Why you need to be looking at the solo traveller market for your SA business

Solo travel is already on the rise, and it’s the next big thing. In this article we are going to walk you through why you need to be looking at the solo traveller market for your SA business In 2017, it was reported by Hostelworld that there was a 42% increase in solo bookings over the previous 2 years. Solo travel was a major 2019 trend, according to booking platform Klook. According to the 2018 date, more and more women and baby boomers are opting to travel alone.

Read on to find out how you can take advantage of this solo travel trend and the solo traveler market, so you can find out how to optimise your business and get more bookings from a totally new demographic.

Be female-friendly

Solo Traveler

More than ever before in history, solo travelers are female. The reasons for this is vast, but include technological improvements and social progress. For you, it means you can increase your bookings and know the solo traveler market. After knowing that a lot, if not most, of your solo travellers will be ladies, will allow you to tailor your services, experiences and offers to women’s interests.

If you’re a regular reader of Boostly, you will know that I am all for leaving gift baskets for guests. But knowing you will have a female solo traveler, will allow you to prepare a gift basket specifically aimed at women. For example, you could include coupons to woman-focused businesses, female hygienic supplies, chocolate, cosmetics, and more. 

Women may feel they face more safety challenges while traveling than man. Journeywomen, an online travel resource, suggest that women keep the door to their room deadbolted, and avoid underground parking lots. Taking from these ideas, you could offer your female solo guests free valet parking, and installing one-way peepholes in your rooms. According to Travel + Leisure, one thing that The Grange does is to offer women female-only staff while they are traveling solo.

Host extra social events

Solo Traveler, Travel alone

Travelling alone is certainly a thrill. You can make your own schedule, nobody tells you where to go, and you never have to do anything you don’t want to. However, a solo traveller is likely to get a bit lonely too, after the novelty wears off.

This is where you can really optimise on the solo travelers and the solo travel market. You can draw singletons out for social activities with other travellers, if you have a central area. For example, you can organise a dance class, movie night, or meet and greet that can give your guests the local flavour they crave while also putting them in touch with others. They won’t just remember you for your great service, but for the friendships that they made whilst staying with you. Hospitalities that offer group activities, like Thai cooking classes and kitesurfing, leave an impression, according to Hostelworld. On top of this, your guests might even want to come back to meet up with their new travel buddies in the future.

Depending on where you are in the world, you could really increase your bookings due to solo travel. Intrepid shows that people don’t actually want to travel in proper isolation, which is why they offer group tours for people travelling by themselves. It is sure to be a hit to offer extras that bring singletons together. Consider how organising an activity will bring in those extra bookings.

Make singleton room bookings attractive

Hospitality business

Most hospitality businesses charge by the room rather than by the guest. Since you know that you’re going to get more single travelers in the near future, consider trying a lower price for them. Airbnb follows these guidelines, so if you hold out for a higher price, you could well miss out.

Be mindful of the dreaded single supplement, which will also drive solo guests away from your hospitality. Since solo travel in the hospitality business is becoming a bigger deal, the market is going to respond quite fast. Your competitors are likely to lower their room fee for singletons immediately once they catch on that you won’t. After all, solo travellers are going to boost revenue at the most important time of the year: the off-season.

Focus on the off-season and identify solo travel market more!

Solo Traveller

HolidayPirates, a company that sells cheap vacations, report that most solo bookings happen away from the holidays. This makes perfect sense,  since people travelling single might be doing so to get away from the crowds. This means you should modify your business practices to take this into consideration and consider the solo travel market for your SA business.

Single travellers rooms and singles events might do best during May and June, or even October and November. Hotel News Resource, did say that most travelers are looking at the winter holidays, so use your own business’s past performance to determine your off-season. You should look for ways to attract travelers who are looking at booking at odd times of the year, as well as exploring new geographical locations. If your business is in a place with unusual seasonal events, for example, harvest festivals, you should take advantage of those. Your solo travelers will feel even more special for figuring out about a secret local tradition that those mainstream travelers did not know about.

If you would like more tips on how you can increase your direct bookings, then please reach out. I have a free 5 step blueprint on how you can cut down on commission costs and increase your heads on beds. Go to boostly.co.uk/5steps

Come and say hi on Instagram>> instagram.com/boostlyuk

This is a guest blog post by Mark Simpson. It has been a pleasure.

#BookDirect

Mark Simpson

Boostly

7 Top Tips On Scaling A Serviced Accommodation Business

How To Grow Your R2R Serviced Accommodation Business

Scaling Your Serviced Accommodation Business is not an easy task. You may have successfully set up a handful of units, and are keen to replicate your success. Now what? Short of cash? Perhaps not, read on to find out how you can fast-track your growth.


How it all started

Scaling Your Serviced Accommodation BusinessA bit about me… My first encounter with property management was 2.5 years ago, when I attended the Serviced Accommodation Masterclass with Touchstone Education. Prior to that, I had no property experience, and worked as a sales manager for a large corporation. Moreover, I was fed up, couldn’t see a future in it and felt like a slave to the job, which a lot of people reading this will probably relate too. This is why I invested in my education.

Where I am today

Forward the clock 2.5 years, and I have 37 Serviced Accommodation units, with a mix of Rent 2 Rent, managed properties and some properties that I own. Repeatedly, the biggest question people always ask is “how did you scale so fast?” I answer that it’s down to the strategies and techniques I use to keep my running costs and set up costs low. Also, by focusing on a certain market, I also minimise operational costs. Finally, this means I am maximising my profits, which in turn allows me to invest in more serviced accommodation units.

I’m always clear when I train people: I’m not an all-round property expert, but I am an expert in this particular strategy. I 100% believe it’s the best technique to generate a quick cash flow. Many people want to use property management to get out of their day job, or to increase their cash turnaround. When buying properties, this can take time and the gains from a buy to let property may only be a couple of hundred pounds per month, so you would need quite a few of them to make it worthwhile. Rent 2 Rent and serviced apartments, on the other hand, allow you to get your operation up and running and start earning money fast. This will allow you to scale back other activities and focus on the things that really matter to you.

Fast-Track Scaling Your Serviced Accommodation Business

1. Never Pay A Deposit

This is a deal breaker for me. If a landlord makes me pay a deposit, I will walk away from the deal. What sense as a business owner does it make to have money tied up, doing nothing? None! You have to remember, you’re the one offering the great deal to the landlords, not the other way around. You need to know how to position it correctly to them. Once you do that, you will never pay a deposit again. Not paying deposit means that your initial outlay cost is cheaper, and you can therefore use the deposit money to set up your next unit.


2. Never Pay Rent Upfront

In fact, you should always get 1-2 months’ rent free, again, if you know how to position it correctly. My goal is to always have money coming from bookings before I have to pay the landlord anything. You need to get into the mind-set that you have this amazing offer for the landlord. Once you know how to sell the deal, it’s easy to get 1-2 months’ rent free. When you have saved yourself 1-2 months’ rent, and also saved on the deposit, you can use this cash to set up further units.


3. Don’t Pay Upfront for Furniture

Without a doubt, this is the most expensive part of setting up a serviced apartment. But there are multiple ways you can do it in order to be more cost effective:

a) Lease Furniture

There are many companies out there who will let you lease furniture. This means you pay them a monthly fee instead of paying £5-7K upfront to furnish your property. Again, this helps with the cash flow and avoids high initial costs, leaving you with further money to invest in more units.

b) Furnished Apartments

There are lots of apartments out there that are already furnished, and in a pretty much in turn-key condition for use as a Serviced Apartment. You could add a few soft furnishings to put your own design stamp on them. I have multiple apartments which came fully furnished, and have only spent £200-300 on soft furnishings before taking them live for bookings.

4. Correct Power Team

It is VITAL if you want to scale your business to have a solid power team around you. Having the correct cleaners, maintenance, and guest relations teams means that you will not get dragged in to the nitty gritty of operations. If you are both running your business and worrying about cleaning and maintenance, you will not be able to focus on scaling up.


5. Managing Director/Operations Manager

I hired an operations manager when I got to 4 properties. I quickly realised that I was terrible at systems, organisation and did not enjoy that side of the business. What I was good at was bringing on new properties, doing deals with landlords and constantly sourcing new business opportunities. As I had zero concerns about the operations side of the business thereafter, I was able to focus on growth and scaling the business.


6. Bookings

You may be able to scale your Serviced Accommodation business and build up an impressive portfolio of serviced apartments, but the bottom line is that if they are not full, you will not generate a profit from them. You need to make sure you are setting up apartments in the correct areas, where you know there is a demand for your target market. Do not go mad and set up properties all over the place, then run them half empty. Start in one area, systematise operations, fill up your units and duplicate your success elsewhere.


7. Focus On Direct Bookings

Running a Rent 2 Rent Serviced Apartment business means you need to watch your margins. Paying 15% to Booking.com is a hefty chunk, and if you service the apartments every 2-3 days your operations costs are going to be high. I usebooking.com as a lead generator, but always try to convert the current guests in the apartment to a direct booking so that I don’t have to pay a 15% commission to online travel agents. I only focus on the contractor market, where most of my bookings will stay from anywhere between 3-18 months, with no booking fees and 1-2 cleans per week. This keeps operation costs low, which maximises my profit.


I hope these tips help. If you want to connect please do so on the following:

Scale Your R2R SA BusinessGrow Your Hospitality Business

Scaling Your Serviced Accommodation Business with Gordie Dutfield