Why We Pay for Our Employees’ Vacation
I always look forward to my Monday-morning meeting in Travelzoo’s offices (whichever of our 25 global offices I am in that week). It’s time set aside for the team to discuss what’s happening for the week ahead; invariably the chatter turns to who went where and who’s booking what; our staff is a passionate crew of travel enthusiasts. A trip to far-flung places like the Azores or China or somewhere with lots of sand and tropical drinks is just as common as a quick road trip up to Door County in Wisconsin, from our Chicago office.
Many of these trips are taken through our Travelzoo Experience program, which allows our employees to take the exact trips we negotiate for our members. Each year, employees receive an extra three days of paid vacation time and a $1,500 stipend to book a hotel stay, vacation package, cruise, or flight offer that we negotiate on behalf of our 28 million members worldwide. Since we introduced the program in 2009, I’m proud to say that our employees have taken 1,750 trips to destinations from Antarctica to New Zealand, totaling 5,250 extra vacation days, through the program.
This investment in our employees not only enhances our business but is a reminder that we feel it’s essential they take—and enjoy—their time off. A company that flourishes does so because it has fresh-thinking, open-minded employees with diverse perspectives leading the way.
Beyond the baseline benefits of vacation, this program helps employees gain a deeper knowledge of our offerings and what it means to be a Travelzoo member. On Experience trips, we end up meeting members who booked the same vacation we did. They tell us what they’ve loved about their trips and what we can do better. We feel a kinship with these members; every day it seems more photos fill my inbox of Travelzoo employees and members befriending each other in far-away places.
Finally, these trips not only make us better at our jobs and better able to serve our members, but also deeply enrich our personal lives. Many colleagues have celebrated special life events during their vacations, which then become personal milestones that enhance the Travelzoo employment journey. And while our employees and our members all may be spread across hemispheres, we have this common passion—a curiosity to experience the world—that connects us across the distance.
Michael Stitt is President of Travelzoo North America.