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Even on Vacation, Mobile Device Downtime Is More Illusion Than Reality

Posted by Zuri Stanback on September 14, 2015 at 9:57 AM

Mobile use on vacationMost people like to think that their daily routines offer some downtime where they can take a break from their smartphones and tablets. In practice, though, mobile device usage is often at the center of those relaxation periods. This habit also extends into vacations. BookingSuite notes that a TripAdvisor online survey shows that 90 percent of Americans surveyed use smartphones while traveling — even abroad.

This steady mobile habit presents an interesting opportunity for marketers. Consumers have their mobile devices with them everywhere they go — basically, if your target audience is awake, they're accessible.

Constant Mobile Presence

This trend speaks to just how entwined smartphone habits have become with everyday life. If there were ever a circumstance where the lure of mobile connection might take a backseat to experiencing daily activities, traveling would seem the likely scenario, yet that hasn't proven to be true. Consumers instead insist on remaining connected, no matter where they are or what they're doing.

According to BookingSuite, consumers are not only using their smartphones during vacations, they're actually using them to power their vacations, with 73 percent of travelers using them for GPS purposes, 62 percent looking up restaurants and 52 percent searching for activities to enjoy. Instead of just being along for the ride during travel, the mobile device has become a launching pad for trip research and planning, especially while on the go.

Cashing In

Travelers are big consumers. They book hotels, they eat at restaurants, they take excursions, they buy souvenirs. Countless local communities depend on tourism as a key part of their economy, and the business these travelers bring with them is of great value to local competing brands.

Brands should see mobile as a natural channel to convert these vacationing consumers. Advertisers can focus on meeting customers at the place where they turn for information by promoting restaurants within dining apps and listings and using location-based targeting to advertise nearby excursions or attractions. Even companies that don't specifically cater to tourists — retail stores, for example — can capitalize on some of that traffic by using mobile devices to alert customers to current offerings and sales.

While the idea of mobile downtime may be more myth than reality, the ability for marketers to capitalize on vacationing consumers' mobile habits definitely is not.

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