Nine out of 10 travellers can’t leave home without a gadget

THE need to stay connected at every corner of the globe has made technology both a trusty companion and an indispensable resource for leisure travellers. According to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2013, phones are the top choice as a holiday companion (84 per cent), followed by computers (60 per cent), cameras (55 per cent), and entertainment devices (23 per cent) for travellers from Africa and the Middle East (AMEA) region.

Gadgets are used to find essential information and easily share their travel experiences with friends and family which is why 71 per cent of travellers in Africa and the Middle East take a smartphone with them. The study revealed that 33 per cent of travellers choose to use their devices to check-in online while abroad. This emerging trend is not just limited to the trip itself – 71 per cent of travellers share their holiday experiences online after returning from their trips.

The weight of the gadget (39 per cent) and internet capability (34 per cent) are important factors when deciding which gadgets to bring on holiday – although the top consideration is simply because AMEA travellers are addicted and cannot live with their gadgets (43 per cent). First-time travellers, however, seem to prefer to travel light as they picked the weight of their gadget as being the most important factor (50 per cent).

Online sources such as travel review, service provider and official tourism websites are used by 42 per cent of AMEA travellers for trip planning, 37 per cent for bookings of independent travel and 33 per cent for information while travelling. Travellers from Asia Pacific are the most tech-savvy, with these numbers increasing to 80 per cent, 76 per cent and 73 per cent respectively.

Marcello Baricordi, general manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead at Visa Inc, says: “Technology has impacted every aspect of our lives, and the way that we plan and enjoy holidays is no different. While traditional word of mouth reviews from friends, relatives and guidebooks are still used – especially among travellers from Africa & the Middle East – online resources that offer reviews from frequent travellers as well as a host of other information such as currency converters, pictures, booking and discount facilities are becoming the first source of information for most global travellers.

“In a positive sign for providers who are offering both information and booking solutions online, global travellers are saying that online booking processes are fast and getting easier. Visa understands this and provides a number of ecommerce solutions to make online payments secure and convenient for both merchants and customers.”

The article is based on a VISA Global Travel Intentions study on the link between technology and the travel experience.