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National Plan for Vacation Day: 10 Tips

An unused vacation day? Who would think such a thing possible? Alas, in 2018, 55% of Americans had vacation days leftover. National Plan for Vacation Day, on January 28, seeks to fix this rather absurd problem. The point behind the initiative, launched by the U.S. Travel Association, is to get Americans traveling with their hard-earned vacation days.

So how can destinations get in on the action? Whether you’re a big destination or a tiny underdog, there are ways to stimulate interest in your city to attract some of those travel dollars. The time is there, you just need to help future visitors take the first step and book.

We have a few ideas for you, if you’re interested in promoting your destination to get part of the $1.1 trillion that Americans are spending on travel. That’s a big pie to slice up, so be sure to get your part. Ready to get creative?

1. Activate Local Tourism Partners for Vacation Day Planning

Ahead of National Plan for Vacation Day, contact your tourism industry partners in your area encouraging them to prepare a special deal or at least a promotion National Plan for Vacation Day. Treat this like the Black Friday of travel. The more people are reminded to book travel in your destination, the more likely they are to do it.

2. Target Consumers Who Plan Vacations Early

Those who plan their trips ahead of time use an average of 12 days of vacation to travel, compared to five days for non-planners. Appeal to these individuals by incentivizing booking well in advance on National Plan for Vacation Day. Highlight all that there is to do in your destination, suggesting actively how essential it is to plan a trip ahead of time, urging them to do it in your destination.

3. Create a Special “Plan for Vacation Day” Email Marketing Newsletter

Tap into emails with a newsletter dedicate to ideas for potential visitors to consider. “A long weekend in…” or “Three days in…” or “A romantic getaway in…” are all types of formulas to consider proposing for your destination. Lists still have power, so a thoughtful one, like “Five unknown places in…” or “Ten ways to save money in…,” will all be great additions to your newsletter. Get creative with it! If you’re having fun with your destination, readers will sense this, and hopefully they’ll be more inclined to join in on the fun.

4. Launch a Social Media Takeover

Spend the day with a one-day takeover of your destination’s social platforms, dedicating Instagram stories and tweets. Pre-plan and focus your posts around the theme of planning a vacation in your destination, making the whole day one giant visitor promotion. Encourage local businesses and attractions to hop on board. Have a specific tourism hashtag for your destination? This is the day to get it out there. If not, it’s time to create one!

5. Engage Community Partners

Stay local! Email your campaign, hashtag, and whatever else you want to promote National Plan for Vacation Day to local community partners and government officials. Encourage them to explore their own backyard. Staycations still require days off, so promote local exploration among who want to spend a few days away from the office without going very far.

6. Hit the Press

Fire up the typewriter – er, MacBook – and start brainstorming for an op-ed or thought leadership piece in the local paper or blog about the importance of taking a vacation. Put the focus on how traveling can help local businesses in a community while also benefiting the visitor in question. Emphasize that everybody wins while encouraging your residents to stop, take a break, and go somewhere. Anywhere! Just as long as it’s not to the office.

7. Call Upon Influencers

Local influencers might jump at the chance to help promote their hometowns while also, of course, promoting themselves. That’s their whole raison d’être! Team up with them in creative ways to drum up interest in your destination. Maybe you can even stage a competition with influencers in nearby towns to see who can attract the most attention to their hometown. Whether its through rivalry or some other innovative means, getting the social networks buzzing with your destination’s name along for the ride will be a surefire way to reach audiences.

8. Tap Local Celebrities

Is someone in your town well-known? Maybe it’s a big Hollywood star or just someone who managed to eat the most apple fritters at a local festival – tap into it! Have them do a short video about five reasons why people should book a vacation to your destination. Promote this video on social media, get the press talking, or even host an event with the celebrity to urge people to use their precious yet often-wasted vacation days by visiting your destination.

9. Prepare New “Vacation Day” Itineraries

It may take a bit of work, but preparing itineraries for short trips will take out much of the guess work that would otherwise hinder travelers. Suggest day-by-day itineraries with morning and afternoon activities, places to dine, and any events that might be worth considering. Link to any ticketing required and you’ll seduce travelers who may be hesitating to use up each vacation day. If it’s simple and clear and straightforward, visitors are more likely to start booking. Just make it easy for them to push that first domino.

10. Kickoff Giveaway and Contests

The point is to get people talking about your destination on National Plan for Vacation Day, right? In the lead-up, promote some sort of giveaway or contest that, while the value may be modest, can have a real impact. The possibilities are endless. Think along the lines of “Book today, be entered to win.” Everyone likes a little extra incentive to hit that “Buy” button online. (Be sure to follow legal guidelines for contests!)

Get to it so that, come January 28th, your destination will be the first thing future travelers search while planning to use up their precious vacation days!

Need some inspiration? At DCI, we’ve spent 60 years marketing places globally, working with the press to promote destinations near and far. If you want to discuss how to maximize coverage for your destination and get people booking – not just talking – contact Kayla Leska at [email protected] for more information and insight.

Written By

Kayla Leska

Kayla is Managing Director of DCI's Tourism Public Relations Division. She oversees communications strategy for DCI’s tourism clients and directs the firm’s tourism crisis and recovery communication efforts. Kayla leads publicity teams in the U.S. and Canada. She earned her BA in Public Relations at SUNY Oswego.

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