Last year, VTLO marked the end of summer by asking team members to share how time away from the office shaped their outlook. This year, I took the lead to interview some of my VTLO colleagues to find out what lessons they brought back from their summer getaways.
Labor Day is here, and if you haven’t taken all of your vacation days, you’ve got company. According to a Glassdoor survey, the average American only takes half of his or her earned vacation time, while 15 percent reported taking no vacation at all. Although some employees believe they miss too much when they are away from work, experts agree that people benefit from taking a vacation or staycation. In fact, when employees hit the reset button on their brains, it helps them recharge and can offer valuable new perspectives on their jobs.
I learned firsthand the value of acting on customer feedback. After filling out a satisfaction survey following a cruise in 2013, I was happy to see several of my comments addressed while on the new Norwegian Getaway this summer. I had made minor suggestions, such as the timing of the College Mixer for my son and the setup of the Atrium Lounge to make it more inviting for passengers. Seeing how much NCL values input from customers already has me thinking about my next cruise!
For Pat Andreoni, taking long weekends to make social plans is a double-edged sword. “These events are a lot of fun while they are happening, but they don’t always take you away from your daily work commitments,” said Pat. “I realized that if I really want a personal mental break, I need to be truly unavailable. I am looking forward to doing just that for two weeks at the end of September.”
Kristen Erickson spent a day riding ATVs through Yellowstone National Park during a trip to Wyoming. The experience was filled with twists and turns, including getting lost and nearly becoming stuck in the mud. “We forgot all about the challenges we faced along the way when we arrived at the top of Two Top Mountain to find breathtaking views of the park and the surrounding mountain ranges,” said Kristen. “This reminded me that what appear to be obstacles in the moment are really just stepping stones to bigger and better things.”
Richelle Feigin recounted how hitting turbulence while on a flight from Arizona to New Jersey turned into a light-bulb moment. “The plane was lifting and dropping to such extremes that I thought I would bounce out of my seat. Not being a huge fan of flying, I took some deep breaths and assured my kids that everything was fine,” said Richelle. “Then, I heard a baby giggling those belly laughs that can’t help but make you smile. Every time we hit a ‘bump,’ the baby giggled more and more. At that moment, I realized that sometimes I need to let go of worry and just enjoy the ride!”
Though it’s fleeting, summer is Cheryl Kaiden’s favorite season. To get the most out of the warm, sunny months this year, she scheduled a few long weekends off in addition to her summer vacation. Cheryl said, “It’s amazing how spending just a few, simple Fridays biking, hiking and relaxing on the beach made the season feel just a little longer and helped me recharge.”
Allen Putman took his 6- and 7-year-old nephews to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Having grown up in Daytona Beach, Allen had visited Disney many times but his nephews were visiting for the first time. “The best souvenir I took from this trip was the benefit of seeing the world through the eyes of a child who embraces the wonders of life and new experiences,” said Allen. “Being immersed in the Disney environment also reminded me of the importance of creativity in life and the strength and importance of effective brand management.”
Barbara Rosenbaum Singer and her husband recently stayed at the Revel Hotel in Atlantic City. This 2-year-old hotel is beautiful, modern and provided great service during their stay, but sometimes that’s not enough. “We came home to the announcement that Revel is closing on September 2,” said Barbara. “Unfortunately, even the most dedicated employees can’t make up for competition from other casinos. Before investing in any project—big or small—it’s important to do your homework and pay attention to all of the details.”
Leave a comment to let us know what vacation experience changed your perspective this summer.