The World Travel Market

November 06, 2006 04:00 ET

World Travel Market: Going Solo Takes Off

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 6, 2006) -

ExCeL London Monday 6 November 2006

The UK's leading holiday companies are missing a lucrative trick by failing to tap into the needs and interests of single people - now a major consumer group in the UK - according to a new report launched today at World Travel Market (Monday 6 November).

The WTM Global Trends Report 2006, produced by market analyst Euromonitor International for World Travel Market, has identified the singles holiday sector as a gap to be filled in the UK market, where single person households now account for 30% of all households and in 2005, the average age of first marriage had risen to 28 for women and 30 for men. This is a far cry from 22 for women and 24 for men in the 1980s.

Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International's Global Travel and Tourism Manager explains, "Single people today are currently being turned off from holidaying alone by the financial penalties they face, such as surcharges on accommodation. They also have concerns over safety and security abroad and some feel uncomfortable with the social stigma of dining alone on holiday. If UK travel operators address these concerns and tailor holiday packages to suit the interests of single people, we believe individual travel represents a vast and as yet, relatively untapped market".

Fiona Jeffrey, Managing Director of World Travel Market agrees, "Tour companies have been singularly under-performing in attracting this key audience. Very few travel companies have adapted their operations to offer packages for single consumers and the industry remains surprisingly disproportionately catered towards couples and groups. Indeed, the market for individual travel may just be the next big thing for companies to concentrate on".

The WTM Global Trends Report 2006 highlights that the holiday choices of many single people aged between 25 and 40 in the UK are influenced by their hectic lifestyles, which are often characterised by a focus on career and busy social life. On holiday, these career-minded singles are more inclined to spend their higher-than-average disposable income on treating themselves, rather than on family life and are willing to pay the price for a higher-end service. Singles, therefore, represent excellent return on investment potential for travel operators.

Caroline Bremner of Euromonitor International continues, "Broadly speaking, single travellers fall into two camps - independent travellers that seek adventure and new skills and those looking to find their potential partner on holiday".

"Themed or educational holidays linked to hobbies, such as trekking, surfing, bird watching, horse riding, cooking and sport are all niche markets that would do well to cater to singles looking for adventure and new skills".

"Dating holidays also hold great promise and would appeal to those singles looking for their potential partner. There is a great opportunity here for tie-ups between travel retailers and dating agencies".

Looking ahead, the WTM Global Trends Report 2006 predicts that those UK travel operators who can respond to the financial, social and emotional needs and interests of the different singles groups will reap rewards.

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