Taken together, results of 3 new surveys of use of vacation time use by American workers tell an interesting story:
1. Americans took more vacation days in 2017 than in any other year since 2010.
Project Time Off found that although 52% of American workers failed to use at least some of their vacation time in 2017, the average number of vacation days they did take was 17.2, up from a low of 16.0 in 2014. On average, American employees earned 23.2 paid days off in 2017.
2. American workers on vacation now stay connected to their workplace more than ever before.
Robert Half found that 70% of workers aged 18-34 maintained some contact with their workplace while on vacation. On average, professionals surveyed said they plan to take only 9 vacation days in summer 2018. But responses varied by age, sex and city. Across ages and sexes, vacations of 6-10 days were most often cited. And of those who said they wouldn't totally disconnect, "once or twice a week" was the most popular check-in frequency. People working in Nashville, Dallas and Los Angeles were most likely to take no summer vacation, while those in Cleveland, Minneapolis, Denver, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City were most likely to say they won't check in at all while on vacation.
3. Significant numbers of workers say they enjoy their vacations more if they know things are going well at work.
In a survey of 1100+ American full-time workers aged 18-64 (49% Millennials, 40% GenX), project-management software provider Wrike found that of the 34% who said they intend to "work or be available to work" while on vacation, 36% of men and 26% of women included "enjoying vacation more if knowing things are going well at work" among their top 5 reasons for staying connected. (It was #1 reason for men.)
So, what are the takeaways for tourism destinations and businesses?
- Americans have begun taking more time off, leaving less vacation time unused. Good! Assuming they don't get fired for lack of ambition, these folks have the same amount of money to spend on travel that they would if they took no vacation, but they have more days off in which to spend it.
- While on vacation, large numbers of American workers stay connected with their workplaces in degrees ranging from an occasional call or e-mail to daily or hourly check-ins. And many of them enjoy their time off more if they're able to maintain enough contact to be able to know that everything's OK back at work. Make it easy for them to stay in touch, with wi-fi throughout your property or destination.
- Nashville, Dallas and Los Angeles aren't the best cities to geotarget with summer-vacation offerings. But weekend or long-weekend trips might be very attractive to these hard-working folks.
Links to the individual reports are in the Related Websites, below.