Don’t forget about the solo attendees: How brands can foster rewarding communities and combat loneliness

Posted by Dina Zubi in Comment

2 weeks ago

Solo dates and solo travel have never been more popular and in a time when loneliness is being discussed as the new public health crisis, brands and creators must take care to ensure their events and experiences are inclusive to all.

According to the charity Campaign To End Loneliness, in 2022 49.63% of adults (25.99 million people) in the UK reported feeling lonely occasionally, sometimes, often or always, while 7.1% of people in Great Britain (3.83 million) experience chronic loneliness. People who are female, single, renting and aged between 16- and 24-years-old are more likely to feel lonely and experiencing it can affect a person’s health and wellbeing, as well as their engagement with education and employment, the charity pointed out.

Creators have a unique opportunity with their platforms to mitigate the effects of loneliness and provide support for their followers, and there is also more brands can do to play their part.

Many influencers are using their content and events to encourage new friendships and connections – take podcasters Alex Light and Em Clarkson, who urged their followers to find likeminded people to attend their live shows with, whether they knew them beforehand or not. Their post received more than 330 comments from people looking to meet up. Meanwhile, vlogger Sophie Milner has started the community New Circle Society, which provides opportunities for women to make friends and attend activities.

Solo dating is another trend that has been on the rise for the past few years, with more than 111,000 TikTok videos tagged #SoloDate. This can include anything from cinema trips to restaurant meals and museum outings, and the trend is popular among singletons as well as people who are in relationships but still prioritise alone time. Vlogger Katie Snooks often documents her solo dates, for example, attending a tufting class and sharing tips for enjoying dining alone.

London-based creator Jay (Jaymfs) filmed her experience attending a Lululemon event by herself as part of her solo date diaries content. The event included a group workout, intention-setting and post-exercise smoothies, and the influencer said: “I think this is the best £10 I have spent this year.” TikToker Dom Lawrence’s video about attending Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour by himself has 271,000 views, while lifestyle creator Meg Davies went to Glastonbury Festival alone.

The popularity of solo travel is not to be underestimated either – #SoloTravel has been tagged in more than 9.7 million Instagram posts and Forbes named 2024 “the year of the solo traveller”. A 2023 survey by tour operator Overseas Adventure Travel and Solo Traveler showed 50% of the company’s customers travelled alone, compared to 39% in 2019 and 27% in 2017.

Brands can get in on the solo travel trend by arranging group trips or outings, or working with influencers who arrange these types of experiences, such as Kirsty Leanne Colclough or Sabina Trojanova (see CORQ’s full article about creator travel communities here).

Companies are also tapping into the trend by showing how their products or services can help solo travellers. For example, solo travel creator Ciara J worked with Sony Electronics to share advice for taking holiday photos by yourself, and T-Mobile teamed up with US TikToker Megan Homme to offer solo travel safety tips in a video with more than 23 million views, 135,000 likes and 7,500 favourites – though it is worth noting the high view count might be aided by the video being boosted by the brand. Both these campaigns address concerns specific for those travelling alone, with safety being a crucial component to address prior to the event or activity taking place.

Writer Chanté Joseph recently posted a video about the prevalence of negative attitudes towards solo travelling, and how women especially are met with “pity” and seen as “sad”. This shows how important it is for brands to remember, support and include this growing demographic. Companies that make a point of encouraging both creators and customers to attend events and trips on their own and make sure they have enriching experiences will reap the rewards.

By Dina Zubi, CORQ news and features writer