. On My Agenda: Travel = Happiness | Northstar Meetings Group

On My Agenda: Travel = Happiness

To get out of the doldrums, let's all plan a trip – or several. There's strong evidence that it works.

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Survey Says: Travel = Happiness

Coronavirus & Meetings
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Americans are sad! We're less happy today than we've been in five decades, say those who calculate such things. I blame Covid-19, the pandemic that quashed our travel plans. To get out of the doldrums, let's all plan a trip — or several. There's strong evidence that it works.

Happiness researcher Michelle Gielan has been studying the connection between a positive mindset and business success for more than a decade. Fast fact: If you take 11 or more vacation days per year, you have a 30 percent higher chance of getting a promotion or raise over the next year. (So go!)

Gielan wondered if the correlation between travel and happiness would hold true during a pandemic. She got funding to find out through the Let's Go There coalition, a marketing push led by the U.S. Travel Association. The answer is a definitive yes. Fully 97 percent of us feel happier when we have a trip planned, according to the research, conducted in late August by the Institute for Applied Positive Research. More than 7 out of 10 believe a future trip on their calendars would give them a greater sense of control amidst so much uncertainty.

Travel Is an Act of Patriotism

Travel does more than benefit your psyche: It feeds families. "Every hotel room booked or restaurant table reserved means people in those communities are actually getting back to work," says Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. "It's a great modern-day act of patriotism."

Nationwide, about one-third of travel-supported jobs have been lost to date. On a larger scale, the recovery of the mammoth hospitality business, which helps employ an estimated 1 in 10 Americans, is vital to the U.S. economy.

But there's reason for optimism: "Fortunately, travel has been one of the most resilient sectors of the economy," Beteta notes. "Dreaming and planning your next trip is one of the most powerful things you can do — it will improve your health and the health of communities across the nation. They're waiting. They look forward to receiving you very soon."

Be a Safe, Rule-Abiding Traveler

The now-infamous Biogen conference in Boston this past February taught us an early lesson about this fast-spreading virus. From one ill attendee, 99 people were subsequently infected – or so we thought. New research finds that the meeting, in fact, led to roughly 20,000 cases of Covid-19 in four Massachusetts counties by early May.

We can't let that happen again — and that's on all of us. "We're firm believers that safety is a shared responsibility," Michael Dominguez, CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International, said during a recent webcast. The hospitality industry is doing everything possible to create safer environments for guests, he added, "but the people who are traveling have a responsibility to actually adhere to the policies we are trying to put in place to protect them. That's an important message that we've been learning as we've gone through this process."

I’m thinking the learning process for suppliers involves telling guests — all day long — to wear masks (over your mouth and nose!) and stay at least six feet apart. These basic safety measures are science-based, not a matter of opinion. Our full cooperation is vital to the industry’s recovery. It’s the only way we can travel — and be happy — once again.

How are you coping? How can we help? Please let me know.