Five solo travel hacks (and how businesses can attract more single travellers)
Love the idea of travelling but don’t have anyone to go with? We share five solo travel hacks (and how businesses can attract more single travellers).
Solo travel was one of the emerging trends in the industry’s bounceback from the pandemic. With demand for solo travel destinations, trips and inspiration skyrocketing from 2021 – demand has risen another 18% in the past 12 months.
To help inspire you to hit the road, avid solo traveller Lucy Robinson, 30, from West Yorkshire shares how her experiences have made her savvy with her planning and even savvier with her budgets.
And Richard Goodall, MD of hospitality and travel tech providers, Power EPOS, shares his advice on and how the hospitality industry can attract solo travellers as demand rises this summer.
1) Assess all options to see how you can save on accommodation
Travelling alone can come with a high price tag if you’re not savvy, and accommodation can seem overwhelming at first glance. If you want a higher sense of security, a hotel is a great option – but there are other factors that can make other options more affordable overall.
Consider things like location, as it may be worth paying more for a better location where you can save money on transport, and ensure you feel safer walking home at night from the busiest and most tourist-friendly spots.
Another great option is the humble hostel – if you want a better chance to meet like-minded individuals and a cheaper bed, a same-sex small dorm can be an affordable and safe option. There’s also been a big rise in pod-hostels in recent years where you get your own (small!) secure sleeping space with the price tag and more basic shared amenities of a hostel.
How can hotels attract more solo stays?
According to hospitality expert Richard, no hotel wants numerous empty rooms, especially over the profitable summer period. If there are rooms spare, there are ways that hotels can attract last-minute guests and solo travellers.
Attracting digital nomads and solo travellers for extended periods by promoting their internet access, amenities and workspaces is also a great way to turn empty rooms into extended stays for solo travellers and those working abroad.
Making their robust safety policies clear can often attract travellers who are uneasy about private stays, and highlight concierge services and the extended benefits that solo travellers could use whilst staying in their establishment.
2) Seek out solo-diner friendly restaurants
When it comes to food options, solo travelling can present numerous opportunities that might be otherwise overlooked.
Lucy says that eating alone is still one of the things that she feels least comfortable doing – but every trip she tried to branch out and put aside that worry – people genuinely don’t care as much as you think that you’re dining alone!
Ask friends for recommendations and trust Google when planning your trip so that you know the restaurant and food is going to be worth it – and don’t be afraid to eat on your own time. If you’re concerned you won’t get a table on your own, try eating a little earlier or later than the average local.
Another tip if you struggle with this is to stay in accommodation where you can cook your own food or have a fridge for picnic-style meals. It’s both cost-effective, delicious, and very immersive to take a picnic of delicious fresh local goods to a park or the beach and take in the sun and sights.
How can restaurants attract more solo diners?
Richard suggests that restaurants look at their seating arrangements and how they organise their covers to see if there’s room for solo dining options. Bars and counters often feel less formal and more attractive to people who might want to dine on their own, and can provide extra and faster covers to increase revenue through their establishment.
If there are tables left unbooked, advertising last minute openings on social media and targeting solo diners with marketing incentives such meal offers can be a great way to secure bookings instead of letting the cover go to waste.
3) Travelling solo can mean securing sought-after tickets
It can be daunting to immerse yourself into evening culture when you are solo travelling, but for those who want to meet new people, pre-booking tickets to events ensures you get to look forward to new experiences with a like-minded audience.
Lucy shares some of her favourite memories going to an event solo in Spain: “One of the best experiences I had in Madrid was attending a gig in the botanical gardens to see one of my favourite Spanish bands – the vibes were impeccable and I had the best time – just immersing myself in the Spanish music, stunning location, dancing crowd, and pints of sangria!”
How can event organisers attract more single travellers?
Often the last-minute seats that will be available are singular – meaning attendees have a better chance of catching that last minute show, concert or performance at a better view as a solo traveller.
For promoters and theatres, announcing last-minute tickets with a promotion can be a sure-fire way to fill up those remaining seats. Leveraging local influencers or your social media can also help promote attending your performance alone as an attractive pursuit for those who may be staying in the area without company.
4) Find your tribe
Lucy appreciates how her interests and passions allowed her to connect with local on her travels. She recalls that one thing she’s done on a few of her solo travels is work up the courage to go to bars alone. In Rome and Madrid she met some incredible friendly people in her community through going to LGBTQ+ spaces, and will definitely keep seeking out people that share her interests.
So if you’re seeking company, try and find your tribe! If you’re big into rock, find a rock bar. If you love open mics, go along to one while you’re away.
Hostels are another great way to meet like-minded people, or people you’d never interact with usually. Lucy has had some incredible chats in an off-grid hostel in the Lakes during a snowstorm when they were all hiding out and eating and drinking together in the evening.
Equally visiting hostel bars can be a good way to meet new people, or feel less self-conscious alone – as the majority of people are in the same boat as you.
How can businesses attract more solo customers?
If you’re a business that relies on tourism and new customers, it’s important to stay on top of trends and ensure you are capitalising on them. Whether you are a bar or a hostel, one way of building a stronger booking base with solo travellers is through TripAdvisor.
Tripadvisor allows people to filter businesses by audience category (such as couples, business and solo travel). The more positive solo travel reviews you encourage and receive, the more likely you’re going to be considered as the go-to place and see bookings fill up as a result.
You can create a wonderful community ethos with this approach and even look to offer incentives and discounts for these guests.
5) Make safety a priority
Safety is often a topic discussed when it comes to solo travel, but Lucy shares her top tips to not let this deter solo travellers from enjoying the freedom that comes with it.
Often people talk about the dangers of travelling alone, but there are steps you can take to make transport affordable and safe. Make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the areas you want to stay and visit before you book – and if possible making sure your accommodation is in a safer area with lots of public transport links and well-lit streets.
Another great tip when you’re walking along and want to look like a local is to have your headphones in with Google Maps directing you through them. That way you can look like you know exactly where you’re going without looking at your phone, and coming across as lost or unsure.
How can businesses make solo travellers feel more safe?
As a bar, restaurant or hotelier, there is more you can offer to support the solo traveller community and improve their experience.
Consider partnering up with a local taxi provider, public service transport provider or walking guides that you can offer to solo travellers when they are at your establishment. You could work with them on a commission basis meaning it can be financially beneficial, and also provides an integral service for solo guests.
This provides a greater level of customer care, which in turn makes you more popular for recurring bookings with the community. It’s an added bonus if you are able to set up an economically viable system with the business partner too!
Photo by Ana Nichita