The tech-aware traveller


Introduction and scope

Technology has prompted the travel industry to change and adapt in many ways over the years. Widespread internet access has meant that many consumers have become experts at planning and booking their own holidays and longer trips, and online review sites are used extensively to research destinations, accommodation and travel experiences, giving consumers greater power over providers of travel services.

Technology has also transformed the travel experience for consumers while they are away. Internet access, initially through internet cafés and accommodation, then via portable computers, and now through mobile technology, means that consumers can continue to plan and book elements of their holiday once they have left home. Consumers can also keep in touch with friends and family through email and social networking, and technology enables them to take their entertainment, in the form of music, films and reading matter, with them wherever they go.

The development of travel apps for smartphones and tablets is still at a relatively early stage, but is likely to have even more far-reaching effects.

This report looks at how travellers use technology, both when planning and booking their holidays, and when they are away.

Topics covered in this report include:

  • Travel habits
  • Ownership of technology
  • The holiday research process
  • The holiday booking process
  • Attitudes to planning and booking holidays
  • How technology can help the holiday booker
  • Use of technology on holiday
  • Holiday guidebooks and technology


YouGov SixthSense commissioned a survey among YouGov’s online panel of 360,000 consumers, drawing on a nationally representative sample of 2,067 UK adults aged 16 and over who had been on holiday during the previous two years. The research was conducted between 21 and 25 July 2011.

Some of the questions in the survey were open-ended, allowing participants to respond in their own words. Quotes from these responses have been included in the text.