Q&A: solo travellers

WHEN travellers are going it alone it can be easy to think that they’ll have the same attitude when it comes to booking their holiday, but we talked to Travel Counsellors’ Sharon Wood about what expert advice many solo travellers are seeking out before they venture off.

Is there much interest among Australians for travelling solo?

Absolutely! So many Australians are travelling solo. We are an adventurous nation and just want to get out and see the world, even if we don’t have someone to go with.

Which destinations are solo travellers most interested in?

The destinations that solo travellers are looking for are authentic, cultural, spiritual and adventurous. This can range from holidays in Morocco, Spain & Portugal to walking along the Camino, trekking the Inca Trail in Peru or the Pilgrimage trails in Japan and even cycling in France or Scotland.

What sort of people are travelling solo?

People of all ages are travelling on their own but I find particularly young women in their 20s and 30s are backpacking and getting out to see the world. They are adventurous, have an interest in culture and conservation. They want to travel and even if they don’t have a travelling companion, they’re not going to let this stop them.

And then there is a new breed of solo traveller, the 50+ female who for whatever reason has found herself wanting to travel, but again, without a travelling companion.

Are FIT or tour groups more popular with solo travellers?

I think women want to travel with other women and share the experience with a new friend. However single ladies that don’t know anyone will also head off on their own. But those that are less confident will definitely look for a women’s group or club to go with.What should an agent consider when selling holidays to solo travellers?

Be aware of single supplements and what that might mean to the cost of the holiday. Also, get to know your customers likes and dislikes, and their needs such as including memorable moments, photography tips, luggage assistance and matching up with other singles if required to share.

If booking a group tour, look for the opportunity for solo travellers to get together and get to know each other (if possible) before they travel so that they are familiar or can make friends before heading off. This gives them a bit more confidence and peace of mind about what to expect.

One of the biggest things is communication. Understand what your customer needs and sell the product that’s right for them.

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