5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Vacation This Year

Palm Tree

1.      Because You Just Never Know

Not to be morbid but let’s face it, we don’t know when it will be “game over”. Bucket lists are fine but if all you do is fill it up and never redeem what’s in there, all that you have is a bucket full of wishes. If travel is in your proverbial bucket, pick a date and start making plans. There’s no time like the present!                

2.      You’ve Earned It

Chances are you’ve worked hard to get to where you’re at. But what is it worth if you don’t enjoy it? Here are some revealing stats: 86% of private industry employers provided paid vacation benefits in 2012. 1. And yet, studies indicate that 40-60% of employees with paid time off don’t use it all. Travel and vacations provide a lifetime of memories as well as many other benefits. Eligible time off represents earned assets that should be claimed just as you would with monetary benefits.

3.      Bargains Abound

Deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 paved the way for lower fares by allowing airlines to compete and establish their own routes. Adjusted for inflation, today’s cost of travel by air is only about 10% of what it was 60 years ago. Aircraft design has also improved providing greater performance, fuel efficiency, and overall carrying capacity, all of which translates into a lower cost per seat. You can go further and get there faster for much less money today than in the past.  

The weak economy of the past several years has resulted in an overall reduction in travel. This means that most businesses dependent upon travelers for their success are hungry for yours.  Shop around for bargains in everything from airfare and cruises to hotels. Chances are, you’ll find some real deals, especially if you can be flexible with your schedule or destination. Spontaneous travel on short notice can sometimes yield fantastic opportunities as vendors work to put feet in seats and heads in beds that might otherwise go vacant.   

4.    The Family Isn’t Getting Any Younger and Neither are You

Baby boomers take note:


In the year 2000, 97 million U.S. residents were over 45 years of age representing 27% of the total domestic population. By 2011, those numbers rose to 120 million residents representing 39% of the total U.S. population. 2.  We’re all getting older and the kids are too. It won’t get any easier to find the time as the children grow and their lives get busier. They’ll never be at this age again. Commit to at least one annual family vacation. Trust me, you won’t regret it.   

 5.      It’s Good for You (and Your Employer)

Common sense tells us that working too much contributes to burnout, lower job satisfaction, and ultimately, declining work quality. Studies have shown a direct relationship between overwork and health problems. Consider this: The risk of depression for women not taking vacations increases two to eight times and the risk of heart disease increases by 50%. Men don’t fare much better risking a 30% increased chance of death by heart attack by not taking vacations. 3. It’s enough to make you sick. Do something about it: Take a vacation.  Start planning it today.



1.        U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2.        U.S. Census Bureau

3.        John DeGraaf  documentary- Running out of Time

Skiing Means Fun – And BIG Business!

Family on Chair Lift

Revenue from skiing/snowboarding is big business. According to the National Ski Areas Association, direct spending at U.S. resorts in 2011-2012 was $5.83 billion.  And as the accompanying chart illustrates, visits during the 2011-2012 season were the lowest in ten years.

Colorado is widely regarded as offering some of the best skiing in the country with 30 areas to choose from throughout the western portion of the state, including Vail Mountain which boasts the largest acreage in North America.  But despite its popularity, Colorado ranks only 4th nationally in terms of the number of ski areas behind New York (50), Michigan (42), and Wisconsin (32).

Not surprisingly, skier visits are influenced in large part by the amount of snowfall. The 2011-2012 season suffered from drought conditions in many parts of the country and the impacts were reflected in the number of visits. Conditions improved modestly during the 2012-2013 season, though visits remained below the 10-year average of 57.8 million.

While weather is notoriously unpredictable, extremely wet conditions in the fall of this year, notably in Colorado, give rise to optimism for big snow in the coming season.  Favorable snow conditions and an improving economy translate into increased revenue not only for the resorts themselves, but also for lodging, restaurants, shops and a variety of others located in mountain communities whose businesses are largely dependent upon winter tourism.   


(in millions)
























































* Source: National Ski Areas Association

Top Foreign Travelers to USA and Why it Matters


During 2012 alone, 66.97 million foreign travelers came to the United States. Of these, 59.5 million or 89% came from twenty foreign countries. Below are the top 10 countries in order of rank and the percentage of change from the prior year.


CANADA CANADA 22,698,986 +6.4
MEXICO MEXICO 14,509,341 +7.5
JAPAN JAPAN 3,698,073 +13.8
GERMANY GERMANY  1,895,952  +2.9
BRAZIL BRAZIL  1,791,103  +18.8
CHINA CHINA (EXCL H.K.)  1,474,408  +35.3
FRANCE FRANCE  1,455,720  -3.2
SOUTH KOREA SOUTH KOREA  1,251,432  +9.3
U.S. Dept of Commerce



































Considering the impact that foreign travelers have on overall travel spending, successful marketers can utilize this information to help guide their geotargeting efforts in paid search marketing and other strategies. In addition, by recognizing the countries from which foreign clients originate, service providers are in a better position to accommodate the customs and unique cultural preferences of their guests.

For information on the top cities and states visited by foreign travelers, go to http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/outreachpages/download_data_table/2011_States_and_Cities.pdf

Top 10 Domestic Travel Destinations – Plus Others

According to the U.S. Travel Association forecast report, total domestic travel expenditures are expected to increase by $36.1 billion this year over last. So, where is everyone going?

Based on the Orbitz Insider Index, top U.S. destinations in order of popularity have historically been:

  1. Las Vegas, NV
  2. New York, NY
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Orlando, FL
  7. Honolulu, HI
  8. New Orleans, LA
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Miami, FL

Boston and Los Angeles also made Trip Advisor’s list in 2013.

Alternate Destinations

Those above are the most popular but not everyone wants to follow the crowd.  Looking for something different? Consider the following alternatives recommended for 2013 by Lonely Planet, who also recommends San Francisco and the Gulf Coast:

  •  Louisville, KY
  •  Fairbanks, AK
  •  San Juan Islands, WA
  •  Philadelphia, PA
  •  American Samoa (U.S. Territory)
  •  Eastern Sierra, CA
  •  Northern Maine
  •  Twin Cities, MN
  •  Verde Valley, AZ
  •  Glacier National Park, MT

Reproduced with permission of Lonely Planet. © Lonely Planet, 2013

For more information on these and other recommendations, visit them at www.lonelyplanet.com.  What are you waiting for? Start planning your next vacation now!


101 Marketing Charts and Graphs

Here is a a great slideshow with lots of charts and graphs.

100+ Marketing Charts and Graphs

Highlights from the Marketing Charts:

  • Inbound marketing focused companies generate leads at a 60% lower cost than companies who focus on outbound marketing
  • Out of companies who blog, 46% have attracted revenue through their blog
  • Out of companies who blog regularly, 90% of companies attracted customers through their blog if they post daily, but only 38% attracted for those who blog monthly
  • Blogging increases your Twitter reach by 75%
  • Websites with blogs get 55% more visitors
  • Facebook pages for US companies have 4,300 Facebook fans on average
  • 63% of businesses say blogging and social media generate leads at a lower cost of other marketing activities
Read more at the HobSpotBlog and view more presentations from HubSpot Internet Marketing.

Hoteliers plan on blogging and creating social profiles in 2010

HEBS 2010 Survey results with its 4th Benchmark Survey on Hotel Internet Marketing.

It is chock full of hotel industry data.  Two favorites:

  • 50% of respondents are planning on creating profiles on social networks in 2010
  • 37.9% are planning on adding a Blog

Blogs Get Links and Facebook Usage Stats

Josiah Mackenzie shared 8 social media stats we can actually use.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Organizations that blog get 97% more inbound links to their website, and 55% more website visitors (Hubspot research)
  • The average Facebook user spends 55 minutes per day on the site

I am not sure about those Facebook numbers (they are astonishing) but believe that blogging generates links… the blogosphere has its own circle of linking which is unavailable to people that don’t participate.  Blogs attract both backlinks and visitors.

Twitter and Blog Usage Stats for Big Companies

According to a study by the Society for New Communications Research with 2009 data:

  • 35% of Fortune 500 corporations had an active Twitter account as of 2009
  • Of the top 100 companies, 47% have an account
  • 22% of all Fortune 500 companies had a public corporate blog. 8 out of 10 of those linked directly to their Twitter account
  • Article also has stats for podcasting and video blogging

Drupal vs WordPress Usage

Two of the most popular content management systems on the internet today are WordPress and Drupal.  Blizzard is a big  fan of WordPress.

As of August 2010, according to BuiltWith, of the top million sites on the internet:

  • 10.68 % of websites use some version of  WordPress. Source
  • 1.07% use Drupal. Source

Food Reviews an Important Part of Travel Plans

A recent poll from Travelocity also showed that 75% of people consider food an important part of their travel plans.

An increasing number of travelers are looking to travel review sites for great tips from real travelers on where to find food that’s worth the trip.

HotelMarketing.com Source