Margaux Marshall, a digital product manager, has created a travel website and community for solo travellers which is due to launch this week. She tells Travel Daily all about it.
What is The Lone Travellers?
The Lone Travellers is a website and community offering quick accessible information to young solo travellers. On a country level, you can access visa, culture and currency information, and on a city level you can swiftly find out how the transport works, when to go and even the level of safety, from the mouths of real travellers.
When did it launch?
The research and inception of the website started almost four years ago. But we will officially launch, with content on South East Asia and North America, on the 10 October 2017.
Why did you decide to develop it?
I came up with the idea for The Lone Travellers deep in the mist of my own travels. Rewind to a few years ago, after somewhat of a quarter-life-crisis, I booked a plane to South East Asia, and begun a bout of travelling which led me to a small city in Borneo.
Whilst there, I became frustrated. My time was being consumed with researching things to do. And that was when I suddenly got a brain wave: it would be great to have a website to hold all the really important information I needed in one place.
I also wanted to contribute to the information-sharing culture of the backpacker community, which at the time was a pretty new concept; so I embarked on a crazy adventure to start it up!
What type of people can we find using the platform?
The Lone Travellers’ core target audience is female solo travellers between the ages of 18-35. Understanding that, if you head to the website, you will find information about safety, how to get around and what it is like travelling alone.
Having tried and tested it on users, I’d say that the content is generally inclusive and mostly applicable to any traveller. On a general level, it effectively combats that feeling of what now? When you arrive in a new country or city: how to navigate your surroundings, where to stay, what to do and even suggestions on tried-and-enjoyed places to eat. As an example, my dad uses it and he’s 67-years-young!
How can UK travel agents use the site?
The Lone Travellers is the perfect information source to use when selling to female solo travellers, and even the every day traveller, as I briefly touched on before. When you’re painting a picture and telling a story to a potential client, the website offers colour and real testimonials to help the person imagine themselves there, as if they were being told it by a friend or colleague. This can help agents create that crucial excitement and urgency to go.
Agents can also send the website itself to clients, to add ‘approval’ to pitched choices about the trip.
What is the long-term goal?
Of course I want The Lone Travellers to be successful in it’s own right, but with its success I would like to create a fund to tackle environmental issues later on down the line. There is so much happening in the world today that I think it is extremely important that we all do what we can to ‘save the planet’.
And I know that sounds quite generic, but it’s because the amount of things we can do are so vast. In my case, I am particularly determined to tackle the habitat loss of orangutans. The tropical rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra is in rapid decline due to the palm oil industry, logging and mining. Add this to Orangutans being sought after to trade as pets they are now on the critically endangered list, so it’s time to do something before it’s too late.
In a sea of information currently available to travellers, where do you see The Lone Travellers fitting?
Sure there is a lot of information out there. Which is half the problem. Bloggers, all-female social media groups and the very big players already provide huge amounts of information. Where The Lone Travellers fit within that is to deliver up to date information, quickly.
No more surfing the Internet for hours to find that little nugget you were searching for. We deliver a breezy user experience, and all the information you need in 3 clicks.
I would say that the The Lone Travellers captures the familiarity of an extremely well organized blog, whilst putting it on a global scale.
What are your next steps with the business / what are your future plans for The Lone Travellers?
After our launch the focus will really be on marketing and growth. I’ve recently hired a marketing agency and will be looking at developing an engaged community and then through that, making The Lone Travellers the go-to website for quick travel information.
A big part of our strategy moving forward will be partnerships, so I encourage you to become involved early. I am open to both travel and non-travel partners. Drop me an email at [email protected].