Need A Break?

Malaysia revealed as third most vacation-deprived country

By Tara Yean

Everyone needs a break now and then, especially when you’ve been postponing it long enough that it’s starting to take a toll on you.

Expedia released the key results of its 2017 Expedia Vacation Deprivation Study that looks at the vacation habits of more than 15,000 employees across 30 countries, revealing that Malaysia is the third most vacation-deprived country globally and second within Asia Pacific.

According to the study, 65% described themselves as very or somewhat vacation deprived, implying that Malaysians desperately need to reset their work-life balance. 52% of Malaysian employees reported that they had to cancel their vacation plans for work and only 37% took all their entitled leaves.

The main reasons for this are due to the budget or affordability issues (35%), the desire to save up vacation days for a longer holiday (31%) and the unavailability to get away from work (26%).

All around the world, vacation deprivation is on the rise, with 53% of full-time working adults globally feeling they need a break in 2017, which is an increase from 49% in 2016. However, when compared to the Americas and Europe, Asia Pacific is leading as the most vacation-deprived region and South Korea tops the list, with 81% of full-time working adults feeling vacation-deprived.

The report also mentioned that the industries that are known for tight deadlines and long working hours, such as the marketing and media (66%) as well as food and beverages (62%) industries ranked as the two most vacation-deprived industries globally.

Meanwhile, 35% of working Malaysians still check their work-related emails at least once during vacations but 72% believes that it is their right to take vacations without feeling guilty.

“As one of the most socially engaged markets in the world, it is not surprising that employees in Malaysia find it hard to detach themselves from work but this also evidently corroborates that Malaysians do not get to fully enjoy their vacation. Our report provides valuable implications to both Malaysian employees and employers, that quality time off is crucial for better productivity and performance as a critical part of work-life balance,” says Simon Fiquet, General Manager of Expedia Southeast Asia and India.

Additionally, 77% of the respondents agree that they are more relaxed after coming back from a vacation, while 53% becomes more productive and 49% are more focused on getting things done.

Other highlights of the study include:

  • Malaysians aged 18 to 34 years old are the most vacation deprived age group (71%)
  • 54% of Malaysian employees actually spend time at work dreaming about vacations while 65% of them plan their vacations.
  • The happiest moments when on vacation is travelling and having quality time with family, partner or friends (75%), exploring something new (73%) and experiencing different cultures and cuisines (69%).
  • Malaysians are most likely to take one day of extra vacation to enjoy alcohol (55%), followed by television (49%), and dessert (39%).
  • Certain countries that promote Muslin travel (Muslim-friendly hotels / facilities / packages / food choices) also influence consumers on making up their minds for travel destinations. Such countries include Tokyo. Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom).
  • Tip for travel: Always book your flights at least 30 days in advance since there will be a high probability to get better deals on Sundays.

Lavinia Rajaram, Regional Head of Communications for Expedia Asia states that Expedia has always been focused on trying to understand what the customers’ needs are and the types of holidays Malaysian like to take so the company does a lot of customisation to provide the right value to consumers.

Thanks to Expedia Innovation Lab (most recent one launched in Singapore), Expedia is able to study consumer behaviour when shopping, browsing the website, searches of travel destinations and traveling supplies from the facial reactions via sensors, able to detect changes in emotions. With that data, Expedia is able to customise their website accordingly to improve consumer browsing experience by better understanding customer needs.

“We’ve observed that Malaysian tend to travel domestically due to currency conversion and it’s becoming more extensive for them to travel overseas.  Those that are short on time and stuck on a tight budget tend to opt for ‘staycations’, just to take a break from work and enjoy the convenience during festive seasons,” she adds.

The same goes with Singaporeans, as they prefer to travel and explore new places within their own country. Additionally, Singaporeans also visit Johor quite often for its theme parks and shopping experience.

Apart from that, most travellers are also practicing the ‘bleisure’ (business+leisure) trend, combining their business trips with leisure. They tend to extend a day or two just to relax in the hotel or go shopping or even explore the area around the hotel.

“The study aims to inspire consumers, both the employers and employees, to think a little differently instead of forcing organisations to make changes in their company policies,” ends Lavinia.

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