Katherine Lawrey speaks to industry specialists who help to dispel some of the myths surrounding solo travel that might be holding potential customers back
When you meet a potential client who’s keen for an adventure but doesn’t have a travelling buddy, chances are they are looking for some reassurance. Your job is actually getting easier in this respect because an increasing number of travel companies are now tapping into the ever growing solo market, making it more attractive for individuals to meet like-minded people. It can be daunting setting off from home alone, but these worries can easily be set aside, as we discovered by chatting to a few solo travel specialists.
What happens if I don’t like my roommate?
Room allocations aren’t just thrown together randomly. Andrew Turner, head of industry sales for Intrepid Travel explains: “We allocate rooms by matching clients of similar ages wherever possible, and often receive great feedback from passengers commenting on how well they get along with their roommate and fellow travellers.”
“In the overwhelming majority of cases, passengers sharing rooms are respectful, friendly and like-minded travellers, but of course room allocations can be changed on the trip if necessary.”
Escorted group tours are for young people or old people, surely? There won’t be anyone my age…
This is rapidly changing. A break-out operator here is Richard Branson-endorsed Flash Pack, which is just for people in their 30s and 40s.
G Adventures is also booking more child-free clients in that age group. Managing director Brian Young says: “We’re seeing a growing trend for solo travellers who sit above the ‘millennial’ age bracket.
As people’s travel tastes develop, they might find their travel wish list differs to that of friends and partners. The most popular style for this age bracket are our National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures tours, which provide a little more comfort and unique experiences, plus our Marine travel style encompassing expedition and river cruise and the Galapagos.”
I don’t want to share a room – but a single supplement is expensive.
A number of escorted tour operators will routinely run with no single supplement offers, including Titan and Mercury Holidays.
Great Rail Journeys currently has nine tours on sale with no single supplement, including India’s Golden Triangle and Tiger Safari and a Grand Tour of Switzerland.
Group sales and marketing director Alex Roberts says that there is a sociable atmosphere on GRJ tours but customers have the freedom to be as involved as they like. He also points out that, when a single supplement is applicable, it only reflects the costs levied by some hotels for single occupancy.
“Our approach is one of fairness,” he explains. “We do not charge a supplement for rail travel, excursions, transfers, meals or the services of a tour manager.”
Group tours are all about culture – yawn!
Not any more. Whatever your passion, there’s a group tour to suit, from cycling to safaris.
Singles specialist Just You’s range includes winter snow and beach holidays, so your solo client can have company while they ski down Alpine slopes or laze on Caribbean beaches.
Colin Wilson, sales director, says: “Our Just You travellers tend to be more adventurous and are constantly looking for different types of holidays, hence we have a wide range of unique experiences. Some examples are the Just You Ski programme, the Global Explorer, our round the world tour, Polar Bear Adventure and, of course, our Arizona ranch experience where you live like a cowboy.”