Observed Holidays vs Observances – what’s the difference?

Valerie Williams
Content Marketing Manager

There are several public holidays and observances that happen every month around the globe, each influencing demand differently for businesses in various industries and locations. Data teams with insight into these events have a better understanding of market conditions, and the foresight needed to match their planning to local demand patterns.

In the United States, not all public federal holidays are celebrated, or observed, on the actual official date of the holiday. When this happens, it’s called an observed holiday – which ensures that federal employees will be able to enjoy a day off of work despite the actual holiday landing on a weekend day. 

For example, when ​​Independence Day (July 4) lands on a Saturday, it is observed on the Friday before. If it happens to land on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday (July 5).

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Examples of Federal Holidays in the US that businesses can use to more accurately forecast demand.

This rule generally applies to all federal holidays, meaning federal employees have the day off work.

Public holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Labor Day have a huge impact on business – but what about other public holidays that you might not be aware of? Don't wait until it's too late to update your strategies. Better understand the impact public holidays have on your business demand, so you can make the most of every opportunity. 

How does an Observed Holiday differ from an Observance? 

Simply put, observances are remembrance, awareness, and celebration days or events that are not normally days off work. These events are inherently different from public holidays, as they are commonly celebrated regionally, and not nationally. Observances are holidays such as Halloween or Earth Day. 

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Examples of observances in the United States that business can use to enhance demand forecasting accuracy

While observances in the US such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day don’t mean a day off, they do impact business demand across industries. Imagine the impact these events have not just within a single territory or even country, but globally–  each with their own regional observances you might not have insight into.

It’s important to track observances so you don’t miss any opportunity to update your staffing, inventory and pricing strategies to align with real-world demand.

Even school holidays impact business demand 

Students are the life of some businesses – understanding when they’re on break can be crucial to your planning. School holidays, such as summer school holidays in San Francisco, heavily influence occupancy rates for hotels and other accommodations near to school campuses. 

Using reliable global school holidays data enables your business to be prepared and to understand market trends better. You can use school holidays event data into your current forecasting models and improve accuracy

Public holidays, observances, and school holidays are just three of the 19 event categories we cover across 30k cities worldwide. In order to best prepare for peaks and dips in demand, you need insight into those impactful events happening near your business locations. Our team is happy to help you pinpoint the categories which have historically impacted your businesses. Speak to one of our experts today.