85 Percent of Travelers Bring Smartphones on Vacation

| November 20, 2013

TripAdvisor announced the results of its TripBarometer Mobile and Social trends survey which revealed that U.S. travelers are staying online even as they unwind on vacation.
 
The TripBarometer survey polled travelers from 22 different countries around the world¹ on mobile and social trends. The survey found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. travelers (61%) report using social media while on vacation. Forty-six percent (46%) of that group—nearly half of the travelers who use social media—cited a fear of missing out on news from their friends and families as a reason for staying connected.
 
TripAdvisor's TripBarometer survey also found that mobile devices are an essential part of the travel experience for U.S. respondents, and that travelers are nearly twice more likely to use smartphones than tablets during their travels: 85 percent (85%) of American travelers reported using smartphones while on holiday, while just 46 percent (46%) reported using tablets.
 
The survey results showed that U.S. travelers' use of social media and mobile devices while on vacation was comparable to the global average for the 22 countries polled. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of global travelers reported using a smartphone while on holiday, compared to 44 percent (44%) who reported using a tablet while on a trip. Sixty-one percent (61%) of global travelers reported using social media on vacation.
 
Hooked on Mobile
Calling (74%) and texting (63%) remain the primary reasons why U.S. travelers use smartphones when traveling. In addition to voice and text communication, 32 percent (32%) browse the Internet on their smartphones, and 27 percent (27%) surf the net on tablets. Here is how American travelers are using their digital devices online:

Purpose U.S. travelers report using their mobile devices while traveling for many purposes:
  Smartphone users: Tablet users:  
Looking for restaurants 44%   22%    
Accessing social media 35%   18%    
Looking for things to do 35%   23%    
Sharing on social media 33%   15%    
Reading reviews 31%   24%    
Looking for hotels 23%   18%    
Staying Connected to Avoid #FOMO: Fear of Missing Out
Sixty-one percent (61%) of U.S. respondents report using social media while on vacation. When asked why they use social media services while traveling, 46 percent (46%) said they don't want to miss out on any of their friends' or families' news while away, and 10 percent (10%) want to make their friends jealous with their travel updates.
 
Global travelers are more socially engaged:
Purpose Travelers report using social media on vacation for the following reasons:
  Global U.S.
To contact people cheaply 53% 42%
To get recommendations while traveling 38% 32%
To get overall news 32% 20%
To update social networks on a daily basis 28% 21%
 
Other findings:
Shutting Out the World
Of the 15 percent (15%) of U.S. travelers who do not use a smartphone on vacation, 42 percent (42%) like to forget the rest of the world while away, 33 percent (33%) feel roaming fees are too expensive, and 29 percent (29%) believe it costs too much to make calls or send text messages.
 
Apps a Popular Planning Tool
Beyond scanning the web, U.S. travelers report that they rely on apps for organizing their trips. TripAdvisor's TripBarometer survey found that the top five types of apps that U.S. consumers use for travel planning are:
Travel inspiration (TripAdvisor City Guides)
Weather
Hotel or accommodation
Airline
Activity
 
Hoteliers Migrate to Mobile
More travel industry professionals will leverage technology to engage consumers in 2014, as 53 percent (53%) of global hoteliers and 46 percent (46%) of U.S. hoteliers plan to expand their mobile offerings. That's up from 36 percent (36%) of worldwide hoteliers and 37 percent (37%) of American hoteliers who say they prioritized mobile marketing this year.
 
The top mobile offerings U.S. travelers are looking for from a travel business:
Mobile-friendly website
Ability to book
Special offers

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