Are we to see a rise in the digital detox holiday maker?

15/03/2017 By Phoebe Wynne

This year, my new year’s resolution was to loosen my grip on my mobile phone.  Like most people, my resolution lasted only a day.  Our busy lifestyles make it near impossible to let go of our mobiles.

However, when we go on holiday we escape our everyday reality.  And so when I recently caught some winter sun, I saw the perfect opportunity to disconnect and have a digital detox.

Like me, Britons are making themselves less available during their holidays.  Our Holiday Trends 2017 study reported ‘to completely switch off’ as the second most common holiday motivation after spending time with friends and family.

This trend is also apparent in the data on how British holiday makers use their mobiles on vacation.  Smartphone use while on holiday fell from 61% in 2015 to 59% in 2016, while tablet and regular mobile phone use also declined.  Of those who did use their smartphone, we see a noticeable drop in the proportion using this for social networking, texting and emailing friends/family. In fact the majority of other methods of communication also dropped compared to 2015.

Are we seeing a shift in behaviour and if so, what effects will we see?

Speaking from my own experience, unlike my previous holidays I didn’t do any ‘checking in’ and didn’t post or tag any pictures of my hotel.  With other British holiday makers seemingly doing the same, will destinations and attractions see a decrease in unprompted social media recommendations?

If this is the case, destinations and attractions may actively encourage visitors to recommend on social media.  We expect the most effective will be those who encourage this in a way that recognises the digital detox that so many holiday makers seek. For instance, when I was asked to tweet about my experience at a tourist attraction this annoyed me. Yet at another, I was genuinely pleased when the host stated he ‘didn’t want to encroach on my holiday’ but asked if, perhaps, when I got back home I could like the attraction’s Facebook page or write a Trip Advisor review.

And I know what you’re all wondering… did I stick to my no-mobile rule on holiday? I can proudly say I did and had a much better time for it!

The latest edition of Holiday Trends is coming soon. Visit to find out more.