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One in Four Employees Plans to Work During 2012 Holiday Vacation, According to Inspirato/Harris Survey of Major U.S. Cities

Holiday vacations usually mean lazy days spent lounging around a fire, eating big dinners with family and friends, and maybe even hitting the slopes or escaping to a secluded tropical beach. But for some it also includes responding to work emails, catching up on lingering projects, and keeping the boss at bay. According to a new survey of America’s 10 largest cities released by private vacation club Inspirato, one out of every four workers (25 percent) who will be taking a vacation this holiday season plans to work during his or her hard-earned time off.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the club, polled more than 2,500 adults in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and examined a variety of travel habits during the holiday season, defined by the survey as beginning around Thanksgiving and ending right after the new year.

When it comes to taking time off for the holidays, 41 percent of those polled say they will be taking vacation time (other than company holidays), 45 percent say they will not be taking any time off work, and 14 percent have not yet decided. Those with annual incomes of $75,000 or greater are more likely to take time off from work this holiday season than those making less than $75,000 (52 percent vs. 31 percent).

Of those taking a vacation, 25 percent do plan to work during their time off, 13 percent aren’t sure if they will work or not, and 62 percent do not plan to work.

How likely you are to work during your holiday vacation may depend on where you live. At 40 percent, Atlanta is home to the highest percentage of holiday vacationers who plan to work during their time off. Meanwhile, only 14 percent of Dallas-Ft. Worth employees planning to take vacation also plan to work during their holiday break.

Why do employees feel the need to keep working even during their time off? The most commonly reported reason is to avoid work piling up while out of the office, cited by 54 percent of adults in the largest U.S. cities who plan to work over their holiday vacations. But a surprising 27 percent seem to be choosing to work, citing they “don’t like being out of the loop” while away. Even more surprising, a quarter of all employees (25 percent) say they plan to work during their holiday break because they enjoy it, the third most popular reason. Only one in 10 (10 percent) says their boss requires it.

“As a busy entrepreneur and business owner, I can relate to those who find it challenging to disconnect from the office or are tempted to use the holiday lull to finally get lingering projects done,” said Brent Handler, co-founder and CEO of Inspirato. “But the holidays really should be a time to relax, reflect and reconnect with family and friends. If we can’t set aside work in favor of spending time with our loved ones during the holidays, when can we?”

Fortunately, not all adults in America’s top 10 cities who plan to work over their holiday vacations will be working full time. Ten percent expect to work “very little,” only rarely checking email and voicemail and not actively working on anything. Forty percent plan to work “some,” occasionally checking email or voicemail, and only working when necessary. More than a third (36 percent) expect to work a “moderate amount,” such as being available by email or phone and keeping projects moving, but not working full time. But 15 percent plan to work “a great deal,” including being available by email or phone always and actively working full time.

Employed men are more likely than employed women to report plans to work while on their holiday breaks (30 percent vs. 19 percent).

Percentage of Employees Working Over Their Holiday Vacations

1. Atlanta – 40%

2. San Francisco – 35%

3. Boston – 31%

4. Houston – 30%

5. Washington, D.C. – 26%

6. Los Angeles – 25%

7. New York City – 24%

8. Philadelphia – 21%

9. Chicago – 20%

10. Dallas-Ft. Worth – 14%

Ten-City Average – 25 %


This study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Inspirato between October 4-15, 2012 among 2,507 respondents 18 years or older in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available. Data tables can be found at:

About Inspirato

Designed specifically for a new generation of luxury consumers, Inspirato (In – spuh – rah – toh) offers the best of destination club consistency and service, together with unmatched value, flexibility and low-cost membership. Our members have access to an ever-growing portfolio of luxury vacation homes in the world's top destinations, including California, the Caribbean, Colorado, France, Hawaii, Italy, London, Mexico, New York City and more. By leasing vacation properties (rather than owning), Inspirato is able to keep membership fees low, offer up to 50 percent off market rates, and easily add homes and destinations as demand increases. Our innovative business model has led to rapid growth since our January 2011 launch, placing Inspirato at the forefront of the "luxury for less" movement. For more information, please visit

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

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