Solo travel, multi-generational holidays and touring and adventure trips have been identified as the three largest growing travel trends among consumers.
Speaking during an industry panel debate at Abta’s Travel Convention, travel firm bosses and industry experts shared insights on how agents and operators can capitalise on these markets.
Ben Bouldin, associate vice president and managing director Royal Caribbean International, UK & Ireland, said the “3G” market was “big business”, with 20% of sales derived from multi-generational family bookings.
He said of that group, 32% were new to cruising. It follows news that Royal’s new megaship Symphony of the Seas will feature an Ultimate Family Suite with a slide from the children’s’ bedroom to the living room below.
Recent statistics suggest around a fifth of all holidays are multi-generational.
The Telegraph’s head of print Ben Ross said around 12% of people are taking solo holidays, with more people taking a conscious decision to travel alone with like-minded travellers.
But he said single supplements and small room sizes continued to be an issue and were the two most common topics readers wrote to the newspaper about.
He also said solo travel was a “difficult topic to get to grips with” because people often viewed it like a blind date.
Silver Travel Advisor’s creative and communications director Jennie Carr agreed, adding: “So many people come up and say they don’t want it to be like a date but you can connect with fellow travellers before.
“I am constantly trying to put people at ease.”
Bouldin said single cabins sold the quickest but admitted the line “did not make it as easy for solo travellers as it might”. He said all new ships had allocations for single cabins.
G Adventures managing director Brian Young said the touring and adventure sector was growing so fast agents were playing catch up.
“This sector is huge and growing at the rate of knots. Agents are trying to play catch up to some degree,” he said.