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Technology often acts as both a facilitator and a tether, making life both more liberating and infuriating. It's easy to take time away from the office - and yet, the shackle of mobile computing makes it even harder to actually escape from the demands of the modern workplace.
One of the most comprehensive studies on the impact of Paid Time Off in the United States was released this week by the US Travel Association, which advocates increasing usage of time off as an economic impact engine for the travel industry.
The report was driven by Oxford Economics, the economic analysis arm based out of Oxford University, and has been rolled up into an advocacy push including the Travel Effect website.
Beyond the data that may impact organizational wellness via vacation days, there continues to be a marketing opportunity for travel brands seeking to boost bookings via untraditional means. Booking.com in some ways addresses this angle, by making staff understand how precious vacation days can be for its customers - and thus ensuring the best experience every time (see the Tnooz interview here).
The data from the report actually focuses quite a bit on the value of the commerce that unused Paid Time Off. Given that PTO is directly correlated with travel spend, this is a vital component for travel brands looking to liberate some pent up demand:
Broken down by industry, this is how the $67 million in total direct sales breaks down:
Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the US Travel Association:
Underutilized time off is a monstrous missed opportunity, not only for American workers and their families, but also for employers and the broader economy. Americans take great pride in their work ethic, and our country's prosperity is a testament to that.
We decided to explore why Americans understand the value of time off, continue to need it, yet squander so much of it. We seem to be wired to put the pedal to the metal, but there are also undeniable benefits to tapping the brakes.
Leaving just one day less on the table—whether to tackle a project at home or simply enjoy a long weekend—would mean $73 billion in output for the U.S. economy and lead to significant positive impacts for employees and businesses.
This is an opportunity for travel brands, suppliers and providers to align with specific companies that are seeking to encourage more staff to take advantage of available PTO days. By focusing on this segment, suppliers and corporate travel management companies can boost bookings and offer package discounts specifically tailored to employees.
Anecdotal evidence shows that this is happening to some degree; however, the number of vacation days left on the table remains stubbornly high and represents an opportunity for organic growth.
In fact, if only 1 extra day was enjoyed by those who have PTO, the country would see an additional 265 million travel days - resulting in $30 billion of direct travel impact.
As the report suggests, there is also a significant financial liability for companies that allow employees to accumulate PTO - upon exiting a company, the value of these days can leave companies with steep bills due to employees.
In fact, many of the respondents said they were "accumulating for the future" or "can get cash" as reasons for not using all available vacation days:
For more breakdown on the data, including demographic breakdown by male/female, government/private and company size, download the report here.
NB: Father/son image courtesy Shutterstock.