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Mobile Use By Britons Increasing In Travel Despite Cost Concerns
TripAdvisor survey reveals European mobile trends in travel planning

LONDON, UK. – 25 April, 2012  TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, today announces the results of its annual mobile device travel survey**.  The study of over 5,000 European respondents reveals a significant increase – 55% - in the number of British travellers now using mobile devices in their holiday planning, versus 2011.  However, despite increased usage, the associated costs of using a mobile abroad are an ever-growing frustration for British travellers.

“As mobile devices continue their dominance in our everyday lives, it’s no surprise to see a significant increase in the number of British travellers using them to plan their travel,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “Travellers are using mobiles to not only research before their trip, but increasingly to book and research their activities, travel and meals when they get to their destination.”

Travel planning on the go is on the up

This year’s research showed that a third (34%) of British travellers have used a mobile device to plan a trip, compared to last year’s 22% - a year on year increase of 55%.   Before a trip, travellers are most likely to use their mobile to research and book accommodation, while during a trip it is to research and book restaurants. 

Roam rage on the rise

Data roaming charges are still a significant concern for British travellers – this year 68% cited this as their biggest frustration in using a mobile abroad, compared to just 47% of respondents last year. Only 42% of British travellers have used their mobile device while in their holiday destination, compared to the European average of 55%. German travellers are the most likely to use their mobile on holiday (64).

In addition, 58% of British travellers claim they turn their data roaming off while abroad in order to avoid data charges, while more than one-quarter (27%) of British travellers say they’ve been hit with an unexpectedly large mobile bill upon returning from holiday.

“Tablets and smartphones can really enhance the travel planning process, opening up a wealth of options that a traveller may not have come across otherwise.  Unfortunately, despite attempts by OFCOM to ease roaming fees, it seems British users still feel these costs are, in many cases, prohibitively high,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

Hard copy maps in decline but mobile photo use most popular

With built-in maps and GPS, it seems mobile devices are taking over from traditional hard-copy maps for many travellers: 29% of respondents say they now use traditional maps less on holiday as a direct result of their mobile devices, while 6% claim they’ve stopped using traditional maps altogether on holiday.

Other than calling and texting, European travellers are most likely to use their mobile device for photos. Over half (55%) of British respondents have taken or shared photos on their device when travelling. This is still lower the European average of 64% and significantly lower than the 74% of Spanish respondents.

Mobile now an essential travel tool for many

The results reveal the increasing importance a mobile device now plays in the travel planning process, both before and during a tip. For some travellers, it’s not just an enhancement, but an essential tool. A significant 29% of British respondents claim they “can’t live without’ their mobile on holiday, compared to the European average of 34%.



*survey carried out on 5,144 travellers, including 1,177 in the UK between 30th March – 13th April 2012