New research by Digitonic  has found that nearly two-thirds of people are likely to complain to friends or family about being contacted by a company while they are abroad on holiday.


A survey commissioned by Digitonic found that 65% of people in the UK said they would be either “very likely” or “quite likely” to criticise a brand to their friends or family if they were marketed to through their mobile phones while abroad.


Young people are the most likely age group to complain about being contacted by a company while on holiday, with 78% of 16-24 year-olds saying they would be inclined to tell their family or friends. Meanwhile, 40.3% of the 55 and over group said they would be “very likely” to do so (63.2% when combined with those who responded “quite likely”).


People from the North East of England were the most likely to complain to their friends and family, with 74.6% of respondents. That placed it ahead of all other regions of the UK, followed by Scotland where 69.9% of people said they would be likely to tell their peers.


The same survey also found that a further 29.2% said that data roaming tariffs were one of their biggest holiday bugbears. Around one in nine people told the survey they were most bothered by sales calls and marketing texts while abroad.


Grant Fraser, managing director of Digitonic, said that, following the big holiday rush a fortnight ago, brands were needlessly leaving themselves open to reputational damage.


In response to the trend of unwelcome mobile marketing to consumers who are abroad on holiday, Digitonic has created the Advanced Mobile Validation Service (AMVS), which can tell brands in real-time which handsets are abroad, as well as which numbers are invalid or if the handset is switched off.


The business stipulates that consumers should only receive marketing messages if they have expressly agreed to be contacted with relevant offers.


Grant said: “With the summer months here, a good percentage of the population will be heading abroad on holiday. But for many companies, it will be business as usual when it comes to contacting new and existing customers. Our survey suggests that this presents a real problem for the relationship between brands and consumers.


“I’ve been on the receiving end of this myself. While in the US on business I was woken numerous times by marketing texts and customer service calls during the early hours of the morning. It got so bad, I had to turn my mobile phone off while I was sleeping, which meant I was out of contact if there was a family or business emergency.


“Brands need to consider the real impact of their marketing activity so they don’t alienate customers, whether they’re relaxing by the pool on holiday, or simply not interested in what they’re being offered.


“Getting it right is good for both consumers and marketers. Marketing campaigns are quicker, have a higher strike rate and more accurate data, and customers won’t need to absorb roaming costs and don’t feel as though they’re being pestered on holiday.”


The survey was conducted on 1,030 adults from every region of the UK, across a variety of age groups. It suggested that around 5% of respondents form across the country do not own a mobile phone.


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