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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Solo Holidays market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Solo holidays refer to overnight trips either in the UK or abroad of one night or more made for leisure purposes. This Report also makes a distinction between ‘pure solo’ holidays (where people go on holiday just on their own) and solo holidays where people travel on their own but join a group of people they do not know (eg a group holiday or escorted tour).

Data on the size of the domestic market is for Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom (ie Northern Ireland is not included), sourced from VisitBritain’s GBTS (Great Britain Tourism Survey). Data for the overseas market is for the United Kingdom is sourced from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) IPS (International Passenger Survey).

What you need to know

Some 17% of UK (United Kingdom) adults have taken a holiday on their own in the five years ending July 2018. This is a two percentage point rise from July 2017. Solo travel occupies an important and growing space in the overall market.

The majority of these are ‘pure solo’ travellers. Some 2% of UK adults have travelled on their own but joined a group holiday with people they did not know. Around one in seven of all solo travellers (15%) therefore go on group holidays. Group holidays account for a relatively small niche in the solo travel market and have large potential for growth, particularly the escorted tour sector.

There continues to be gradual improvement on issues such as the single-person room supplement, and the availability of solo cabins on cruise ships. Solo travel remains a low priority however for many larger mainstream tour operators, OTAs (Online Travel Aggregators), and hotels. This is an area where the P2P (Peer-toPeer) sector, led by brands such as Airbnb, could play a disruptive role.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Worthington, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Independent solo travellers are freedom-lovers who feel most at home in cities. Brands can attract this self-reliant tribe by providing services, creating spaces and utilising technology to inform, reassure and connect solo travellers to each other and to local residents. John Worthington
Senior Travel Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • One in six adults take solo holidays
            • Figure 1: Holiday companions, July 2017 vs July 2018
          • Fall in percentage of older singles…
            • Figure 2: Marital status profile of solo holidaymakers, July 2017 vs July 2018
          • …but solo Boomers offer opportunities
            • Solo holidaymakers are more active
              • Figure 3: Type of holiday taken, by travel companions, July 2018
            • Solo travel driven by desire more than necessity
              • Figure 4: Reasons for taking a solo holiday, July 2018
            • Price, security, and 24/7 contact are key opportunities for brands
              • Figure 5: Factors rated as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ by solo holidaymakers, July 2018
            • Escorted tours have biggest growth potential
              • Figure 6: Interest in types of solo/group holiday, July 2018
            • Small is beautiful for group travellers
              • Figure 7: Group preferences for solo/group holidays, July 2018
            • Solo travel entering the mainstream but stigma remains
              • Mainstream industry still seen as falling short
                • Figure 8: Agreement with statements about solo travel, July 2018
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                • Solo concierge
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Agents can become solo travel experts
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Empowering ‘me-time’ travellers
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Groups need more flexible formats
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Helping solos to create DIY group holidays
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                              • Domestic and overseas markets reach new peak
                                                • Shift from older to younger singles…
                                                  • …but demographic trend points to older singles opportunities
                                                    • The price of solo living
                                                      • Budget/premium polarisation
                                                        • P2P sector could disrupt hotel pricing for singles
                                                        • Market Background

                                                          • UK breaks beat ‘staycation year’ record
                                                            • Figure 9: Trends in the number and value of domestic holidays taken by UK residents, 2012-17
                                                          • Holidays abroad finally surpass pre-crash levels
                                                            • Figure 10: Trends in the number and value of overseas holidays taken by UK residents, 2012-17
                                                          • Singles to solos
                                                            • Younger singles percentage rising
                                                              • One in three solo travellers live in a couple
                                                                • Figure 11: Marital status profile of solo holidaymakers, July 2017 vs July 2018
                                                              • Never married population has risen sharply…
                                                                • Figure 12: Marital status of population age 16+, England and Wales, 2002-17
                                                              • …partly due to cohabitation growth
                                                                • Figure 13: Living arrangements age 16+, England and Wales, 2002-17
                                                              • Over-50s solos are the largest growth opportunity
                                                                • Figure 14: Those not living in a couple aged 16+, by age, England and Wales, 2002-17
                                                              • Single boomers offer potential
                                                                • Figure 15: One-person households, by age, UK, 2002-17
                                                              • Solo living to account for 29% of households by 2023
                                                                • Figure 16: UK household size, number and forecast, UK, 2013-23
                                                              • The cost of living alone
                                                                • Single-person supplement
                                                                  • P2P sector could help to drive change
                                                                    • Supplement-free is a key selling-point for groups market
                                                                      • Solos lose out on railcards
                                                                        • Price-sensitive singles…
                                                                          • …but better-off solos offer premium opportunities
                                                                            • Figure 17: Financial situation of UK consumers, by marital status, July 2018
                                                                        • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                          • One in five Saga customers travel solo
                                                                            • Groups sector drives innovation
                                                                              • G Adventures takes leading stake in singles market
                                                                                • Other leading escorted tour brands
                                                                                  • Group-adventure brands
                                                                                    • Special interest brands
                                                                                      • Solo-only escorted tours
                                                                                        • Adventurous over-50s
                                                                                          • Solo cruising
                                                                                            • Support tools for solos
                                                                                            • Companies

                                                                                                • Singles specialists
                                                                                                  • Escorted tour operators
                                                                                                    • Group-adventure brands
                                                                                                      • Special interest – a highly fragmented market
                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Latest reported turnover of selected tour operators of relevance to the solo holiday market
                                                                                                      • Travel agents/expert advice
                                                                                                        • Social TripAdvisor offers opportunity for solo experts
                                                                                                        • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                          • Escorted tour sector targeting solos
                                                                                                            • Solo adventures
                                                                                                              • Just You
                                                                                                                • Saga Holidays
                                                                                                                  • Intrepid
                                                                                                                    • Solo cruise innovation
                                                                                                                      • Solo wellness
                                                                                                                        • New solo price-tracker tool
                                                                                                                          • Tech tools for solo safety
                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                            • Solo holiday-taking up two points
                                                                                                                              • Female influencers
                                                                                                                                • Solos shun the beach…
                                                                                                                                  • …and head for the city
                                                                                                                                    • Freedom and time to myself are main motivations
                                                                                                                                      • Single supplement and safety are key issues
                                                                                                                                        • Social elements important for Millennials
                                                                                                                                          • Groups potential
                                                                                                                                            • Solo travel still carries stigma amongst young
                                                                                                                                            • Holiday Companions and Solo Travel

                                                                                                                                              • Courting solo travellers can benefit mainstream brands
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 19: Holiday companions, July 2017 vs July 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Men and under-45s most likely to travel solo
                                                                                                                                                • Household income is a key driver of solo travel
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Solo holidaymakers by demographics, July 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Types of Solo Holiday

                                                                                                                                                • Solo holidays are more active
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Type of holiday taken, by travel companions, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Younger solos more attracted to specialist holidays
                                                                                                                                                  • Cruises and escorted tours under-represented amongst older solos
                                                                                                                                                    • Solo-friendly cities
                                                                                                                                                      • Millennial solos are diverse holiday-takers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Number of holiday types taken by solo travellers in the past five years, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                    • Reasons for Taking Solo Holidays

                                                                                                                                                      • Freedom and self-determination are key drivers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Reasons for taking a solo holiday, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                      • Couples doing their own thing
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Reasons for taking a solo holiday, by marital status, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                      • Non-solo travellers also recognise the benefits
                                                                                                                                                      • Important Factors for Solo Holidaymakers

                                                                                                                                                        • Room rates and safety are most important issues
                                                                                                                                                          • Solos seek 24/7 support
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Factors rated as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ by solo holidaymakers, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                            • Technology can be used as a social facilitator
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Factors rated as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ by solo holidaymakers, Millennials vs all solo travellers, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                            • Older female solos require greater assistance
                                                                                                                                                            • Solo Travel and Group Holidays

                                                                                                                                                              • Over half of solo travellers interested in escorted tours
                                                                                                                                                                • Adventure and hobby-based groups appeal most to solos under-45
                                                                                                                                                                  • 40% of solos under-35 interested in beach-party groups
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Interest in types of solo/group holiday, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • Group dynamics – age and gender
                                                                                                                                                                    • Group dynamics – size
                                                                                                                                                                      • 19% of solo travellers interested in singles-only groups
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Group preferences for solo/group holidays, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Solo Holidays

                                                                                                                                                                      • Stigma still attached to holidaying alone
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: Solo Holidays – CHAID – Tree output, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                                      • Spirit of adventure
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: Agreement with statements about solo travel, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                                      • Many see solo travel as lonely and dangerous
                                                                                                                                                                        • Breaking down negative perceptions
                                                                                                                                                                          • Brands can bring solo travellers and locals together
                                                                                                                                                                            • Me-time gender dispute
                                                                                                                                                                              • Six in 10 solos say industry does not cater well for them
                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes towards Group Holidays

                                                                                                                                                                                • Group holidays can cramp style of freedom-loving solos
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Making group holidays more flexible
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Agreement with statements about group holidays, July 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                  • DIY group holidays
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Love Island holidays
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations, and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Definitions
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                              • CHAID methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                              About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                              This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.