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What are the top five things you pack when going on vacation? I bet your smartphone is close to the top of the list! For most travelers today, bringing a smartphone or laptop along for the ride is as important as packing a change of socks – if not more. In fact, according to the Text100 Digital Index: Travel & Tourism study, 88 percent of travelers take a mobile device capable of receiving Wi-Fi or 3G on vacation. We rely on these devices more than ever before, and as a result, our expectations have evolved when traveling. .
Text100 , in partnership with RedShift Research, conducted its first global study to better understand how digital technology influences the four major stages of a consumer’s travel decision-cycle: inspiration, decision, purchase and experience. The Text100 Digital Index: Travel & Tourism surveyed 4600 respondents in 13 countries and explored travelers’ preferences and behaviors when planning travel, observing a variety of factors from geo-specific travel patterns, to what becomes prioritized when making their final destination.
The study demonstrates that mobile and social trends for travel correlate to the overall mobile and social communication trends. The results suggest that one reason we pack our smartphone is to keep in touch with family, friends and our broader social networks while we are away. In fact, 68 percent of travelers globally use their mobile devices to stay in touch with our personal networks, the most common reason of any given. However, a sizable proportion of travelers also use their mobile devices for other reasons: 33 percent of travelers will surf the web to research their locations, and more than half pre-load travel apps on their devices (our modern-day equivalent of throwing the guidebook in the suitcase).
Reasons for packing our smart devices also vary significantly according to where we come from. While less than a quarter of travelers globally will use their mobile devices to work while they’re on vacation, for example, that number jumps to more than a third of travelers from Asia-Pacific countries. Culture and age remain extremely important factors in both the decision to bring our technology with us on vacation, and how we use it if we do.
Often we feel that we’re not getting the most out of our devices when traveling; the travel and tourism industry needs to take more steps to meet these new expectations. According to our research, 40 percent of travelers will share their experiences on social media more if they have access to free WiFi. If you’re a travel and tourism operator, that investment in basic connectivity features could reap significant returns in the form of social capital and brand value.
The study also revealed that today’s traveler bases their decisions on far more digital, mobile and physical touch-points than ever before. Social media is particularly important in the first and last stages of the decision cycle with 88 percent of respondents under the age of 34 using Facebook to inspire their destination choice. Text100 client, KAYAK, is already communicating their core values consistently across all of these touch-points. KAYAK has almost quadrupled its social share of voice by posting regular content online and mobile tailored to match consumer preferences. But for those who question the return on investment for a social media strategy, keep in mind that recommendations from family and friends are the number one influence when it comes to making travel decisions. If your customers can stay connected while they’re on vacation, they’ll be more likely to share their experiences while communicating with their loved ones. The mobile device could well be the travel industry’s most powerful tool for generating brand advocacy.
Take a look in more detail of Text100’s Travel & Tourism Study here.