UK Travelers Dining Without Digital - eMarketer

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UK Travelers Dining Without Digital

Finding eats via smartphone not on the menu for UK travelers

March 11, 2014

Stories often crop up in the mainstream media about holidaymakers from the UK returning home to find their mobile phone bill has run into thousands of pounds. Roaming charges clearly remain a hazard for UK travelers, and one that most mobile phone users are well aware of.

A recent study conducted by TNS for the European Commission found that when UK travelers visited another EU country, many of them switched off their mobile phones. Indeed, 37% admitted to doing so, while a further 36% said they disabled the data roaming capabilities of their phones.

Mobile Phone Status While Traveling* According to UK Travelers, Jan 2014 (% of respondents)

A lot of people stand to lose out as a result of this reluctance to roam, from app makers to those businesses reliant on tourism. The restaurant industry is a case in point. According to November 2013 polling by Weve, domestic travelers in the UK were more than twice as likely to use their smartphones to find restaurants (60%) than those traveling abroad (29%).

Leading Smartphone Activities While on a Leisure Trip According to UK Smartphone Owners, Domestic vs. Abroad, Nov 2013 (% of respondents)

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for smartphone travelers, with mobile operator Vodafone recently announcing that it plans to increase its international 4G roaming coverage while removing premiums for using its networks while abroad. Such a move will certainly make it easier to find somewhere decent to eat when on holiday.


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