How Going's Culture of Travel Boosts Retention and Business Growth

Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang

Aug 1, 2023

5 min read

With every single one of these unique experiences, our team members come back energized, excited, and full of new perspectives they share with our team and members.

Hi there! My name is Wendy, and I'm the Senior Manager of People Operations here at Going! While my role encompasses a ton of different "people-y" things, something that I'm very passionate about is fostering an inclusive, healthy, and productive culture. And while we love helping our members travel and experience the world, we know the best way for us to support them is to travel ourselves!

I joined the team during the pandemic. As you might imagine, no one was really taking vacations. While our team was taking PTO, it was mostly just staycations or short road trips. As pandemic-related restrictions began to lift and our team could travel the world again, it was up to our leadership team and me to encourage and empower our team to not just take their PTO but make the most of their PTO. That's why we offer Going memberships for our entire team. With exclusive access to incredible flight deals, our team can travel affordably and enrich their experiences during PTO. And with the recent launch of Going for Teams, you can now empower your team to take more meaningful vacations, encouraging personal growth, fostering creativity, and nurturing a stronger sense of camaraderie among team members.

As our team began taking advantage of more Going deals, our dedicated travel slack channel (which I believe every company should have!) became bustling. People were asking where to go for their next trip, seeking advice from each other, and posting about their latest adventures, giving us all a good dose of FOMO! People who may not usually cross paths with each other are now sharing stories and building stronger bonds through similar travel interests. Siloes were breaking down, and folks felt comfortable reaching out to people they may have never worked with before but have talked to them about their travels, resulting in stronger cross-functional working relationships, which has been great for our business. Excitement is infectious, and there was noticeably more excitement at work.

In 2022, the average amount of PTO taken at Going was 25 days - that's a whopping five weeks! So far, we're trending towards the same average in 2023, and we thrilled to see our team members go on different adventures! We've seen our team hike to the tippy top of the Bulgarian mountains, witness a Galapago tortoise on their habitat in Ecuador, and even photograph lions, rhinos, and cheetahs in South Africa (receipts below)! With every single one of these unique experiences, our team members come back energized, excited, and full of new perspectives they share with our team and members.

Now, I'm sure you've heard plenty about the benefits of taking vacations - decreased burnout, better work-life balance, increased life satisfaction, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle projects when you return - and while all of that is amazing, I want to talk about the benefits that maybe you haven't read so much about yet. You may wonder, how does a team of 77 take 25 days of PTO and still build and ship delightful features for our members? Well, the secret is in the preparation, and we've set up the right internal processes and ensured our team members commit to them. And you can too - below is what we expect from our team before they head out on their adventures:

Inform your Stakeholders:

  • Regularly update your manager, team, and key stakeholders on project progress and status before heading out on PTO.
  • Over-communication ensures everyone is on the same page and minimizes any potential gaps that may have been overlooked otherwise.

Cross-Train your Colleagues:

  • Cross-train colleagues to handle specific situations in your absence, reducing single points of failure within the business.
  • Cross-training also offers opportunities for junior employees' growth and development and aids in succession planning.

Thorough Project Documentation:

  • Update project trackers and create comprehensive coverage documents before going on vacation.
  • This level of documentation is invaluable, especially for remote companies relying on asynchronous work.

Seamless Detachment from Work:

  • The well-prepared documentation allows team members to detach from work during their PTO fully.
  • Except for true emergencies, team members can confidently disconnect, giving them a restful break they have earned and deserve.

This process empowers our team to take more vacations and ensures that our teams can support each other and encourage those vacations. We've reduced the stigma and guilt that comes along with using flexible PTO and still managed to show up for each other and our members. In 2022, we rebranded the company (formerly known as Scott's Cheap Flights), launched multiple campaigns and weekly newsletters, shipped features like Saved Filters, refreshed our emails, and so much more. In 2023, we've already established two new products (Going with Teams and Going with Points), partnered with KFC for the ultimate summer giveaway, launched a comprehensive bonus program, shipped new features…and we're just getting started!

I'm so proud of our team for embodying our work-smart, play-hard culture. It may seem counterintuitive to promote taking more vacations, but with the proper structure and procedures in place, it's a win-win situation for the business, our members, and our team. Don't believe me? Just consider our average monthly retention rate of 98%!

Ready to take your team’s PTO to new destinations? Sign up for Going for Teams now!

Published August 1, 2023

Last updated December 28, 2023

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