It's a sad and stress-riddled fact that Americans are not using enough of their vacation days. Many leave more than ten vacation days 'on the table' even when there is no year-end payout or roll over into the next year. The problem isn't that people don't want to vacation, they do. Instead, there are a number of other factors that push people toward working harder, for longer hours, and taking as few days off per year as possible. Maybe they want to cash out their days at the end of the year, or maybe their boss has simply pressured everyone to 'show dedication' by not taking any time off.
But as a travel agent, dedication to your job means reminding people why we need vacations in the first place. In order to earn a living and follow your dream of bringing happiness to travelers, it's important to understand why fewer Americans are taking their vacation days and how to change their minds for their own health and happiness. Here are four approaches to help you remind your clients that they have earned those vacation days and have every right to enjoy them.
Much of the resistance to taking vacation days is associated with a fear of losing income, showing a lack of work dedication, or leaving teammates in the lurch back at work. This has led both to fewer vacation days spent and, when the days are used, vacations that tend to be very short in duration. Usually, a professional will take a Friday or Monday off to get a long weekend and you can use this as your foot in the door.
Even if your clients are only willing to take short vacations, they still have the option to really luxuriate during those days off. Encourage your clients to book a luxury hotel, take a few tours, or do something exciting and unusual any time they have some time off. In fact, they don't even need vacation days to enjoy a well-timed weekend getaway. And as a travel agent, you can promise they'll be rested and back in time for work.
Another reason people are vacationing less is a concern about expense or travel hassle. They don't want to spend three hours of their precious vacation time on a plane or a large portion of their 'fun' budget on travel. But that doesn't mean they can't still enjoy all the delights of a fully booked vacation.
The staycation trend celebrates enjoying your own home city, seeing the sights and finding activities that normally only visiting tourists enjoy. Embrace this and sell the idea to your clients that they don't have to travel to enjoy their weekends and vacation days. There are luxury hotels, attractions, museums, and seasonal events close to home that don't require a plane trip, car rental, or hours spent in transit.
Some people don't take their vacation days even when there's no financial benefit or roll over because they're afraid to leave work for long periods of time or seem undedicated to their job. But these professionals aren't being fair to themselves. Their PTO (paid time off) is part of their employment package, like health care and retirement contributions.
Your clients have every right to use their vacation, especially if they have more to lose than to gain by leaving it unused. Remind your clients that if they have time off that is going to expire, they might as well start taking long weekends or plan for an extravagant winter holiday just before it times out.
Finally, you can appeal to a reluctant client's sense of responsibility. While they may not want to take vacations for themselves, their romantic partners and children will wind up bearing the burden. When one person in the family refuses to take their vacation days, the entire family misses out. Whether it's date nights with their spouse or summer theme park trips for the little ones, remind your clients that their vacation days aren't just for them. They're to be spent with the ones they love. If they won't vacation on their own, they may be motivated to plan a vacation for their girlfriend, wife, husband, or little ones instead. And vacationing for a family is a great way to help a client justify spending a little time relaxing for their own benefit as well.
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