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18 Sep, 2012

U.S. Hotel Group Plays “Happiness” Card to Market Weekend Breaks


MCLEAN, Va.- September 13, 2012-(BUSINESS WIRE)–A national survey* released today by Hampton Hotels uncovered that one in three Americans (33 percent) claims they are a “completely different person” on the weekends than they are during the week.

The survey, which delves into consumers’ weekend mindset, shows that more positive, outgoing and friendly personality traits emerge for most Americans during the weekend. Respondents report that they tend to be more impulsive (53 percent), more imaginative (46 percent), more agreeable (45 percent) and more creative (44 percent) on Saturdays and Sundays. They are also likely to be less organized (34 percent), less neurotic (34 percent) and less competitive (23 percent) than their weekday personas.

“The weekend is a significant cultural norm that actually doesn’t change who we are, but allows us the freedom and flexibility to take part in activities that elicit these positive emotional reactions,” said Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist, happiness expert at UC Berkeley and author of Raising Happiness. “The trick is to learn how to foster and take advantage of the happiness effects that can occur during the weekend. There are also important strategies we can employ to prolong the happiness we experience over the weekend.”

Hampton partnered with Dr. Carter to gain a greater understanding of the factors that make Americans feel happier on the weekend. Dr. Carter identified three key reasons why most people’s happiness peaks on the weekend, all of which are consistent with the findings in the study:

1. Resting and recharging: Being able to step away from work allows consumers to de-stress, recharge and rejuvenate. The survey showed that stress levels steadily decline as the work week progresses, with only eight percent of respondents saying they are stressed on Saturday and most saying they are stressed on Monday (32 percent).

2. Exploring passions and new experiences: Having free time allows people to pursue their interests and do something they are passionate about on their own schedule, such as traveling, trying new restaurants or gardening. Moreover, Americans are more able to “live in the moment” over the weekend, a mindset which research shows fosters feelings of contentment and happiness. Approximately three out of four respondents (74 percent) said they are more likely to do something spontaneous on the weekend than during the week.

3. Emphasis on friends and family: Being able to choose who you spend your time with has a positive impact. It’s no surprise the majority of respondents (85 percent) prefer to spend their weekends with some combination of their closest friends and family. According to Dr. Carter, this is likely the reason that people’s happiness and life satisfaction peaks during the weekend — research consistently shows that the world’s happiest people tend to spend more time with their friends and family.

To help maximize the positive emotional response that the weekend brings for most Americans, Hampton worked with Dr. Carter to identify three simple tips to both get the biggest happiness results and to prolong the positive effects of the weekend:

1. Take a break! People often push work and chores to the weekend, but if possible this time should be dedicated to rest, relaxation and doing the things you enjoy most. If you have vacation time, consider spreading it out to take several three-day mini-vacations versus one extended vacation. We human beings are most productive — and happiest — when we “pulse” our activities, working hard and then resting and rejuvenating ourselves.

2. Prepare for Monday, on Friday: Although stress levels are lowest on Saturdays and highest on Mondays, many people begin to feel more anxious and stressed at the end of the weekend. To reduce “SNA” or “Sunday Night Anxiety,” take the time on Friday morning to prepare for the following workweek. Simply scheduling important tasks can significantly reduce worry, allowing you to fully enjoy your time off.

3. Give yourself something to look forward to: Not everyone recognizes the advantage that planning ahead can have on happiness. Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents report that they typically plan their weekends one week in advance or less, meaning these people miss out on the benefits that come from anticipating something positive in the future. By striking a balance of planning something you love for the weekend and allowing time for spontaneity, you can maximize the positive emotions that come from anticipation.

“Because weekends are a special, cherished time for our guests to spend with friends, families and loved ones, we emphasize creating memorable moments and carrying out meaningful gestures that allow our guests to focus on enjoying their stay,” said Judy Christa-Cathey, vice president of marketing for Hampton Hotels. “Our company culture is built on sharing positivity – it’s something we call Hamptonality – and we take pride that our guests can experience it on the weekends and any other day they stay with us.”

To celebrate the weekend and to see real guest “Hamptonality Moments,” visit Hampton’s Facebook community at www.Facebook.com/Hampton or use the Twitter hashtag #HamptonalityMoments. Over the next month, every visitor who watches and shares a Hamptonality Moments video with their friends will earn 500 Hilton HHonors points.**

Additional findings from the Hampton “Weekend State of Mind” survey include the following:

  • Traveling trends: More than half (55 percent) of respondents said they are most likely to travel on the weekends, followed closely by activities such as eating out every single meal (29 percent) and going dancing (16 percent).
  • Parenting takes a toll: Americans with children are more likely to feel exhausted during their weekend, with 15 percent of parents saying they are exhausted during the weekend compared to only 11 percent of those without children. Additionally, parents are more likely to feel anxious at the beginning of their weekend than those without children (25 percent versus 18 percent).
  • Geography factors into perception of weekend: People located in the Midwest and South are more likely to describe their weekends as “exciting” (27 percent and 26 percent, respectively) than those in the Northeast and West (14 percent and 13 percent, respectively).
  • Young adults think they’re more fun: The younger you are, the more fun you think you are during the weekend. Seventy-one percent of 25-34 year olds say that they are more fun to be around on the weekend, compared with 60 percent of 35-44 year olds, 57 percent of 45-54 year olds, 46 percent of 55-64 year olds and only 26 percent of 65+.
  • Weekend guilty pleasures: Twice as many women as men said their favorite guilty pleasure was not getting out of their pajamas (15 percent versus seven percent). Men, on the other hand, said staying out late topped their weekend guilty pleasures (21 percent versus nine percent).
  • Sing for the weekend: The top five songs that trigger Americans to think about the weekend are “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” by Lionel Richie (19 percent), “I Gotta Feelin,’” by the Black Eyed Peas (17 percent), “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” by Alan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett (15 percent), “Working for the Weekend,” by Loverboy (13 percent) and “Party Rock Anthem,” by LMFAO (nine percent).

To view all of this survey’s data in an infographic, please visit http://news.hampton.com/weekendstateofmind.