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SMART Report Shows Vacationers Don’t Leave Home Without a Mobile Phone

“Don’t leave home without it,” is American Express’ famous call to action, but these days it could also be applied to the mobile phone. Not only do we use our phones for work, shopping, and recreation, we also depend on them while we’re on vacation.

The July 2012 S.M.A.R.T. Report from Millennial Media takes a look at mobile advertising in the travel industry. So let’s start with how people use their mobile devices while on vacation.

A nice, fat 62% are using it to find local restaurants and attractions. The implication is, that they’re looking up places they’ve never been before, so it’s even more important that they find positive reviews and solid details on the web. A local regular may disregard a bad Yelp review, but an out-of-towner is more likely to skip to the next closest venue.

55% are using their mobile devices for entertainment while on vacation. This is a great opportunity for ebook authors to promote books for the beach and travel guides. Can’t carry fifty books in your luggage but you can easily carry them on a tablet. The 54% looking for entertainment while traveling can be swayed by engaging game apps and trip planners. Introduce a game that keeps kids occupied on a long car trip and you’re golden.

When it comes to spend, Travel is the third highest behind Telecommunications and Finance. They also showed the third largest spending growth year-over-year with a whopping 200% increase. They were beat by Sports at 287% (not surprising given the Olympics) and News (which is surprising) up 261%.

In the Travel category, the main mobile objective was an app download. Booking agents and websites took up the majority of this category. Hotels, resorts and cruise lines came in a weak second.

Let’s wrap this up with a trivia question. What is the main reason people said they use their mobile devices while on vacation?

I’ll bet you guessed it. 85% said they use it to check email. We’re so addicted, it’s not even funny.  Cut the cord folks, it’s the only break you’re going to get this year.