More Holiday Required
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Travel website petitions US government with postcards to give Americans the right to holiday
Online accommodation booking service Hotels.com is asking the US government to guarantee paid vacation days for all American citizens.
The Vacation Equality Project is based on the fact that the USA is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee any paid days off. Australia and Germany, on the other hand, offer 20 days and Brazil and France hand out 30 days annually. But while some companies in the US do guarantee a minimum number of paid days off, one in four Americans don’t receive any paid leave at all. That’s 28 million people, in total.
To combat this, Hotels.com has created a web film, directed by Tool's Brent Bonacorso, and is asking people to sign a petition that is demanding a guaranteed minimum number of days. For each signature, the company will send a postcard to members of The House of Representatives, pressurising them to act. Hotels.com is aiming to have 100,000 signatures by 15 August 2014, the number required to force The White House to review the petition.
‘We are a strong believer in the power of vacation and we hope that the Vacation Equality Project will help increase awareness of this issue,’ said Johan Svanstrom, president of Hotels.com. ‘The goal of the movement is to make paid vacation part of the national conversation and eventually get the White House and Congress engaged.’
A worthy cause / Holiday isn’t a luxury, it’s essential. A survey in June, conducted by Gfk Group, found that 79% of Americans believe that vacation time positively affects their health and well-being, and 83% believe that it brings families closer together. Another, by Amex Small Business Monitor, found that holiday increases job satisfaction and productivity in the workplace. So it’s good for businesses, and it’s good for employees.
Pragmatic purpose / It’s also, obviously, a very good thing for Hotels.com too. If this petition can guarantee paid leave for the 28 million US citizens that don’t currently receive it, then that directly translates into more people booking holidays and hotels. And this is especially true for residents in America’s huge, expensive cities. The Community Service Society recently stated that the average minimum wage worker in New York can afford to take only about eight days off without pay before his or her savings are wiped out.
Purpose has been a core theme in the marketing world for a number of years, but what’s so interesting about this campaign is that the cause is directly aligned with Hotels.com’s business model. Yes, it’s worthwhile, but it also makes perfect sense for Hotels.com to be pursuing this particular cause. In that respect, it reminded us of other (perfectly aligned) campaigns, such as the Ben & Jerry’s Supporting Better Dairy initiative. For more on this, check out our Pragmatism of Purpose talk from late last year.
More opportunities / Interestingly, it’s not only holiday where the US falls way behind the rest of the world in basic rights. America is only one of four countries worldwide that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave – the others being Liberia, Suriname and Papua New Guinea. Is there an opportunity for a relevant brand to follow Hotels.com and petition for change here?
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