Just You has shrugged off competition in the growing solo travel market as a new Mintel report highlights opportunities for tour operators in the sector.

Mintel’s new Solo Traveller report, launched in association with specialist operator Just You, showed 52% of solo travellers would be interested in taking an escorted touring holiday, while 17% of adults said they had taken a holiday on their own in the past five years.

Already increasing numbers of tour operators are trying to tap into growing demand for solo trips and this month Tui said it would be developing more holiday options for people travelling on their own.

At the report’s launch, Just You managing director Alistair Campbell said catering for the solo travel market was not just about offering single rooms in hotels.

He said: “Giving customers a single room is not what it’s about; it’s properly understanding their needs and aspirations and having a team to design the product and training your managers to do these trips.”

He argued tour operators could not simply take a share of the market by offering their existing tour programme to the solo market via special single traveller departure dates or single rooms.

“These clients are highly experienced, confident and independent. Unless you really understand them you will not be able to deliver and exceed their expectations,” he said, adding: “We are growing in the face of competition and we are confident we will get a bigger slice of that pie.”

Campbell added that Mintel’s report reinforced what Just You was already doing to cater for the sector, such as offering more flexible and personalised trips.

The research showed that 47% of solos fell that group holidays do not offer holidaymakers enough freedom to do their own thing.

Campbell said that Just You had launched its Make Your Own Way option to cater for this demand. This allows clients to book their own flights and transfers and meet the tour at the first hotel.