New ‘National Plan a Vacation Week’ Encourages Americans to Access a Professional Travel Agent and Plan Their Dream Vacation
It’s more important than ever to plan time away to rejuvenate. As the travel industry rebounds and travel agents return to importance, a new event has been registered – “National Plan a Vacation Week.” To occur annually the third week in March, this event is aimed at encouraging Americans to take vacations with the help of travel agents.
The inaugural “National Plan a Vacation Week” is scheduled for March 15-21, 2011.
This timing coincides with an important window when many Americans should be planning their summer and fall vacation plans. Travel industry planners wanted to reach Americans and invited travel expert Peter Greenberg Travel Network and his radio show in 420 cities to carry the message – “Get out there and see the world.” While several million consumers requested quality travel offers via email recently, ultimately, it is the valuable conversations, guidance and first-hand advice that agents are able to share with their clients before the trip starts. Furthermore, if a problem occurs, these agents are the go-to resource to make all things right. These agents know how to get the most value from these precious vacation dollars and have extra leverage dealing with suppliers on a daily basis.
The U.S. economy needs people to travel again. National Plan a Vacation Week aims to remind Americans that it is OK to take a vacation. Not only does leisure travel help make people more productive and healthy, it also fuels economic and job growth.
A 2006 Alertness Solutions study by former NASA scientists is stunning: “Among the findings is a dramatic 82 percent spike in performance among vacationers, showcasing the highest increase ever documented through objective testing. Even more relevant to corporate America is that the subjects continued to operate at an increased performance of nearly 25 percent even after returning from vacation.”
“More than 43 percent of Americans don’t even have plans to take a vacation this year because the country’s work ethic demands productivity to the point that it’s actually undermining itself,” said Roger Poulton of the study. “Ironically, our study definitively proves Americans would be more productive if they took their vacations.”
Plan a Vacation Week is particularly interested in promoting the role of travel agents – 100,000 strong in the U.S., many of which are self-employed or small businesses. Recent research indicates a return to travel agents, supported by younger consumers and those dissatisfied with the complexity, fragmentation and irrelevancy of online travel websites. According to the American Society of Travel Agents, 51% of all airline tickets, 87% of cruises, 81% of tours and packages, 45% of car rentals, and 47% of hotel stays are still sold by travel agents.
“National Plan a Vacation Week has the winning combination of professional travel agents working hand in hand with USTOA tour operators and vacation wholesalers, to provide the consumer with a well-deserved holiday. This is a winner!” cited Terry Dale, president of USTOA.
As the nation’s economy recovers, travel suppliers and destinations work to regain losses, average rates and volume. Many destinations are working to overcome perception issues sparked by fluctuating prices, reduced renovation and building investment, safety risks and other sources. What’s featured this year? New Zealand, Jamaica, Mexico, Hawaii, Orlando, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico. Italy is always a top scorer and ranked #1 in four categories including romance occasions, walking, culinary choices, and architecture according to the USTOA survey, whose 900+ travel industry membership serves 11 million travelers.
To support the inaugural National Plan a Vacation Week, VAX VacationAccess, a platform that links travel agents with quality vacation suppliers, has developed a program that gives travel agents the ability to create micro-websites populated with professional photography and video clips supplied by responsible travel and destination vacation providers, as well as entices consumers to work with travel agents.
Whether perusing the amazing destinations offered through VAX VacationAccess’ micro-sites, or finding their own path to relaxation, Americans are encouraged to help make “National Plan a Vacation Week” their annual reminder to take time for themselves and explore the world.