Solo Travel As a Business and Lifestyle Phenomenon | Travel

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David ThoreauIf the statistics are any indicator, many travelers agree with Thoreau. In increasing numbers, individuals are traveling alone rather than just waiting for others to join them.Solo travelers in the recent past have totaled 21 million in just the US and UK combined. According to a New York Times article in Nov. 2012, Internet searches for “solo travel packages” were up 60% over the prior year. The US Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (“OTTI”) reported that a staggering 42% of U.S. citizens/residents that went abroad in 2011 traveled alone. Of those individual travelers, 38% traveled for leisure or to visit friends & relatives (“VFR”) and 66% for business. Similarly, inbound solo travelers from abroad totaled 36.2%. Of those, 23.6% were on leisure trips and and 62.2% for work. This business and lifestyle phenomenon has been growing exponentially.Who are solo travelers?Solo travelers are a much broader group than just the single population. They may be:• Two-career couples on business travel or “DINK’S” (Dual Income No Kids).• Those with relatives or friends abroad.• Family members pursuing separate sports/hobbies overseas.Abercrombie & Kent’s Jill Fawcett has described their solo travelers as: “often… married or have partners, but the spouses don’t share the same interest… They want to travel with like-minded people and the small group gives them some interaction. Then they go back to the privacy of their own room… 25% of people who opt for our Extreme Adventure series are (also) solo travelers,” she said. “People feel a little more secure in a group if the destination is intimidating or there’s a language barrier.” Solo Travel Is Growing at a Rapid Rate | Phil Hoffman travel blog, 10/25/11.According to Grand Circle Corp chairman Alan Lewis, “Women are a growing force in the solo travel market… where the solo market has grown from about 20% to 25% of [Grand Circle's] overall bookings during the past five years.”Single travelers do still continue to play an active role in solo travel. Their growth is clear in Europe and North America where people are marrying later and may be divorced, widowed or never married. According to a March 19, 2013 article entitled “The Growing Solo Travel Market”, http://tourismintelligence.ca, average single households total as follows:• 35% of all households in developed countries• 40% in Finland and Norway (2011)• 37% in the Netherlands (2011)• 27% in the US (2010), 29% in the UK (2011) and 28% in Canada (2011).How do solos travel?Solo travel may not necessarily mean traveling as a “group of one”. Individuals may choose1. Escorted group tours2. Independent tours3. Travel alone and select their own hotels/toursWhat Issues Confront Those Traveling Alone?There are two main challenges for individual travelers.• Attractive pricing: Lodging, tours and cruises are priced routinely on double occupancy. Most cruises and tours require a single supplement for those traveling alone. Although this is not necessarily 2X, the price differential can be substantial. This is most pronounced in tour packages, particularly cruises that have “2-for-the-price of 1″ early booking promotionals. As a result, those traveling alone may pay 3-4X couples/pairs.• Top quality access and service: In a busy holiday or tourist season, the unaccompanied traveler may be given less desirable accommodations or tables in restaurants. In fact, even 5 star hotels may be unwilling to take a dinner reservation for one even when the individual traveler is a guest of the hotel. This is particularly true on Saturday nights and holidays. The alternative may be sitting at the bar for dinner notwithstanding that the dining room has vacant tables. On cruises/river cruises or other tours with “open seating”, tables are typically set up for even numbers. The result? These travelers are faced with a “standup” buffet or engaging in sleuthing to find an available seat.What is The Business Opportunity?This travel phenomenon is growing exponentially and still represents an underserved niche. The opportunity for the industry is substantial, prioritized as follows:Leisure travelers: They are the largest percentage of industry revenues. However, a smaller percentage go alone for leisure trips. The beneficiaries: airlines, hotels, tours, car and concierge services.Business travelers: Although a small portion of revenues, a greater percentage are on business. Moreover, they may have a larger budget than an individual on vacation. The same industry segments would benefit with the exception of tours except as potential additions to an international trip.VFR: Those visiting friends and relatives may be met at the airport and have access to local transportation. While staying in a private residence, meals may not be taken out as frequently as hotel guests. Accordingly, such travelers will continue to generate new revenue primarily for airlines but are unlikely to augment the existing market for other travel services.This sector represents a largely untapped market. Given the sheer numbers of affluent professionals and business executives, with the right mix of well-priced, top quality offerings, both sides benefit. The travel industry will increase their existing revenues while those traveling alone will achieve more competitive pricing and access to higher quality. It is a market whose time has come.
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Real Estate Investing Financing Truths – Part 2 | Real Estate

No Money Down and other ‘Creative’ Real Estate
Investment MethodsFor many years, investors have seen the traditional
real estate investment methods described in Part 1
of this article as a lot less than desirable!They began looking at the prices of houses and
finding methods of bringing the price more in line
with making more money in a faster way.These savvy investors developed ways to get loans
on properties that allowed them to pull money out
whenever they buy a real estate investment (cash
back at closing) and lower their payments to build up
their cash flow (‘creative’ investing).They even developed methods of determining a
Sellers motivation for selling – and bought the
property at a discount price.These creative investors also saw that some Sellers
were not able (for whatever reason) to sell the
property at a discount price, however, they still
needed to get rid of the property, as they didnt
know how to manage it as a landlord, or make
money from it – not that it couldnt be done, they
simply lacked the knowledge of how to do it.The Seller just never learned how to profit from a
real estate investment.These investors understood how to make money
from such properties, and did.They bought the property on discount terms, and
made money from the spread by selling it at retail
price and/or terms (certainly one of my favorite
methods of real estate investing).Buy Every Real Estate Investment via Discount Price
or Discount Terms.Several years ago (actually, it really took off in the
1980s), Real Estate Investment Experts began
seeing the potential for making money in bringing
this treasured knowledge to the public in the form of
home-study courses, seminars and Boot Camps.They found that it wouldn’t create competition for
themselves, as many people, even though they
purchase real estate courses and attend seminars
and Boot Camps, will not actually take the
information and utilize it to make the hundreds and
even thousands of dollars possible for anyone
serious about Real Estate Investing.These Real Estate Investment Experts (being
dubbed ‘guru’) found that this side of the business
was lucrative often making more income from
teaching about real estate investing than the actual
real estate investments themselves.It is important to understand that these real estate
investment gurus learned early that they can only
teach others what to do, not be responsible for the
other persons success.Providing the information to those that choose not
to use it is very similar to the old adage “You can
lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink”.Yes, these real estate investment gurus got wealthy
from selling this information, but their theories,
principles and techniques taught thousands of
others (those that take action on what they learn)
how to realize their dreams utilizing their tried and
true methods of real estate investing.From home-study courses and seminars, to boot
camps and one-on-one training, these methods
have been proven to be not only interesting to
millions of people, but capable of bringing massive
wealth to those that take action on what is taught –
those that go on and actually make real estate
investments themselves.Knowledge changes things…This knowledge of no money down real estate
investing techniques being known by thousands of
Sellers has made changes in the industry.By bringing the Seller into the knowledgeable realm
of Real Estate investing, Sellers now know many of
the methods that the gurus teach.This is both a blessing and a curse.To the talented investor, these knowledgeable
people are more likely to work to create a WIN-WIN
situation.Investors that avoid the tricks and stick to the basic
real estate investment techniques and terms that
have been proven to work over and over again,
have proven these powerful real estate investment
strategies work even with these informed Sellers.Oh, yes, many of these real estate investment
techniques work today, as they have for many
years. So much so that it is almost possible to say
they have become principles; things that work, over
and over, the same way no matter what happens –
like gravity.However, sadly, they are not really principles, as
several of the real estate investment methods and
techniques that worked in the 1980s and even
through the 1990s are today not as powerful, nor do
they work as often as they did before (although
some ‘gurus’ are still teaching the same methods –
even after 20 years…).Some of this decline is due to a more educated
society (due to the flood of real estate investment
information available via books, tapes, home-study
courses and the Internet), while some of it is due to
simple changes in policies and laws.It seems like a wave started late in 2003, the FHA
announced that flips (transactions where investors
buy houses cheaply and sell them at or near market
rates) are “illegal”. (Note that illegal in this context is
not a legal term, but one that has been adopted
from “you are not allowed to do that and do
business with us”.)The FHAs announcement started a wave of concern
(if not panic) throughout the Real Estate investing
community.Title and Mortgage companies began to tighten up
their reigns. Many of these companies, in lieu of
direct information, began simply not completing any
transactions that did not follow the traditional real
estate investment system. This made it hard for
investors to complete transactions that involved
simple buy-then-resell agreements (as they are not
really real estate investments, but a rather nice way
to make some fast CA$H!).In rapid appreciation areas (California and Nevada,
for example), the ability to flip a property all but
stopped (became ‘illegal’). All the ‘traditional’
creative real estate investing methods were virtually
put on hold.Ingenuity to the rescue, other methods of real
estate investing always seem to pop up. After all,
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”, and “Where
there is a Will, there is a Way” are absolute
principles.Investors have to make a way to get things done – a
way to keep their real estate investments profitable,
and even more creative real estate investing
methods were developed – to keep real estate
investors, and the love of real estate investment,
alive forever.
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