Survey Finds the Internet, Web-Enabled Devices Too Important to Leave at Home During Summer Vacation

Today’s vacationers overwhelmingly
turn to the Internet and Web-enabled consumer electronics to make
virtually every part of their summer getaways easier and more enjoyable.
According to a new survey conducted for SBC Communications Inc. , three-fourths of respondents say they are likely to go online while
planning their trips to check prices, buy tickets and make reservations.
Families are also relying on the Internet during their trips, with two in
three respondents saying they are likely to use the Web to e-mail friends,
family and co-workers, get maps and directions, and send digital photos
home. In addition, seven out of 10 respondents expect to use Web-enabled
devices such as digital cameras, laptops and digital music players during
Findings from the national survey of 500 households with Internet access
shows that having Internet access while traveling is especially important
for vacationers with devices that have wireless (Wi-Fi) capabilities. Half
say a high-speed Internet connection is an important factor in choosing
where they stay, and one in four is joining the growing trend of seeking
out and using Wi-Fi hot spots at airports, restaurants or other locations
during their trip.

Internet Use Before, During and After Vacations

The Internet has now become a primary source for vacation planning, with
three-fourths of survey respondents likely to go online to prepare for
their trips. Ninety-two percent of travelers who plan to use the Internet
for vacation planning are likely to check prices for hotels or air travel,
88 percent expect to look at maps of vacation routes or destinations, and
84 percent are likely to check on activities in the area. Forty-five
percent of people who own a digital music player are likely to create a
vacation song mix from their online music libraries. Thirty-nine percent
of PDA and laptop owners are planning to download maps and directions, and
about a fourth of travelers expect to download maps, music or videos to
their electronic devices before their vacations. Additionally, among those
who will use the Internet to do vacation planning:

- 78 percent purchase airline tickets or make hotel or rental car

- 75 percent look up phone numbers and addresses

- 59 percent order brochures or literature

- 44 percent read reviews and
opinions from other travelers

The Internet’s popularity during vacations also applies to Web-enabled
electronics, with 79 percent of respondents owning one or more high-tech
gadgets, and seven out of 10 planning to use at least one of them during
their vacations. Overall:


- 55 percent of families own a digital still camera. Nearly 30 percent of
all vacationers are likely to send digital pictures to friends, family or
co-workers while they are away.

- Four out of 10 own a digital video
camera, and 86 percent of them will likely use it on their trip to capture
family video they can later upload to a Web site or send via e-mail.—36
percent have a laptop, and over half of them plan to use it during

- Three in 10 own a digital music player, and 66 percent will
likely use it on trips to listen to music while on the go.

- One in four has a Wi-Fi-enabled device, and half of them plan to use it on their trip
for activities like checking e-mail.

- 19 percent have a PDA, which more
than half of them will likely use on vacation to view maps or directions
they downloaded from the Internet.

Checking e-mail is among the most popular activities for tech-savvy
households, with half saying they can’t survive more than a week without
it. Vacationers are more likely to e-mail friends and family than the
office - only 21 percent are likely to correspond with work while 42
percent are planning to keep in touch with family and friends.

“Vacation is a special time for most families, and they don’t want to
spend it hassling over details. They recognize that high-speed Internet
service and high-tech gadgets help them take care of the details and stay
entertained during their trip, so they have more time to relax,” said
Deven Nongbri, director, SBC Marketing. “After their trip, the Internet
gives vacationers a fast, easy way to make their memories last until next
year, by e-mailing photos to family and friends or uploading vacation
movies and photos to a Web site.”

Even though travelers are excited to send photos from their trips, there
is one photo that proves that men are still from Mars and women from
Venus. Nearly 60 percent of women said they wouldn’t want a photo of them
wearing a bathing suit e-mailed to friends and co-workers versus only 27
percent of men.

Internet use doesn’t stop after the vacation is over, with 80 percent of
summer travelers expecting to use e-mail or the Internet to share their
vacation experiences after they get home. Seventy-one percent are likely
to e-mail friends about their vacation experiences, half are likely to
e-mail pictures from their trip, one fourth are likely to use an online
photo processing service to print photographs, and 23 percent are planning
to post pictures or video to Web sites.

This summer, more than 44 percent of Americans are planning leisure travel
for the 2004 summer and will take more than 334 million trips from June
through August, according to the Travel Industry Association of America

The survey was conducted on behalf of SBC Communications Inc. by I/H/R
Research Group, which interviewed a nationwide sample of 500 respondents
ages 21 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage
points, at a 95 percent confidence level.