How the new generation of travellers are going it alone
The latest trend that is making waves in the travel industry is solo travel. More and more people are deciding to pack up and set off on the spur of the moment, travelling alone. Travel is more affordable and accessible than it has ever been. It’s also possible to find and book flights and accommodation within ten minutes, sitting at your desk. You can be at work on Friday afternoon and be sipping mint tea in Marrakech by Saturday morning with no prior planning and no need to coordinate with others. Solo travel is also the safer than before, with technology meaning we are never too far removed from assistance or help in a foreign country.
This trend is particularly prevalent amongst younger people:
In an MMGY Global survey of 2,300 U.S. adults in July, 37% of millennial respondents indicated they intend to take at least one overnight leisure trip alone during the next six months. That’s up 5% from a year ago and 8% from two years ago, a much sharper rise than older generations.
So, where does this leave vacation rental owners?
The obvious initial reaction is that this could cause problems for vacation rental property managers. Who would want to rent a five-bedroom family home for a last minute weekend away by themselves? If your business doesn’t offer many one-bedroom, affordable options then this rise in solo travellers may seem worrying. But, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to make sure that your business isn’t caught out by the trend of solo travellers looking for last minute places to stay.
Solo travel is likely to be for shorter periods and more spontaneous trips than family holidays or trips with friends. This means that solo travellers will frequently be looking for quick, easy and available accommodation, at an affordable price. Having options on your website specifically aimed at solo travellers means you can cater for this market and push guests towards the properties you need to fill.
At the moment, solo travellers are likely to head towards hotels for accommodation because they will know that there are options for individuals, they are safe and have the staff to help and assist you. However, frequently one bedroom apartments are often as, or more affordable than hotel rooms. A page, or perhaps even just a blog post about your options for solo travellers is a great way to let people know that you have options for all. Having a website that allows your guests to search for their exact needs, such as one-bedroom properties, or properties that are suitable for individual travel means you can always help your guests find properties that they may not otherwise find on your site. You can also describe your hosting, check in and transfer options so people can be sure that they will never be without a contact point if anything does go wrong with the property.
Being open to solo travellers is not so much about changing your properties, but changing how people view your business, and how they navigate your website. The rise of solo travelling has an element of ‘throwing a dart in a map’ and just taking off. Vacation rental managers need to demonstrate that they have the sort of properties that you can find, choose and book all on a whim. Systems such as revenue management also mean that you may have great offers on last-minute bookings that would make an irresistible booking for someone looking to get away and also bring in revenue from a potentially unsold property. Including these in promotions or marketing that is aimed at lone travellers is a way that you can capitalise on this wanderlust and spontaneous travel.
Another way to appeal to solo travellers is to offer private rooms in larger properties for short stays. The communal areas would be shared and used by all. Splitting larger properties into individual rooms is a drastic step and requires more hands on property management, but it means that you can fill individual nights at short notice. What’s more, with Kigo, you can split larger properties into multi-unit developments, meaning updating the availability across portals is still just as easy and quick as updating you regular properties.
The rise of the solo traveller simply means that vacation rental businesses need to be more adaptable and flexible. Modern business are focused on being customizable and personalised to every customer. Rid=gid booking rules and inflexibility will see guests seeking alternative options for accommodation that is better suited to their needs.