The first 24 hours after arriving at a destination are crucial, with nearly half of travelers believing that the first day sets the tone for the rest of the vacation, and just over one in three going as far to say that these hours can make or break their trip, according to research from Booking.com. In the first 24 hours of a vacation, activities involving accommodation ranked highly in traveler’s list of priorities. Exploring the accommodation came second (60 percent) and 36 percent of travelers said one of their top things to do on day one is to test out the bed.
Reflecting the importance of getting comfortable in their room, when asked about the top things to take advantage of in their accommodation in the first 24 hours, the results included a comfortable mattress (44 percent), an amazing view (39 percent), a hearty breakfast (35 percent), a spacious room (33 percent), and a strong WiFi signal (32 percent). Of the guests surveyed, 16 percent said that anything complimentary from their accommodations is important, while 9 percent prefer mini toiletries and just 6 percent plan to use the “Do Not Disturb” sign.
When respondents were asked about the top things they’d want to do during the first day of their vacation, the top three activities reported were unpacking bags (63 percent), exploring accommodation (60 percent) and starting to plan for the next day’s activities (53 percent). However, the research also showed varied and much more tech-orientated activities, including: taking a picture for social media channels (27 percent, rising to 37 percent for 18 to 34 years olds); going online to check out local restaurant reviews (26 percent); listening to a vacation playlist (13 percent); and checking work emails (10 percent). Travelers also reported wanted to work on improving language skills (16 percent) and ordering room service (15 percent).
In terms of how long it takes travelers 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 activities like getting ice cream and hitting the pool. Nearly half (47 percent) have a treat within the first hour and 19 percent hit the pool, versus 54 percent who take pictures, 56 percent who check emails, and 57 percent who order room service within the same timeframe.
High expectations for the first day of a trip can mean worrying that things won’t go well—29 percent of respondents say they worry about things going wrong in the first day. More travelers worry about losing luggage (39 percent) than those who have actually experienced the issue (8 percent). Similarly, 40 percent of travelers fretted that their accommodation would not live up to their expectations, even though 83 percent ended up pleasantly surprised. Other anxieties that didn’t materialize included not finding a good place to eat (35 percent), getting sick (34 percent), and not being able to get online or connect to WiFi (40 percent). In reality, 73 percent were able to get online.
Research Now independently conducted the online survey, which was commissioned by Booking.com among a nationally representative sample of 18,496 respondents from countries around the world, including the U.S.