How to: Selling solo holidays

How to: Selling solo holidays

Solo’s Holidays managing director Andrew WilliamsThe singles market is not only the fastest growing sector in travel, but also attitudes are changing. Many people are choosing solo travel as a lifestyle option, removing the stigma for travellers going it alone.

The singles travel market presents an ideal opportunity for agents to boost their sales. There is a high percentage of repeat custom and these consumers like to have the reassurance and expertise of a professional.

Making the first booking is always a challenge – the customer might be apprehensive about taking their first step, but once they have experienced the holiday, they return time and again.

Next time a single traveller walks into your shop, use some of the following advice on how to give the best customer service and ultimately make that sale.

Be armed with the answers

From experience, I’ve found the most common questions from solo travellers are:

  • How do I know I’m not going to be stuck with people I don’t get on with?
  • What if I find that everyone around me is much older or younger than me?
  • Will I be penalised in costs, such as single supplements?
  • Will I be stuck with a group of people for the whole holiday?
  • Can I fly out from my local airport?

Consider using a specialist

There are many operators out there, but your client might prefer one with experience in the market because the operator will have specific understanding of the issues solo travellers face. Tour leaders are often ex-customers of the holidays they are guiding so they are well equipped to help.

Make sure the holiday is age-appropriate

A customer in his or her 20s might require a very different holiday experience from one in their 60s, even though they are travelling to the same destination.

Operators can break the trips down into age groups. This is particularly applicable when booking active holidays, as some customers might be more mobile or physically confident than others.

Reassure the customers that they will get on with the group

Make sure the company has a tour leader accompanying every holiday, to ensure the small group of people gel together as much as possible.

Tour leaders can meet passengers at the airport and work to ensure everyone is happy. Quite often they will organise restaurant bookings, so anyone can join in should there be a night free. The customer can choose to opt in and opt out of get togethers such as these whenever they like.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal for your customer

Of course, all travel agents try to find the best value for money, but for solo travellers check everything on a like-for-like basis. Look for single supplement charges (if applicable) and anything else included in the price, such as excursions, tours, welcome drinks, private receptions and dinners.

About Andrew williams

Andrew Williams has 25 years’ experience in the travel industry. Recent roles have included business development director at MyTravel and sales and marketing director at Bridge Travel Group.

Last year he took the helm at Solo’s Holidays and the Fabulous Experience Company – an adventure specialist that incorporates Baobab Expeditions.

Useful links

For more help with selling to solo travellers, go to the following websites: This site gives solo travellers tips about ways to meet people as they travel, or find a travel companion. It also gives helpful tips on how to make the most out of a solo trip, plus there is a section that explains how single supplements work and what consumers should know. The Guardian has a good online resource of travel articles aimed at solo travellers. Some are ideas for holidays that would suit solo travellers, while others are articles by writers who travel alone and describe their experiences. There are various social sites for singles. Solo’s Holidays runs this forum on which customers can chat and exchange information online before they travel.



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