Ready, tech, go: A tech-led focus allows holiday-makers to experience ultimate first 24 hours

  • Nearly half of Kiwi travellers (45%) agree that the first day of their holiday sets the tone for the rest of the trip
  • When it comes to deciding what to do, taking pictures for social media channels and checking work emails tend to happen before the more traditional aspects of a holiday such as indulging in our first holiday ice cream!
  • doesn’t think the social world is equipped with the right emojis to truly express how people feel during their first 24 hours of travel, so we’ve taken the liberty of creating new ones for you…. based on what travellers tell us they can’t live without

The first 24 hours[1] of a holiday are crucial, with nearly half of travellers (45%) believing that the first day sets the tone for the rest of the holiday, and almost one in four (23%) going as far to say that these hours can make or break their trip.

But how do these hours play out? What are our ultimate priorities during that first day on holiday? And do our hopes, worries and pre-travel perceptions match the reality? asked frequent Kiwi travellers to find out.

Only go for ice-cream if it looks good on your social channels

When respondents were asked about the top things they’d want to do during the first day of their holiday, the results paint an interesting picture of a 21st Century traveller. While more ‘traditional’ elements such as unpacking bags (82%), exploring accommodation (83%) and starting to plan for the next day’s activities (84%) came out as the top three activities, the research also shows how varied and much more tech orientated our activities on holiday are today compared to holidays gone by,

  • Take the ultimate picture for social media channels (27%, rising to 37% for 18-34 year olds)
  • Go online to check out local restaurant reviews (39%)
  • Check work emails (11%)

In terms of how long it takes travellers to do these activities, results revealed that taking pictures for social media channels, checking work emails and ordering room service all tend to happen before the more traditional aspects of a holiday like indulging in our first holiday ice cream and hitting the pool - 47% have a holiday treat within the first hour and only 19% hit the pool, versus 54% who take pictures, 56% who check emails and 57%, who order room service, within the same timeframe.

The perfect home away from home

In the first 24 hours of a holiday, activities involving accommodation ranked highly in traveller’s list of priorities. Exploring the accommodation came second (60%) and over one third of travellers (36%) said one of their top things to do on day one is to test out the bed, by jumping or having a snooze on it.

Reflecting the importance of getting comfortable in our temporary home base, when asked about the top things to take advantage of in their accommodation in the first 24 hours, the results revealed,

  • A comfortable mattress (44%)
  • An amazing view (39%)
  • A hearty breakfast (35%)
  • A spacious room (33%)
  • Strong Wi-Fi signal (32%)

It appears that some travellers prefer the simple things, with 16% saying that anything complimentary is important, 9% preferring the mini toiletries and one in 20 (6%) opting to make the most of the “Do Not Disturb” sign!

A different first 24 hours?

While nearly four in 10 (38%) travellers believe that the first 24 hours of a trip are the most memorable, high expectations can mean we’re prone to worrying that things won’t go as well as we want with almost one third (29%) saying they worry about things going wrong in the first day. But are these anxieties founded? How much do we expect a different first 24 hours to what actually happens?

When questioned about what travellers were worried would happen versus what actually happened, it’s clear that we tend to fret more than we need to:

  • Four in 10 (39%) were worried they would lose their luggage; this may be more of an urban myth as only eight per cent had this happen to them.
  • Forty per cent fretted about accommodation not living up to their expectations but their holiday story had a happy ending as 83% were pleasantly surprised when this actually did
  • Other anxieties that didn’t materialise include not being able to satisfy hunger by finding a good place to eat (35%) and fretting about falling ill (34%)
  • One key worry for travellers was not being able to get online/connect to Wi-Fi (40% worried about this!), reinforcing the keenness for travellers to be as tech-forward as possible. In actual fact over 7 in 10 (73%) said the opposite was true and they were able to log on to their heart’s content.

On the flip side, perception matches reality when it comes to our holiday hopes with these often being met. It was revealed that

  • Over half (54%) hoped to arrive to perfect weather; actually more than six in 10 (62%) said their wish came true – proving the weather gods may well exist
  • One in three (33%) said they’d hoped to make friends with other travellers; we’re a friendly bunch as the same number’s wish came true (32%)
  • Just over one in three said they were able to take the best picture for their social media channels (35%, rising to 46% of 18-34 year olds!)
  • Over a third (35%) discovered a hidden gem
  • Nearly one in five (19%) received an accommodation upgrade
  • Over one in 10 (13%) must have been speaking the language of love as they actually met a holiday romance in the first day.

When looking at traveller reviews on, the nationalities most likely to talk about the above positive elements in their reviews and who may well have had the most fulfilling first 24 hours are Russians, Dutch, Thai, Spanish and Norwegians*.

Bringing your first 24 hours to life via new emojis

Holidays make up such a huge part of our lives and we often want to share our holiday experiences with others via messaging on our mobile devices. But is the social world equipped with the right emojis to truly express how people feel during their first 24 hours of travel? doesn’t think so. That’s why we’ve taken the liberty of creating new ones for you…. based on what travellers have told us they can’t live without.

Over 18,000 travellers were asked which new emojis they would like to see and the top ones include someone looking at a map, someone dressed in typical tourist gear, and someone taking a selfie. has brought these emojis to life and created a light-hearted petition for Unicode, the organisation that approves all emojis, to include these as part of their current list. If you would like to see more holiday emojis on your mobile device, sign the petition here: INSERT LINK

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at comments: “Holidays are times when we can go to new places, try new experiences and take a break from the routine of everyday life. Expectations often run high and with so much to see and do, a lot rides on those first 24 hours. Our mission at is to empower people to experience the world, and that includes helping to ensure that those first holiday hours meet, if not exceed, those expectations. Accommodation is one component integral to any holiday, so whether you want to stay connected via Wi-Fi, munch a hearty breakfast every day or simply gaze on a great view, we make it easy to find the right stay for you, as well as developing the best in technology-powered solutions to make in-destination exploration a cinch, right from the start.”

[1] Defined as the moment we arrive at our destination



Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a nationally representative sample, provided by Research Now. In total 18,496 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India and Russia and 500+ each from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan). Respondents completed an online survey between 27th April and 15th May 2017.

*Analysis of real Booking traveller review data across 42 languages, where specific keywords of 'friendly locals', 'taking / the perfect photograph', 'discover/discovering a hidden gem', were mentioned. The nationalities were then ranked as per those who mentioned these words the most in their reviews.

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