‘Graceful travel’ is a relatively new term, but one we are likely to hear more of as we head in 2021 and the post-COVID travel era.
Essentially, ‘graceful travel’ refers to both solo female travellers and groups of women travelling together. And rather than the ‘girls on tour’ vibe of bachelorette/hen weekends, graceful travel is big on gentle exploration, relaxation, slow travel, personal growth and wellbeing.
Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), a world leader in solo-friendly travel for women, is reporting a surge in 2021 bookings from solo travellers, an increase of 76% from 2019.
OAT believes that this is not only an indication of a ‘pent up demand for travel’, but also because solo travellers tend to be resilient and independent-minded. And 85 per cent of OAT’s solo travellers are women.
In a post-COVID world we can expect the popularity of graceful travel (solos and groups) to rise. Think walking holidays, small escorted tours, adventure travel and wellness breaks. Escaping the four walls we have been staring at for the last few months and getting away to new, open spaces – with close friends in tow is now a top priority.
Graceful travellers are looking for freedom, independence and adventure – with a little bit of pampering thrown in for good measure. This is how South African establishments can appeal to a new, graceful group of travellers:
1. Make it Easy
The graceful traveller is spending more and more time online. Make it easy to research your offering, establishment or destination; make it easy to communicate with you (and be available and responsive); and, importantly, make it easy to book.
In today’s climate it is also important to offer flexibility if travel plans need to change. Consider updating your terms and conditions, make bookings 100% refundable and be flexible when it comes to date changes and the like.
Also, consider waiving any single supplements. This is a big drawcard, both for women travelling alone, and for those travelling in groups but who would prefer the privacy of their own room.
The Jurni Booking Tool will go live on October 1. Make sure you have signed up so that your establishment is easy to find for travellers looking for uniquely South African accommodation.
2. Make it Safe
A top priority for female travellers, single or in groups, is safety. Make sure you highlight any safety measures you have in place, be it safe, well-lit parking options; female-friendly shuttle services; relaxed eating areas for solo guests; and secure rooms.
3. Make it Memorable
Graceful travellers are looking for exceptional experiences. From yoga retreats and walking tours, to literary festivals and spa weekends, think out of the box when it comes to your ‘graceful’ offering.
Happily, South Africa has plenty on offer. Here are just a few examples:
- A biking tour of Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’s most vibrant townships, followed by an unforgettable meal at 4Roomed eKasi Culture. Owner and chef, Abigail Mbalo-Mokeona, a former MasterChef South Africa finalist, serves up traditional South African fare with gourmet flare. Think slow-cooked chicken and fennel, sous-vide fillet of beef, topped with rich caramelised onions, pap, umngqusho and fresh garden greens.
- A weekend of cheese-making just outside Tsitsikamma on South Africa’s Garden Route. Book into a cosy cottage with friends, enjoy long walks on the farm and learn the art of making yoghurt, cottage cheese, halloumi, ricotta and more.
- A wander down the Ribola Art Route in Limpopo – grabbing the chance to make traditional, hand-built Venda pots. A wonderful memento of a weekend with friends.
- A lazy weekend in the Natal Midlands, pottering through galleries and sampling the best coffee, cheese & chocolate.
- Art, spa and book days in the sleepy town of Clarens.
- A horse-riding adventure along the Wild Coast – or lace up your boots for long hike in the fresh sea air.
4. Make it Comfortable
There is no doubt about it, the more mature traveller is not looking to rough it. With her best backpacking years behind her, the graceful traveller is now looking for a touch of luxury. Think quality linens, high thread count, thick towels, champers in the fridge and a few ‘indulgent’ surprises along the way.
Graceful travel is not a new concept, but experts predict it is just about to come into its own. Get ready to greet graceful travellers with safe, open and welcoming arms.
Jurni is committed to supporting SMMEs during this difficult time to make sure you are prepared for the future. Our booking tool will go live on October 1. Make sure you register today!