“The appetite for new technology is often coupled with a strong appetite for travel,” said Carroll Rheem, director of research for PhoCusWright, which tracks travel trends.
The findings were based on the soon-to-be-released results of PhoCusWright’s Traveler Technology Survey 2011, which surveyed 1,948 online travelers -- U.S. adults who have taken one leisure trip in the past 12 months that involved at least one flight/hotel stay and who planned their trip online.
According to the survey results, 47 percent of U.S. online travelers are on the cutting edge or are early adopters of new technologies.
Of those early adopters, 71 percent own a smartphone and take an average of 3.3 leisure trips a year, spending an average of $3,712 annually.
Of the 1,125 online travelers who access the Internet via a smartphone, 79 percent view maps or get directions, 62 percent research local activities such as restaurants or shows, 43 percent research travel products such as hotel rooms or flights and 42 percent reference existing travel information, such as itineraries.
The survey was designed to help companies better understand how consumers are bringing technology into their everyday lives and how that technology impacts their travel plans, Rheem said.
While the travelers surveyed were comfortable researching information on a smartphone, however, many were more inclined to switch over to a computer to enter credit card information. “They just naturally graduate to the right tool for the job,” said Rheem, noting that it is easy to mistype characters on a smartphone.
When it comes to online social networks, 79 percent of travelers said they participated in at least one, up from 70 percent in 2010.
“A vast majority of travelers are on social networks already,” Rheem said.