer, and student travelers traveling and studying most anywhere in the world. Their online global travel insurance covers travelers from more than 150 countries and allows you to buy and claim online, 24/7, even while already traveling.  While they are not a healthcare provider, their insurance focuses on what is really important to the traveler: emergency medical and evacuation costs, baggage, trip cancellation costs, dental and personal liability (depending on the customer’s country of residence … please read the policy wording for full details on what is covered). They also cover more than 200 adventure activities and tech gear.  Their policies are underwritten by a global suite of premier-tier insurers and emergency assistance providers making them the No. 1 choice for many of the world’s leading adventure and youth travel brands.

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