The metamorphosis of travel groups

Both solo and group travel are in the rise

Type the words ‘solo female travel’ into Google and you’ll be rewarded with 187 million results. Search volume for the term has increased by 62% over the past three years. We’re seeing a post-Pandemic wave of more financially independent women wanting to live life as they choose. Social media has mitigated safety fears. Micro-communities focused on a specific interest are making solo female travel feel more accessible. 

Women choose solo travel for freedom and flexibility (87%)1. It’s an opportunity to leave domestic responsibility behind (83%), be fluid and spontaneous, take time out for the things that really matter (79%), and find their tribe. We’re also seeing a correlation between solo female travel and transformational travel designed to deepen connections with themselves and the world around them. 

The solo female travel revolution is set to gain momentum: 72% of US women say they like to take trips solo and the same percentage plan to travel solo more than or the same as in the past. 

At the same time, we’re seeing increased interest in group travel. According to a Plus Company survey by Angus Reid, 18% of the US population says it is planning to travel in a group with family/friends more this year than in the past. The data skews higher (24%) for 18-34 year olds, and (23%) for higher income brackets (over $100,000 USD household income).

At luxury tour operator Black Tomato, holiday bookings for eight or more people increased by 35%, accounting for almost a third of all holiday bookings. According to LHW (The Leading Hotels of the World), group bookings of three rooms or more grew 33% in 2023 from the previous year. For travel platform Amadeus, group bookings have increased by 18%. Research by YouGov found that 13% traveled with a wider group of family members and friends in the last 12 months5. In response, Airbnb has now upped its offering of villa-style homes to accommodate groups of >10. 

YouGov suggests that group travel will continue to grow, with 23% of affluent travelers planning to take a trip with friends/family over the next 12 months, compared with 18% during the previous year.4

So what will these opposing trends mean for the industry? Whom will they affect the most, and how will brands stay relevant and appealing into the future?

The package holiday sector may skew towards the affluent end of the market, stoking interest in brands like Black Tomato or The Flashpacker that cater to travelers who can afford trips curated to their specific interests.

We’ve already seen Airbnb diversify its product and adapt its marketing strategy. The 2023 ‘Rooms’ campaign promoted private rooms in hosted accommodation. Given that the majority of Airbnb hosts are women over 60, the campaign will likely resonate with solo female travelers who desire an authentic cultural experience, a safe haven and the potential for community. Airbnb has also increased its offering of larger villa-style self-catering accommodation, thereby appealing to both ends of this travel spectrum.

Home swapping apps like Twin City and Kindred cater to travel groups of all shapes and sizes. Platforms like TikTok are jumping in, with hashtags such as #houseswap and #homeswap each having amassed over 20 million views. 

Hotel brands may not be so adaptable. They will need a more creative approach – strengthening ties with local communities, offering cultural experiences in the local area, and helping to make the non-package holiday as seamless as possible.

1 Solo Female Travel Survey 2022,

2 Sondage réalisé en ligne par Plus Compagnie du 7 au 9 février 2024 auprès d’un échantillon représentatif de 1 508 Canadien·ne·s et de 1 002 Américain·e·s membres du Forum Angus Reid.

3 ibid


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