Rewards for reconnecting while disconnecting

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(SWEEPS FEED)- Although staying digitally connected while on vacation is a norm to many of us, there are now a growing number of destinations that actually reward you to turn off and turn in your digital devices.

Laurette Veres loves to get away to a resort and spa where she unplugs from it all and gets rewarded for it.

“They offered a detox promotion where it was $200 towards the spa if you agree to give them your cellphone, your iPad, your laptop, and not pick it up until you leave,” Veres said.

She happily handed them over. The resort is one of many offering up rewards in exchange for you disconnecting from your device. Some require it for days, others only want a few hours.

“What they’re starting to do is give people incentives to give away their phones. If they give up their phone, they might get things like discounts at the hotel. they could get freebies like free snorkel lessons, spa treatments,” said Anne Banas with Smarter Travel.

The offers are coming from small, independent resorts and big hotel chains. Banas believes the hotels have realized we want to let go in more ways than one.

“Even though we’re addicted to our phones, deep down inside we really want to let them go and truly embrace our vacations,” Banas said.

Travel experts say resorts realize you’re not getting the experience you’ve paid for and they aim to change that.

“A lot of resorts are realizing if you have a lot of people on their phones, receiving text messages, technology beeping, people talking, then you take away from that experience,” said Professor Ulrike Gretzel with the Travel and Tourism Research Association.

Gretzel explains by disconnecting, you’re actually reconnecting, “if you think about travel, it’s about encounters, but how are you going to have encounters if you’re on your phone.  You’re not talking to the people anymore. The local people, you don’t need to ask questions anymore, you can just ask Google. So that takes away from that essence of travel.”

Laurette says being unplugged and being rewarded for it is really the best of both worlds, “it makes the vacation even better.”

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