Non-profit employees given bonus for using all vacation time

CEO of U.S. Travel Association talks Project: Time Off


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST:  Imagine getting paid extra for using all of your vacation time.  

That is exactly what the U.S. Travel Association is doing, offering a $500 bonus to every one of its staffers who uses up every single day of vacation.  It's working; 91 percent of its staff is cashing in on the deal. To Roger Dow, the CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.  

Roger, a great plan, but you know that it's based on self-interest. Because you're a travel organization, you pay your people to take every day of vacation, so they travel.  It's self-interest.  I'm being a little facetious here, but you get my point, Roger Dow, don't you?  


Stuart, the travel industry's $2.1 trillion, and our people taking their vacation is certainly not going to impact it one way or the other. The reason we do it is for greater productivity and loyalty.  

You mentioned 91 percent took us up on that offer.  The year before, 19 percent used all their vacation.  The result, we have been named one of the best places to work in Washington, D.C. by Washingtonian magazine, Washington Post, and our line to work here is long.  

So, it's really a productivity thing we did and getting those few people to take vacation certainly not at our bottom line.  

VARNEY:  So, if I'm running a different company, not a travel company...

DOW: Right.  

VARNEY:  ... if I'm running a different company, you think that if I give all my employees a big bonus if they take every single one of their vacation days, you think that's in my interests?  

DOW:  I definitely do.  

But you don't have to do that.  What is more important is to have a conversation, a culture that is positive of taking vacation.  Americans left 660 million days of unused vacation.  Since 2000, we have got front over 20 days of vacation as nation to now only taking 16.  

So, having that...

VARNEY:  Yes, but hold on a second.

DOW:  Yes.

VARNEY:  Look, I'm a recovering European.  OK?

DOW:  Yes.  

VARNEY:  The Europeans essentially I don't what essentially I don't want to say it, but they're lazy.  They really love their six full weeks of paid vacation each and every year.  They long to go on vacation.  

In America, we have got a work ethic.  We love to work.  We get out there and we win.  We're a competitive bunch of people.  We love it.  You want to make us all into Europeans?  

DOW:  Not at all.  

In fact, we have coined the name work martyrs.  Especially, we see it during millennials, is they think, by not taking time off, they're looking better.  And what happens, we find out they're looking more -- less organized.  The most important thing is, you have got to recharge your batteries.

Just as your grandmother said, an apple a day takes -- keeps the doctor away, recharging your batteries is so important, and it builds a great culture.  And we have got to have American companies.  I challenge them, talk to your people, get them to take their time off.  Otherwise, they're going to burn out.  

VARNEY:  Do you think?  Really?  

DOW:  I do.  

VARNEY:  I mean, what's wrong with someone who is really committed to the job, committed to the company?  They like it and they want to climb the food chain.  What's wrong with that?  

DOW:  I will match the commitment of the folks on our team to any organization.  They are so committed.  

When they come back, they're recharged.  They're doing a phenomenal job.  And we have been named as one of the four most productive organizations in the association market in Washington, D.C., among 2,000 associations.  So they love their jobs, but they do take their time off. And they both go together.  

VARNEY:  Look, Roger, I'm sorry.  I'm not giving you a hard time.  I'm just being a little facetious here.  

DOW:  I know you're not.  


DOW:  You're a fun guy.  You're always great, Stuart.  

VARNEY:  But I just can't imagine running a separate business and giving people money to take every single vacation day.  

I'm just not sure that's in that business' interests.  But I will take your word for it.  Don't burn out, but still compete like a good American.  

Roger Dow...

DOW:  You can take that to the bank, Stuart.



Good system you have got there.

DOW:  Thank you.  

VARNEY:  And thanks for joining us.  We appreciate it.  Thank you.  

DOW:  Thank you, sir.  


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