It's no secret that travellers these days are more connected than ever. But do you know how much the digitally focused traveller is really worth? A new study has put a figure on it - showing that travel companies must to stay up-to-date with the latest technology if they want to succeed, reports Travel Pulse.
The study, by US firm MMGY Global, incorporated responses from 1,250 'Digital Elite' travellers – people who own, and use, at least two different mobile devices on a regular basis. What the study highlighted is that the Digital Elite take more holidays and spend more money when they go away than travellers who are less connected.
In fact, the Digital Elite now comprises 38% of all travellers as opposed to 21% back in 2012, and they spent $5,848 (£3, 868) holidaying last year - approximately $1,850 (£1,224) more than their less digtally savvy counterparts. They are also planning to spend 10% more this year, whereas less connected travellers intend to spend just 1% extra in 2015.
What's more, digitally proficient travellers enjoy more holidays. They took on average 4.8 trips away over the past year, while other travellers holidayed on average 3.8 times. And one in five of them (21%) plan to take more trips in the next year too, while only 17% of other travellers are planning more trips.
The survey also found that while on holiday the Digital Elite mostly stay connected: more than half, 54%, continue to use their smartphone as much when they're away as they do at home and a similar figure, 51%, of tablet users also use their device while they're travelling.
Smartphones are mostly used to make calls or take photos (82%), access the internet (80%), bring up email and send texts (70%), use apps (64%) and access social media (54%). Meanwhile, tablet users are comparing airfares and hotel rates online (31%), reading hotel, destination and restaurant ratings (28%) and booking hotels and flights (26%).
Unsurprisingly, the Digital Elite are mainly in the 18-34 or 35-49 age groups, in other words Millennials and Gen Xers. Seven in ten Digital Elite travellers fall within these groups.
Millennials are becoming increasingly significant to travel marketers – 32% of people from this group are planning to take more holidays in the next year, compared to 12% of Gen Xers. And they're also planning to increase their spending by an extra 21% in 2015.
Taking all this into account, it's time to focus more on what we can offer to the Millennials. With six in 10 saying that they don't want to "feel like a tourist" while on they're on holiday, travel companies must entice them with experiential and authentic offerings. Interestingly, Millennials are also much more likely than Baby Boomers (aged between 51 and 69) or Gen Xers to book a holiday to experience different cultures and explore new cuisine.