Research Insights I'm on Vacation (and You're Not): U.S. Travelers Share Trip Experiences in Real Time

I'm on Vacation (and You're Not): U.S. Travelers Share Trip Experiences in Real Time

December 2012
Douglas Quinby

I'm on Vacation (and You're Not): U.S. Travelers Share Trip Experiences in Real Time

From slideshows and postcards to online travel reviews and social networking posts, travelers have always found a way to share their travel experiences. But U.S. travelers are increasingly using social networks to post about their trips as they travel, according to a new Phocuswright report. In fact, travelers are more likely to post about trip experiences in the moment than when they get back home.

Thirty-one percent of U.S. travelers who are active users of online social networks have posted comments/photos on a social network while traveling in the past twelve months. A smaller share (27%) report sharing travel-related comments/photos at home or work.

"The convergence of mobile devices and social media is having a significant impact on traveler behavior, and sharing travel experiences as they happen is becoming the new norm," said Carroll Rheem, senior director, research. "With cameras nearly ubiquitous in mobile devices, much of the content shared is imagery, making image-based offerings like Pinterest and Instagram particularly relevant."

The share of U.S. travelers who own a smartphone is on the rise, and social network usage continues to grow. Sixty-four percent of U.S. online travelers now own a smartphone, up from 52% in 2011. Eighty-three percent of travelers are active on social networks, up slightly from the previous year (79%).

Phocuswright's Traveler Technology Survey 2012 provides travel companies and marketers with a comprehensive view of how the latest devices, mobile functionality and social networks are shaping the consumer travel planning process. The research provides information and insight into how consumers' attitudes toward (and usage of) these devices and platforms impact their travel experiences – before, during and after their trips.

Research highlights include:
  • Analysis of online travelers' ownership and adoption of mobile phones, smartphones and Web-enabled devices, including PCs, tablets and more
  • Detailed examination of travelers' mobile Internet usage, highlighting travel-related mobile activities such as pre-trip research, mobile bookings and a range of in-travel mobile activities (navigation/mapping, flight check-in and social network trip updates)
  • Discussion of social network participation among online travelers, analyzed by network (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) and frequency of use
  • Overview of general and travel-related social network activities
Purchase Phocuswright's Traveler Technology Survey 2012 to effectively navigate the rapid changes in traveler technology and behavior.