Mobiles a must-have travel tool

Economy January 16, 2015 01:00

By The Nation

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Besides a passport, a mobile device is now the second-most-essential item for travellers throughout Asia and around the world, according to BuzzCity, a global mobile advertising network.

That’s a key finding from the latest quarterly report on mobile and global mobile trends, it said.

The report includes a survey on the influence of mobile devices in the travel industry – in particular, how the mobile phone has changed how consumers plan, and enjoy, their travel and vacations.

The use of mobiles – for leisure or business travel, or commuting – has rapidly become the norm.

"A smartphone or tablet computer is an indispensable travel item today. Whether they’re using them for booking travel and accommodation, getting information about tourist attractions and weather, or taking and sharing ‘selfies’, travellers now carry one device, or more, on their journeys," KF Lai, founder and chief executive of BuzzCity, said recently.

The travel survey was conducted among 1,500 respondents in 25 countries, including Thailand.

The proportion of mobile-phone users travelling for business almost tripled last year, from 9 per cent to 24 per cent. Between business and leisure, 33 per cent of respondents travel internationally to reinforce the trend of more workers today travelling frequently, globally and domestically.

One in four uses his mobile to book or pay for his daily commute – double the figure from 2013. Also notable is the increase of 50 per cent in mobile use across business and leisure travellers. About 30 per cent rely purely on their mobiles to make last-minute bookings, making it the most preferred device for ticket or room bookings.

Twenty-one per cent of travellers choose to remain "unconnected" during their holidays, while 40 per cent say their phone is the most used recreational device for passing the time, to stay in touch with friends and family (29 per cent) and keeping up with work (22 per cent).

Mobiles are also a key tool for research and getting around, with 24 per cent using their phones to find out about local tourist information, restaurants and attractions.

"Multi-channel surfing has resulted in higher demand for access among travellers, and meeting this demand may yet be business-critical for airports, hotels and public transport services," Lai said. "Free Wi-Fi is no longer a perk, and more hotels will see this as a game-changing move for their business."