Over half of U.S. workers (54%) fail to use all of their paid time off. That adds up to workers losing some $66.4 billion in forfeited benefits. In fact, over the past four decades, U.S. workers have gone from enjoying an average of 20.3 vacation days a year, to taking just 16.2 days per year—nearly a full week less than in 1978, according to data compiled by ProjectTimeOff, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association.
Why is a travel association so worried about vacation time? Simple economics: The U.S. workforce’s failure to use vacation to just enjoy time off is costing the U.S. economy $236 billion in consumer spending, and an estimated 1.8 million travel and tourism jobs. Using just one more vacation day a year could impact the U.S. economy to the tune of $33 billion.
That’s why we are now seeing several marketing campaigns using vacation time as a key strategy.
Three Campaigns Urge Vacation Planning
If people take time to plan annual vacation days, the likelihood that people will use their paid time off greatly improves. Paid time off also increases a host of other benefits, including improved personal and work relationships; better physical health and well-being; improved outlook and mood; increased professional success, and better personal financial situations, reports ProjectTimeOff. These findings inform three current campaigns.
Ocean City, MD, has aired a vacation-themed effort featuring a peppy lifeguard for several years, but this year’s ad focuses on how we waste our paid time off on everything except having fun. The ad decries use of vacation days for an oil change, to renew a drivers license, to help the in-laws move… or (Oh, the horror!) to expire unused.
Elsewhere, online travel deal search site Booking.com has been running an ad with an on-her-last-nerve kindergarten teacher talking about how much she really needs her vacation: