"Digital detox" is an attempt to untether individuals from obsessively checking their mobile phones. It is an attempt to forcibly unleash people from the global addiction of compulsively taking photos, checking messages, updating social media and replying to e-mails when on holiday or participating in MICE events.
It is an issue that the Ayana Resort on Bali, for example, has addressed by limiting the use of smartphones and mobile devices by their River Pool in a bid to encourage guests to absorb their surroundings rather than staring at a screen. Guests should enjoy a swim in the sea, read a book, catch up on writing postcards or just simply relax in the moment.
A recent survey of American holiday-makers by OnePoll found that more than 20 % said they checked their smartphones once per hour during their most recent holiday, while about 14 % said they checked it twice per hour. Nearly 8 % said they checked it more than 20 times per hour.
In a Deloitte survey in Britain in 2017, 38 % of adults said they thought they were using their smartphones far too much.
“See Vienna. Not #Vienna”
The Vienna Tourist Board wants visitors and MICE event participants to enjoy the moment and the city behind the pictures – instead of documenting it on social media. The start of the campaign was marked by a “See Klimt. Not #Klimt.” event where Klimt’s famous Kiss in the Belvedere Palace was swapped with a replica and covered with a red hashtag, with visitors’ reactions captured on film.
As a result of all this recent publicity, there has been a surge of interest in so-called "Digital Detox Holidays". Tourists and visitors are looking for ways to take a break from their phones, with travel companies and hotels also cashing in people’s frequent inability to switch off their devices unless forced.
This growing trend for switching off and embracing "digital detox" relaxation and momentary awareness enhancement could be imaginatively and quite easily adopted and marketed by the MICE- and group tourism sectors in particular. Opportunities are plenty and creativity is by no means short in supply!