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How online travel agencies can target solo travelers

September 10, 2019
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By 
Travelport

Solo travel is a hot trend at the moment; 18% of global bookings in the last year were made by those traveling alone, marking an annual growth of 7%.

The trend is only set to continue as younger travelers take to the road alone. Mobile technology gives solo travelers access to a new world of experiences and the opportunity to connect with others on their travels through couch surfing or guided trips – so it’s unsurprising that 58% of millennial travelers are willing to travel alone compared to 47% of other generations*.

Tailoring your online travel agency’s content, search results, and marketing to this audience is essential to capturing this growing market. Read on for some insights into how to do just that.

1. Optimize your hotel offering

The average solo traveler takes a trip of approximately two and a half weeks. With this extended travel time, they may require more than one accommodation option per trip. At a minimum, your OTA should allow them to add more than one hotel to their itinerary.

In addition, your OTA can offer accommodation options beyond traditional hotels – like hostels or accommodation sharing – to appeal to today’s solo traveler, who may be visiting multiple destinations while on their trip.

Travelport’s 2018 research into how travelers use mobile to search and book travel found that almost half (46%) of solo travelers have booked accommodation on mobile. Aside from the obvious move of optimizing your booking flow for mobile, you can also send push notifications with offers for relevant hotels if the traveler hasn’t booked one close to their departure date, to encourage last-minute bookings.

2. Provide a great mobile experience

Speaking of mobile, it continues to rise in importance as the go-to device to book and manage travel. It’s no longer enough to only have an app or mobile-optimized website – most other travel brands have these as standard. However, getting the mobile experience right is key to driving customer loyalty.

66% of solo travelers say that a good mobile experience is important when considering who to book their next trip with. In addition, our research found that only 29% of solo travelers would be likely to book with a travel brand if they had a bad experience on their app.

Mobile booking

3. Guided trips and tours

It may sound contradictory, but not every solo traveler wants to travel alone. Mintel’s 2018 Solo Traveller Report found that 52% of solo travelers are interested in an escorted holiday – a group tour where they can mix with other travelers. So, when personalizing your offers to solo travelers, consider promoting group activities and tours, as well as solo activities.

4. Send personalized travel offers

Our research shows that 60% of solo travelers want personalized offers from OTAs and 39% want those offers delivered via push notification. OTA offers therefore must be tailored to specific personas to increase the chance of conversion.

43% of solo travelers also want to receive inspiration for their next trip based on their personal preferences. This shows the importance of tailoring your inspirational content – like blogs or social posts – to your target personas.

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Solo travel at a glance - Global profile
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49 days

Lead time: book to travel

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18%

Booking growth over the last 12 months

Agenda

19 days

Average trip length

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18%

of global bookings

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69%

International bookings