DALLAS - On your summer vacation you'll spend more time glued to your smartphone than your beach chair, according to the Hotels.com Mobile Travel Tracker. This global study of 9,200 travelers across 31 countries, reveals that like to gloat on social media, use mobile to search for our next meal and engage in Facebook competitions with our travel friends.
Smartphones vs. Beach Chairs
With summer already here, we often conjure up the image of spending hours relaxing around the pool, or exploring the sights and attractions of a new city. The reality however is that Americans will spend more time glued to their smartphones than their beach chairs.
We spend on average almost two and a half hours a day topping up our tan, compared to three hours a day glaring at our mobile devices. In fact, just over 6% of travelers will spend more than seven hours a day with their smartphone in their hands.
Post a Pic or It Didn't Happen: Social Show Offs
50% of travelers admit to uploading photos to social media just to show off and 28% do it to check into places on social media to make friends jealous. Over a quarter (28%) say they comment on friends' posts just so they don't miss out on anything out while they're away.
Americans Channel Their Inner Competition through Facebook Travel Face-Offs
Even if you think you're not the competitive type, you may be 1 out of 20 travelers who engages in 'Facebook face-offs' with their travel companions. This is when you check your travel buddy's social posts to make sure your content is better than theirs! Interestingly, three times more men compete with their friends than women. Additionally, 20% spend their time seeing how many likes and comments their posts have.
The most used social channels while we are away include:
- Facebook (77%)
- Instagram (32%)
- YouTube (25%)
- Twitter (24%)
- Pinterest (14%)
Food Takes Priority for American Travelers
51% of people admit that their mobile device is their primary source of information while away. When it comes to the content we're searching for, it's a case of tasty food before top attractions, as restaurants and food markets are the most popular searches (71%). We're a generation of foodie travelers, with more than twice as many people searching to find the best restaurant than the best beach.
The most popular content we search for while away:
- Restaurants and food markets – 71%
- Tourist Attractions – 59%
- Maps and Directions – 56%
- Discounts and Deals – 38%
- Local Beaches – 33%
- Wi-Fi: Amenity or Necessity?
31% of people only select a hotel if it offers free Wi-Fi, and 17% of men are willing to pay for Wi-Fi access in a hotel but only 12% of women are willing to do the same. Women (12%) also care less about having access to Wi-Fi in general while traveling compared to men (9%).
It seems that tech may just be a necessity, as 64% admit to looking at friends social media updates and 28% say they comment on posts so they don't lose touch. FOMO is real, and it's evident.
When it comes to our app behavior, we're either posting on Instagram, getting lost in a destination or messaging people to say we're having the time of our lives. The top five app categories we use while traveling are:
- Social Media (66%)
- Messaging (50%)
- Mapping (43%)
- Travel (39%)
- Music (32%)
- Maps and Translators: Mobile Does It All
More than half of American travelers (51%) use the map features on their smartphones to get around. Globally, 30-39 year-olds use language translation apps the most, with 13% of Americans in this age group utilizing apps that offer these services.
Further Local Survey Data:
- On average, people take 3 trips a year and spend 11 nights in a hotel
- 43% of people have booked a hotel on mobile
- Over half (53%) have made a same day hotel booking
"For travelers the mobile effect begins with booking, as 43% of people in our study have booked a hotel on mobile," said Dan Craig, Senior Director of Mobile of the Hotels.com brand. "It's therefore no surprise that today's modern tourist is so reliant on their smartphone, and as technology is advancing it's becoming a more indispensable travel companion."