Forget sun, sea and sights – more than a third of travellers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) say that good mobile data coverage is a crucial factor when choosing a holiday destination.
At least that’s the finding of new survey from IT firm Brocade, which it said points to a major change in the expectations of well-connected travellers from the region.
The firm’s survey found 37 per cent of respondents noted that good mobile data coverage was a determining factor in their choice of destination. Furthermore, 86 per cent expected hotels to provide free WiFi access. A lack of available WiFi was the second most common concern about accessing the internet from abroad, behind only high roaming costs.
It would increasingly appear that many holidaymakers feel obliged to remain in contact with their employers during their vacation.
Earlier this month, 7DAYS reported the results of a survey by serviced office provider Regus, which found that 57 per cent of Middle East workers will “not be relaxing properly this summer” as they try to fit in up to three hours work per day on holiday.
Brocade’s regional manager for the Middle East, Sufian Dweik, said today: “It used to be that when people went on vacation, that’s what they did. Now it seems that we can never switch off from work, even when we’re at the beach.”
New technologies and changes to the way we work are to blame, he said.
“There is significant blurring between personal time and work time in modern society, with the consumerisation of IT and ‘bring your own device’ working policies leading many people to rely on smartphones and tablet devices around the clock, wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing,” Dweik explained.
He also advised hotels and other destinations popular with tourists to up their game when it comes to free WiFi, or risk disappointing their customers.
“Hotel owners should provide residents with reliable connectivity – whether in their rooms, at the bar or by the pool. Widely available, high-quality internet access could very soon make the difference between a hugely successful season and a disastrous one. Without it, hotels risk damaging both their revenues and their reputations,” he said.
The firm’s survey found that smartphones are the most popular holiday gadget, with 91 per cent of those polled taking one with them on their break. Almost half – 49 per cent – will take their laptop, while 42 per cent will be toting a tablet on their travels.
Accessing work emails was second only to checking their own personal messages when it came to reasons why travellers would be taking their tech.
However, it’s not all work, work, work. Almost one-in-three of those questioned – 32 per cent stated that they intended to stream coverage of the Olympics through their devices whilst on vacation.
However, Brocade warned this in itself could place immense pressure on local networks to provide sufficient bandwidth and service reliability to users.
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