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Tech - Computers

 May 02, 2011
Usage Habits of America's Traveling Tablet-Toters Revealed

 The latest trend in mobile computing, the tablet, is certainly making an impact on the technological landscape, but how will it change the way consumers approach planning, purchasing and sharing information about travel? New insights from the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of the American Travelers reveal how active travelers are utilizing tablets and how these usage patterns differ from other forms of mobile connectivity.

Given the wired standard of living for most Americans, it's surprising to see that less than one in ten (7%) active travelers currently has access to the Internet from a tablet computer. Among those who do, they typically use the device while travelling to find local restaurants or shops, comparison shop for airfares and hotel rates, and search for the latest updates on flight schedules and delays.

Approximately one-quarter have navigated a destination using the GPS function, viewed a virtual visitor guide, or shared information and photos on their tablet device while traveling. And two in ten have used the check in feature or an app on their tablet computer to connect with family and friends via social media platforms.

Roughly one-third of travelers use their tablet computer during the planning process to book air travel or lodging, and evaluate ratings and reviews to determine hotel, restaurant or destination selections.

Of the seven percent of travelers with access the Internet from an iPad or other tablet computer, their usage preferences include:

46% - Find restaurants or shops nearby based on specific criteria input;
42% - Comparison shop airfares and hotel rates;
39% - Search for the latest information on flight schedules and delays;
37% - Book air travel or lodging;
35% - Look for ratings or reviews of hotels, restaurants or destinations, etc.;
27% - Navigate a destination using the GPS functionality on your device;
26% - View virtual visitor guides that provide information on things to do and see in a destination;
24% - Share information and photos about your travel experiences;
18% - Use check in feature or apps such as Facebook Places or foursquare to share with others;
17% - Participate in customer loyalty by using like function on social networking sites;
13% - Download and use mobile coupons from your device;
13% - Download an audio walking tour of a destination to your device;
11% - Use a destination-specific app.

It is interesting to note that tablet utilization habits mirror those observed on smartphones with one important exception: tablet users are significantly more likely to use their device to comparison shop airfares and hotel rates.

The Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2011 Portrait of American Travelers is national survey of 2,539 U.S. households that was conducted in February 2011. The nationally-representative results provide an in-depth examination of the impact of the current economic environment, social values and media habits on the travel habits of Americans with an annual household income of $50,000 or more.