The solo traveler is beginning to receive some acknowledgement from the travel industry. Whether by life status or choice, in the last few years the number of people who travel alone has grown tremendously. The solo travel segment is even creating some industry buzz just by the numbers involved in the trend. Although solo travel is by no means new, it has become increasingly mainstream, partly because of shifting demographics in addition to a number of other factors.
In the U.S. alone, single people now makeup the majority of the adult population. The fact is many people are either waiting to marry later in life, divorced, or lost their spouse due to death. But people of all age groups, marital statuses, and nationalities are solo traveling now. Because of the internet people are much more informed about the world around them, both near and far, than in previous decades. This gives them the confidence needed to get on a plane and fly around the world or across country alone. And with the world waiting for their personal exploration, many individuals have no intention of missing out on what the Internet has to offer them.
What is really driving this trend forward currently is the number of women, particularly those over 50 years old, who are solo traveling in ever-growing numbers. These female solo travelers are seeking the freedom to explore, without having to compromise their dreams because of friends, family or partners. And this segment is not limited to single, divorced or widowed women only. Many women who have partners at home are now choosing to take vacations apart from their significant others and are traveling solo as well. Whatever their motivations and inspirations for traveling solo, there is a significant number of women with the inclination and financial means to travel the world on their own terms.
The trending solo travel market represents a substantial portion of both today’s hotel revenue and tomorrow’s, as the segment continues to grow. Hoteliers should leverage the solo traveler by reaching out to meet their travel needs. We will explore those needs and how hotels can best capitalize on this important travel development in Part Two of this series.