Report: ABTA Solo Travel Conference

The oppotunity to do what one wants on holiday is the main reason travellers choose to go solo. Sam Ballard reports from ABTA’s inaugural conference

The solo travel sector grew by 12 per cent last year, Abta revealed at its inaugural Solo Travel Conference.

The event, for which Solus was media partner, was held in central London in June.

Victoria Bacon, Abta’s director of brand and business development, added that the top reason people travel on their own is to be able to do what they want while on holiday. Meeting new people was third on the list.

Bacon added that solo travellers generally lack confidence and needed more guidance and support when it came to booking a holiday.

The findings were backed up by Travelzoo boss Joel Brandon-Bravo, who said that 56 per cent of their solo travellers were women and 68 per cent were over 35 years-old. Of the total, 60 per cent were married or in a relationship. Brandon-Bravo also called for a travel industry-wide initiative to support solo travel in September (see p16). 

The event also saw speakers from companies including G Adventures, Intrepid and Saga discussing important issues around catering to solo travel. 

Some of the topics covered included the rise of the solo traveller, who the solo traveller is and what they want, and how to effectively market and sell solo products.

During a talk on social media by Four Communications, the event partner, Megan Butler, the company’s planning director, said that women represented 62 per cent of those who would post on social media about solo travel. 

Tom Smith, marketing director of Intrepid, said that the small group specialist launched its solo programme in 2017 to destinations including Peru, Vietnam, Morocco, India and Bali. Smith added that the company had trained its on-the-ground staff to understand the various issues including group dynamics and providing solo travellers with more information than those travelling in a couple.  


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