M:Metrics released some detailed stats on 3G usage that should raise a flag for all in the travel industry. If you don’t know, 3G refers to the third generation wireless networks that provide more features and faster speeds than 2G networks. What caught my eye was the stat which concerns photo-sharing, which skyrockets to 45.1% monthly penetration among 3G users, up from 17.1% of non-3Gers. The bottom line is that next generation cell phone users are increasingly depending on their camera phones. What does this mean for the travel industry?
If you combine the growth of user generated content with this increased photo-sharing usage, the picture should be clear. Travel suppliers, especially hoteliers, need to be sensitive to the fact that an upset customer will not only blast the hotel at review sites such as Trip Advisor or IGUGO, but will increasingly use their cell phones to document short comings of a property augmented by real- time pictures posted to blogs or photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. The old cliche that a picture paints a thousand words says it all.