The vast majority (84 per cent) of Brits now use their devices on their short break away from work, and not just to have a phone in case of an emergency. As the great getaway for the festive period begins today, the most popular uses for the devices whilst away include sharing experiences on social media (37 per cent), navigation (30 per cent), checking the weather (30 per cent), researching places to go (24 per cent) and checking the news (23 per cent).
With space in rucksacks and suitcases always at a premium, not to mention presents and Christmas food and drink, smartphones are replacing many other items people traditionally tend to take with them whilst on a break. The biggest change in what we pack is with cameras, with nearly half (49 per cent) of people getting rid of them completely in favour of the camera on their phone. A quarter (25 per cent) of people now leave their satnav at home despite the arduous task of navigating Britain’s back roads.
Despite all the functionality phones have to offer, simply having the phone in case of an emergency to make a call (70 per cent) or to text people (84 per cent) are still the most popular uses. This is comparable to how we are using our mobile at home where 70 per cent use their phone for calls and 82 per cent use their phone to text.
Connectivity is an even bigger bugbear than being contacted by work (9 per cent) and making the holiday less sociable (6 per cent). However, RootMetrics data shows not everyone is getting the coverage they expect and people in more rural areas, where many will be retreating to this year, are experiencing more problems making calls than those in the city[i]. More than half (52 per cent) of people agree better mobile coverage in the British countryside would help to attract more visitors.
Bill Moore, CEO and President, RootMetrics: “Our mobiles have become essential accessories when planning a trip away. For major attractions in the UK, giving travellers a good understanding of performance in the area could help them stand out in such a competitive market, in much the same way hotels advertise broadband connectivity.”
Martin Couchman, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said: "Small and medium sized hospitality and tourism businesses are the engines of growth and job creation across the UK. The British Hospitality Association is championing the need for these businesses to have access to high quality digital communications infrastructure, especially in rural and coastal areas where hotels and restaurants sit at the heart of the community. We live in the digital era and have to compete on with destinations overseas. This is simply what businesses need to carry out normal business functions, and importantly it’s what visitors expect."