As technology grows and adapts to make daily tasks easier to accomplish than ever before, more and more Canadians are also relying on their mobile devices to plan, book, and share their travel experiences. At Expedia.ca, our recent global mobile device survey found that 94 per cent of people bring at least one device with them while on vacations, and 97 per cent bring at least one device on business trips. The bottom line here is that mobile communication isn't going anywhere; rather, it's going everywhere.
Mobile devices are becoming essential for travellers
In general, 67 per cent of Canadian travellers say their smartphones are "very important/critical" to their daily lives. Laptops came in a close second at 64 per cent and 38 per cent of Canadians landed in the middle with tablets being their device of choice. Almost one in five Canadians (19 per cent) use their smartphones more when they travel than when at home; that's almost half as much (35 per cent) compared to other travellers around the world.
What are people using their phones for the most when they travel?
People are predominantly using their phones to keep connected -- whether through email and messaging or social media, travellers are eager to share their experiences with family and friends. Cameras have become an integral part of the mobile device, not surprising given that people are now able to take amazing photos from their phone or tablet and no longer need to bring along a secondary, and often bulkier, camera. And of course, almost 50 per cent of travellers are using their mobile device for maps and navigation, which means no matter where you are, a mobile device can both keep you on track and also direct you to attractions, entertainment and restaurants.
What else are Canadians doing with their phone while travelling?
Canadian travellers are using their smartphones for more than just talking. In fact, a majority use it to keep connected with family and friends as 67 per cent use it for email or messaging and another 41 per cent regularly use it to keep in touch via social media. But Canadians are also practical in nature use their phone to check the weather (48 per cent), use maps or navigation (43%) or rely on the utility features including alarm clock and calculator (44%).
Complimentary WiFi is considered a top hotel perk for travellers
WiFi accessibility may not always be available, but we learned that travellers value the ability to connect online over many of the other perks offered by hotels. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Canadian travellers reported that WiFi availability and pricing impacted their purchasing decision when booking travel. And, when asked to rank mobile-related hotel amenities, leisure travellers ranked "Complimentary WiFi" first, ahead of high-speed Internet access, wired in-room connectivity and a business centre with computers and printers. Canadians business travellers find complimentary WiFi even more important than their international counterparts with 89 % referencing this amenity as very or somewhat important.
Nowadays with mobile data plans and complimentary WiFi, there's no reason for travellers to leave their mobile device behind and it's easy for travellers to stay connected to their world back home no matter where they are. Perhaps what's most important about travelling with a mobile device is that apps like the Expedia.ca travel app give you the freedom to make changes to your trip itinerary, check your flight status and even research your current destination on the go to make sure you get the most out of your trip.