Solo Travel Awards Winners Announced – Best Practices for Market Revealed
Press Release (ePRNews.com) - TORONTO - Nov 05, 2018 - Against a backdrop of shifting demographics and marked changes in evolving travel trends across generations, Solo Traveler, the definitive resource and community for those who travel alone, today announced the results of the 2018 Solo Travel Awards.
Solo travel has been growing since 2013 and shows no evidence of slowing down. A recent report showed that 25% of those surveyed planned to travel alone in 2018, up from 15% only 5 years earlier.* Searches for “solo female travel” grew by 52% between 2016 and 2017**. 40% of global Baby Boomers having taken a solo trip in the last year, and a further 21% are planning to take one in the future.***
The Solo Travel Awards are designed to acknowledge companies that are effectively serving the solo traveler. Today’s results show the marketplace trendsetters. This year, for the first time, awards are being given in the River Cruise and Ocean Cruise categories.
We’re pleased to see new companies nominating themselves for the Solo Travel Awards this year. However, 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.
Judges, Selection Criteria, and Winners
With the support of their premier sponsor, World Nomads, Solo Traveler enlisted the expertise of esteemed judges and influencers in the sector to deliver the Solo Travel Awards.
The judges of the Solo Travel Awards include:
- Hilton, travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle
- Keith Jenkins, CEO, iambassador and publisher, Velvet Escape
- Tracey Nesbitt, editor and contributor, Solo Traveler
- Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström, award-winning writer and photographer
- Su Höller, solo traveler and Destination & Influencer Marketing for Graz Tourist Office
The selection criteria for the awards included:
- How well companies cater to solo travelers in terms of a single supplement
- Whether prices are published based on single occupancy or only double occupancy.
- Whether solo spaces are limited and if so, how many are allocated for solo travelers.
- Whether special services for solo travelers are provided before or during trips.
Here are the winners by category:
World Nomads Solo Travelers Choice Award– Adventure Canada
Tours– Overseas Adventure Travel
Specialty Tours(2 Winners) – Pravassa and Experience My France
Solo Only Tours– Encounter Travel
Ocean Cruises– Celestyal Cruises
River Cruises– Vantage Deluxe World Travel
Vacation Packages– Transat Solo Collection
“We’re pleased to see new companies nominating themselves for the Solo Travel Awards this year,” says Janice Waugh, publisher of Solo Traveler. “However, 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.”
How Companies Can Increase Revenue from Solo Travelers
The awards pointed to both best practices and unacceptable practices, according to Solo Traveler.
- Unacceptable – Most tours and cruises are sold based on double occupancy. When solo travelers book such trips, they are frequently penalized by a fee called the single supplement. This additional fee could be up to 100% or more, discouraging many people from traveling. With the number of people traveling solo on the rise, both travelers and travel companies miss out when there is a single supplement.
- Barely acceptable – Room sharing is one way that tour and cruise companies suggest that solo travelers avoid the single supplement. Members of the Solo Traveler community consistently state that they find this objectionable. One person wrote, “I wonder how couples paired with other couples would like sharing with strangers?”
- Best practice – Have a dedicated page on the website for solo travel and make it easily found in the menu.
- Best practice – Price trips for singles and doubles so that it is easy for a solo traveler to determine their expense and whether they are being charged a single supplement.
- Best practice – Special services for solo travelers such as welcome receptions, communal tables, closed Facebook groups for travelers to meet before departure, and extra support during free time on tours are being offered by leaders in the solo travel market.
Statistics on the solo travel market:
- *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
- ** Searches for “solo female travel” grew by 52% between 2016 and 2017 Source
- ***40% of global Baby Boomers having taken a solo trip in the last year, and a further fifth (21%) are planning to take one in the future. Source
- Between August 2015 and August 2017, the number of searches on Google for solo travel grew by 58%. Source
- 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
- 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
- 65% of US women polled by Booking.com have vacationed without their partners. Source
The awards are sponsored by:
Solo Traveler,established in 2009, is regarded as the definitive resource and community for those who travel alone. Over 300,000 travelers from 159 countries engage with the community every month. The Solo Travel Awards were launched in 2017 to recognize companies that are effectively catering to the solo travel market. The 2019 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.