This summer we carried out a study commissioned by Twitter Ads UK, to find out about Britons’ Twitter habits on while holiday. For the purpose of this study, we interviewed over 550 UK active Twitter users.

Interestingly, we found that 59% of British active Twitter users access Twitter at least once a day while on holiday. With smartphones now being used by 58% of the entire British Internet population, and tablets by 27%, being on the move or on the beach is no longer a limitation to get online. It comes as no surprise then that 4 out 5 UK active Twitter users access the service via their mobile device (phone or tablet) while on holiday.

The ability to access the Internet from any location with a data connection has dramatically increased the role that social media plays in our everyday lives, including on holiday. Users are increasingly able to get the best out of their online social world, allowing them to benefit in real life as well.

While on holiday, one third of Twitter users in UK use micro-blogs to find local recommendations about events, one out of four to find local restaurants or tourist recommendations and one out of five to get flight updates.

Not only is Twitter helping Brits become more connected with their local surroundings while away from home but it also acts as a crucial means to keep in touch with friends at home: 64% use it to stay in touch with their peers and 45% tweet photos of their holidays.

A comparison with Spanish users on holiday reveals how the latter are even more engaged while on their summer break. Interestingly, 60% of them check Twitter at least once a day, which is just one percentage point more than UK Twitter users, despite the fact that the penetration of micro-blogging services among Spanish users on vacation is higher overall than their British counterparts. Spanish users are also more inclined to share pictures of their holidays (50%) but less likely to source local businesses or to use Twitter to plan their stay.

This leads us to the finding that users are starting to get more out of social media, and especially Twitter in this case, to help them make the most of their everyday lives, even on holiday. While on holiday, social media is not only seen as a means to stay in touch with friends or to post status updates about daily activities but is increasingly used as a holiday planner and tourist guide thanks to the recommendations from both friends and connections.

From a brand point of view, a key takeaway here is that social is not only crucial for big brands that want to promote their products or services online but can also be critical for local businesses to draw tourists. This study demonstrated how Twitter has become a place to share experiences about small and local business, highlighting the importance of being “social” for every company, whether small and local or big and international.

With so many people sharing holiday pictures, now is the time for the tourism industry to harness the power of social media.

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