As the weather slowly but surely warms up, people's minds are turning to summer – or more specifically, summer holidays. But along with the holiday essentials of sun cream, beach towels and sunglasses, many are also adding tablets and mobiles to the holiday must-haves list. Gone are the days when a break in the sun gave travellers the chance to switch off from the outside world. Instead, we are finding more travellers pleased to save time and money by being connected – wherever they are in the world.
Research conducted by The Bio Agency of 2,000 adults in the UK earlier this year, revealed that around 20% of travellers now use a mobile or tablet whilst on holiday in another country and another 28% are quite likely to do so. The reason for this is to save money, time and to avoid that thing we Brits always seem so keen to do – queue.
Another reason for mobile device use on holiday cited by respondents (26% to be precise) is the desire to create a more tailored, bespoke holiday experience. Also on the list was the chance to get inside information from travellers who had already stayed at a destination (25%) and to provide a more streamlined travel experience (21%).
The study also showed that the majority of today's travellers (69%) expect the hotels and resorts they stay at to provide free Wi-Fi as standard. They also expressed an interest in using technology to help track the whereabouts of luggage at airports, to check-in via apps, and use translation apps to help communicate with locals when abroad.
Worryingly for the travel industry, when asked about the brands that respondents felt provided a good travel experience, the majority were not travel brands. With TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google Maps taking the top three spots respectively, just eight travel brands featured in the top 20.
Speaking about this, The Bio Agency's CEO, Peter Veash had this to say: "There is a real opportunity for brands to enhance travellers' experience in a really meaningful way, which they are just not doing today.
"Travel brands are missing a trick because other brands are already coming in and starting to take that space."
Perhaps where travel brands need to work harder is making sure that they present themselves to travellers at precisely the right time. This means not sitting back and waiting for travellers to find them, but instead using more sophisticated technology (such as geo-location) to enhance the customer experience and be visible at decision-making stages.
Over the coming years, consumers are, without doubt, going to become more and more reliant on digital technology before, during and after their getaways. As they do so, it's not just travel companies vying for their attention, meaning only the most digitally-native travel businesses will succeed. Travel brands need to remember that while travellers are dreaming of sun, sea, and sand, they are also dreaming of a digitally-enhanced travel experience – a truly digital destination.