When today’s road warriors hit the trail, they are armed with three or four mobile devices to help them stay connected to office and home. They are more inclined to carry a tablet than a laptop. And when these business travelers communicate with the home front from their hotel room, they are most likely do so with a video chat — sometimes NSFW.
These are among the results of a hotel business and technology study commissioned by Four Points of Sheraton, a Starwood Hotels and Resorts brand. The survey polled a total of 6,000 business travelers globally — 1,000 each from the United States, United Kingdom, China, India, Germany and Brazil.
Some results aren't surprising. The majority use their Apple iPads and the like to check email, stay current with the news and make video calls home. But some of those video chats just might make the boss blush.
Among the key findings:
How Business Travelers Connect
- They travel with 3-4 mobile devices. The majority (55 percent) of respondents bring three or four devices with them on the road. This is true across all nationalities. Brazilian respondents were more likely than others to juggle five or more devices while traveling (27 percent), while Germans were the least device-dependent (33 percent reporting they travel with only one or two).
- Smartphones are their #1 device. What three or four devices are respondents likely to bring? Smartphones are tops (74 percent), followed by tablets (65 percent), music players (43 percent) and laptops (32 percent). Chinese respondents were the only group to bump laptops out of the top four, in favor of cameras (30 percent).
- Business travelers are glued to those smartphones. After landing, the majority (54 percent) turn on their smartphone while the plane is still taxiing on the tarmac, while 12 percent — ahem — never turn it off in the first place. The remaining respondents wait until they’re in the terminal or settle into a taxi or car (17 percent each).
- Tablets beat laptops. Nearly seven in 10 respondents (68 percent) use their tablet more often than their laptop. And 69 percent would choose to travel with their tablet versus a laptop if they could only bring one.
Why Business Travelers Connect
- To keep up with email. For most respondents, the primary purpose of traveling with mobile devices is to keep up with email on the road (90 percent). This is followed by Internet browsing and social networking (75 percent), and maintaining communication with the office (73 percent). Least popular: reading a book (43 percent).
- To stay abreast of the news. Overall, respondents are likely to subscribe to 4-7 RSS news feeds (46 percent), although respondents from India are more likely to subscribe to only 1-3 (55 percent). Reuters is by far the most popular news feed at 21 percent, followed by the BBC (15 percent) and The New York Times (7 percent).
- To make their lives easier. More than 60 percent of total respondents believe that traveling with technology makes their lives significantly easier and more convenient. However, the majority of German respondents report their lives are only somewhat eased by technology (53 percent), and 14 percent of Germans believe it makes life harder.
Business Travelers’ Communicating Style
- They :) and LOL! Most respondents report they use emoticons (72 percent) and other shorthand (77 percent) in their daily texts and emails. They do consider shorthand inappropriate when applying for a job (84 percent), sending condolences (67 percent) or emailing their boss (66 percent), but less so when emailing their mother-in-law (38 percent).
- For friends and family, nothing beats face time. To communicate with family, friends and loved ones back home, the majority of business travelers prefer to video chat/conference (67 percent) versus sending an email or picking up the phone (47 percent each). Instant messaging or texting is the least popular means (37 percent). Almost eight in 10 get dressed, do their hair and make-up before a video chat/conference. Chinese travelers are the most inclined to primp (85 percent) while Americans are the least (71 percent).
- NSFW? Intriguingly, the majority of respondents report that when they’re traveling, their spouse/partner is more likely to surprise them with a sexy video chat (56 percent) than have flowers delivered to their room (17 percent) or mail them a card (12 percent). Brits and Americans have a slight edge on this particular perk (61 percent each), while Brazilians are more likely to be left out in the cold (44 percent).