Single people travelling have always had it tough. Whether they’ve had to pay more for their hotel rooms or been allocated decidedly inferior seats in restaurants, solo travellers have usually aroused more scornful sympathy than envy. Well not anymore. A review by Gil Charlton in the Daily Telegraph last year revealed that one in three British travellers booking holidays in 2015 would be going on a single’s holiday. Not only are singles no longer seen as a niche segment, they are rapidly becoming a mainstream one. After all, as Charlton argues, a quarter of all British adults have either never married, or are now divorced or widowed.
Tour companies have been quick to sense an opportunity here. Those organising small-group excursions have reported a surge in solo travellers, with this category sometimes making up to 50% of the total party (and no doubt playing havoc with their seating plans!).
Cruise companies are dropping charging single supplements (hooray!) and are creating more single cabins. Norwegian Cruise Lines’ latest ship, the ‘Norwegian Escape’, boasts 82 single cabins and a dedicated studio lounge where singles can ‘mingle’, whilst the 199 passenger ‘Ocean Endeavour’ from Quark Expeditions will offer 25 single cabins. Next month sees Holland America Line debut its version too.
Hotel companies are waking up to the fact that one in four of their guests are likely to be travelling solo too. Moxy Hotels, a brand new hotel chain is opening around the US following a Milan launch and has over 100 new hotel openings on its ‘to do’ list. The chain’s design is, apparently, ‘sleek but comfortable’ and features ‘lively common areas’. (Does this mean that those who are no longer single become less lively?!) Their research showed that their likely guests would be younger Millennial singles who were prepared to pay a premium and were now avoiding hotels that they felt were austere and unwelcoming to solos.
Hyatt’s new brand Hyatt Centric, is similarly designed with ‘modern explorers’ in mind. However, their definition of modern explorers are ’multigenerational sophisticated travellers who want to connect with local culture’. We at Explorer Travel Insurance have no wish to start 2016 being branded cynical, but doesn’t that definition cover most of us?!