The solo travel market is growing, but the mainstream industry is not doing enough to cater for this sector, according to new research.

Mintel, which officially launched its 2018 Solo Traveller Report today (November 14) in association with solo specialist Just You, highlighted “large potential” for growth in the single traveller sector, particularly in escorted group tours.

The research showed 17% of adults took a holiday on their own in the last five years – a year-on-year rise of two percentage points. The majority of these, 15%, were ‘pure solo’ travellers, not travelling with a group.

The study found 60% of respondents said there is a “widespread belief” the travel industry does not cater well enough for solo travellers, 45% believe there is still a ‘stigma’ attached to travelling alone while 61% said it was “more of an adventure”.

The study said: “Solo travel can be promoted as a dynamic and rich alternative, offering unique opportunities for exploration and discovery. It is entering the mainstream but there is still a lingering feeling that holidaying alone carries a stigma, and a widespread belief that the travel industry does not cater for well solos.”

Mintel’s research found 52% of solo travellers were interested in taking an escorted tour, while price and security are the most important factors for solo travellers. As many as 85% of respondents said single supplements were an important issue, and 65% wanted 24-hour contact with a travel company.

John Worthington, Mintel’s senior travel analyst, said: “From our research, the top things that solo holidaymakers are looking for are rooms with no single supplement, advice on safe places to go and 24-hour contact with a travel company.”

He added: “In the groups market, escorted tours have the largest potential for expansion.”

Solo travel specialist Just You said the results reflected its own findings. Managing director Alistair Campbell said: “The Mintel research mirrors what we are seeing in our bookings and what are customers are saying to us. Just You already has in place what solo travellers are looking for; all our customers get their own room with no supplement to pay.”