Family road trips are memories never to be forgotten. Raised in a large Catholic family, one of seven kids – there are so many stories, fights, endless teasing and many rounds of car bingo that are forever etched into our souls. I remember the entire family filling into our station wagon like sardines and away we went for the adventure ahead. This past Sunday, as I was reading the New York Times, I was reminded of those memories as I read an article about the resurgence of road travel. Clifford Krauss wrote an interesting and insightful story that the great American road trip is back! I loved hearing this.
And, this is also good news for the US travel economy. According to AAA, gas is cheaper than it has been in 11 years and Americans drove a record 3.15 trillion miles last year that translates into more tourism dollars. Hotels, restaurants, theme parks and other destinations enjoyed the increase in spending. National parks saw a 16% increase in attendance last year while theme parks enjoyed a 2.5% increase. Even RV’s sales are at a record high.
Part of this can be explained because of the improving job market coupled with lower gas prices. But, who’s traveling? It’s not just retirees; there is an increase in Millennials taking to the road along with Boomer’s. Cross-generational travel is also on the rise as people are looking to create memories with family versus acquiring more stuff.
According to Business Insider, Americans work 1,836 hours per year – far more than the rest of the world yet we take far less vacation days. Over 40% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day last year. That seems crazy. Need some reasons why you should take your vacation days?
- You’re throwing money away. Unused time means leaving money on the table.
- You are hurting the economy. Sales, tax revenues and jobs are negatively impacted.
- You’re being less productive. According to CNN, taking a vacation “can increase performance by 80%.” Even crazier, another study shows that a whopping 91% of senior business leaders totally know that their employees are less productive when they don’t take time off (and that time off boosts workplace morale, retains employees and has health benefits).
- You are ruining your health.
- You are making yourself miserable and your personal life suffers.
- You are stifling your creativity.
- You’re ruining your chance at a promotion. Apparently, employees who didn’t use their vacation days (those who leave more than 11 days unused, specifically) were 6.5% less likely to get a raise or bonus than their holidaying colleagues.
- You see it as a luxury, when it’s a right and a necessity.
So, get out there on the open road and explore this great country of ours –go ahead and take an extended trip. Take your allotted vacation days and let me suggest getting yourselves to Chicago and taking Route 66 all the way to Santa Monica (who happens to be one of our clients) and enjoy all that the great American road trip has to offer!
And, if you’re a marketer reading this blog and need help promoting your destination or hotel/resort, we have lots of experience developing marketing programs that will put feet through your doors and heads in beds. Just reach out to Kim Moore at [email protected].
The New York Times, Road Trip Revival. Sunday, June 5th, 2016, Clifford Krauss
Business Insider/Travel, 8 Reasons Why Americans Should Take Their Vacation, July 3, 2015; Sophie-Claire Hoeller
CNN, Americans Taking Fewest Vacation Days in Four Decades, October 23, 2014, Chuck Thompson