Britons have been labelled as the “technophiles of Europe” with almost three quarters going online to organise their holidays.

A poll of 3,500 people across seven countries found that 57% use the internet to make holiday bookings, up from 28% in 2005. The British remained the most technophile with 71% of them researching or booking their holidays online, the study conducted by Ipsos for at the Europ Assistance Group found.

The research, conducted among people in the UK, France, Germany. Italy, Spain, Belgium and Austria, found increasing use of smartphones, with one in four owning a mobile device.

While 57% claim to use smartphones less on holiday than during the rest of the year, a third of Europeans would find it useful to have access to practical information during their stay. And more than half (52%) would find it helpful to be able to consult a list of useful numbers during their trip.

Europeans have been affected by the events of the past winter and this spring, and particularly by events in North Africa and the Middle East. Perceived risks of a terrorist attack and risks of social unrest influencing Europeans’ choice of destination have increased by 5 percentage points and 10 percentage points respectively compared to 2010.

The economic crisis has accentuated the adoption of new types of behaviour, with holidays being planned further in advance and an increasing number being arranged independently.

The research found that 71% of Europeans prepare their holidays ahead of time, and the same number make their own arrangements by buying separate components. Europeans are increasingly inclined to arrange their own holidays, especially the French at 78%.

Two thirds (66%) of those polled plan to take a holiday this year despite the uncertain economic backdrop, up two points on last year and 2009. Europe is the preferred destination for 8 out of 10 Europeans, with 47% saying they will take domestic trips.

The average budget put aside for holidays of €2,145 has risen by 3% over 2010, with  the greatest rises seen in Italy (+€112), Belgium (+€280) and Germany (+€287). But Europeans continue to pay attention to their holiday spending with 81% considering their budget to be important or even essential in the choice of destination.