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Comments from Hotelbeds about Spring Break season

March 11, 2019 OTA News No Comments Email Email

1.How did Spring Break originate? How popular is it among Americans and what other nationalities also celebrate this season?

“Spring Break started back in the early 30s, when the Colgate College spring team began to travel to Fort Lauderdale for training – soon after, swimmers from all over the country started attending competitions all over Florida. By the 1950s, College students everywhere started heading south to spend the break close to the beach.”

“Spring Break became very popular after the release of Where the Boys Are, a hit book that was later transformed into a film sometime around the 60s – the movie was even a bigger hit and, after its release, thousands of students visited Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break and it became the capitol of Spring Break for years to come.”

“This season is celebrated by Americans all over – other nationalities are invited to participate in the festivities and attend the parties, but it is an American tradition nonetheless.”

2.What are the most booked dates for Spring Breakers?

“Most people tend to book their vacation for the month of March – primarily because this season’s travel heavily relies on the times each school gives students their Spring Break – the biggest overlap occurs during March, hence why it has the greatest number of bookings. Spring Break dates vary from the last week of February until the first week of April.”

3.How many people engage in Spring Break travel?

“Every year, approximately 1.5 million students engage in Spring Break travel – if you add the other individuals who also engage in Spring Break, which is primarily mostly travelers under the age of 35, the number can easily go into the 2 million.”

4.Is Spring Break vacationing just for students? Are high-end luxury travelers also participating?

“Not only students vacation during Spring Break – but they are truly the ones that add the greatest number of bookings during this period. We found that over 48% of hotel bookings made on our platform during this season were made for 3-4-star hotels and over 34% of bookings were made for hotels with a 2-3-star rating – both combined account for about 82% of all bookings during the month of March. As far as high-end luxury travelers go, our bookings show that 17% of travelers booked higher than a 4-star hotel – even though it wasn’t the biggest segment, it is still a pretty significant amount of bookings for luxury travel during the month – the lowest percentage of bookings went to hotels with less than a 2-star point rating, which accounted for less than 1% of the bookings.”

5.How much does it contribute to the travel space – is it the biggest travel event of the year?

“Spring Breakers contribute an approximate of $1 billion USD to the travel space every year.”

6.Do most Americans travel locally or internationally during this period?

“Most Americans do travel more locally than internationally – for this year’s Spring Break the most booked destinations were Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London, Miami, New Orleans, and Cancun, in descending order.”

7.How should hoteliers go about promoting their facilities to attract the greatest number of Spring Breakers? What about hotels that are based outside of the US in places like Mexico and the Caribbean?

“Offering attractive and competitive flash sale promotions and knowing which type of clients they want to target during the season will be crucial when developing the right strategy. If you think that considering Millennials are hotels’ biggest opportunity during this time, the offers should target this client group.”

8.Is the Spring Breaker market just commodified / highly price sensitive? And is it possible for a hotelier to get repeat bookings from Spring Breakers?

“Return bookings are more likely to come from the international travelers. Spring Breakers who are travelling outside their home country show a greater worldliness and frequency of travel. If they have a memorable experience at your hotel and/or destination, they are much more likely to come back again. There is also the power of word-of-mouth and of course nowadays the power of social media – where their friends have stayed and recommended influences the choices of Spring Breakers a lot.”

9.What are the best sales channels for a hotel to attract Spring Breakers: is it all about just having the cheapest price on the main OTA websites, or are there better ways to gain bookings cost-effectively?

“The OTA’s are a great way to convert travelers and especially drive bookings from national travelers. To attract a guest with a higher in-hotel spend and an increased likelihood for repeat business or recommending the hotel to friends and family, getting on sale with companies who focus on holidays – like STA Travel, LoveHolidays – will get this result. Of course, a wholesaler like Hotelbeds can ensure this happens because we have access to so many hard to reach booking channels, such as tour operators, retail travel agents, airline websites and even reward scheme bookings.”

10.Do most Spring Breakers look to book their stay near the beach during the season? How can hoteliers not near a beach destination attract more travelers to book their accommodation?

“Most Spring Breakers do look for destinations close to the beach, but that’s not the case for everyone. There’s a large percentage of travelers going into big cities or destinations close to the mountains – several others decide to travel internationally. Those not booking the typical beach resorts often tend to use a tour operator, in particular if they are going internationally, as they value the operator’s ability to put together a whole package. So if you are a hotel looking to attract such guests, think about making your hotel available to a wholesaler that has strong relationships with tour operators.”

11.What type of hotel accommodation do Spring Breakers typically look for when booking during the season?

“As mentioned before, most bookings during the period tend to fall within the 3-star average hotel rating, meaning people want to travel and be comfortable while doing so – a smaller percentage of travelers truly care about staying at a higher end hotel, but very few of those travelling during Spring Break are looking to book less than a 2-star hotel.”

12.How many nights do they typically book for?

“During Spring Break, most people typically book 2-3 nights. The vacation period is typically short, usually falling mostly during a weekend or a long weekend.”

13.When travelers book their Spring Break plans, do they travel alone, in family, or with friends?

“During Spring Break, most of the bookings are made by students and they typically travel with friends in small groups – but of course there are families travelling too and some students prefer to go just as a couple.”

14.Is it typical for travelers to book last minute accommodation and flights during Spring Break? How far in advance do people typically book?

“Since student Spring Breakers know well in advance when their Spring Break takes place, they tend to be able to book well in advance – nonetheless, travelers do still book last minute accommodation and flights – those who book last minute, tend to have to pay higher prices, as this is a popular travel season.”

15.How much do Spring Breakers spend in destination? What are some activities Spring Breakers typically engage in? How can a hotel or travel agent or other intermediary sell such Spring Break experiences?

“The average amount for a Millennial to spend on a Spring Break trip, according to some sources, doesn’t surpass the two thousand USD, taking into account flight, accommodation, and spending while in the destination. Hotels can attract more Spring Breakers by promoting well in advance the different points of interest they are most close to. For instance, if a hotel is located near a beach, then it should make an effort to advertise this and other benefits as much as possible.”

16.Fort Lauderdale is known as the ‘birth place’ of Spring Break – is this still a highly demanded destination for travelers during the season?

“While Fort Lauderdale is still a highly demanded destination for Spring Breakers during the season, it isn’t the most booked destination but still contributes significantly to the travel space during this high-booking season. It almost makes it into our top 10 for the year, taking the 12th place with only a tiny difference from number ten position.”

17.What other important factors are there that hoteliers or professional travel selling intermediaries should consider when marketing Spring Break vacations?

“Focus on the value the hotel has to offer its travelers during this period. Consider the end consumer the hotel wants to reach out to. For instance, if the hotelier is looking to attract young travelers, promoting the most exciting aspects of the hotel amenities – bars, pools, etc. – and exciting attractions at close proximity – beaches, clubs, other – will do a good job at attracting this type of traveler; whereas, if the hotel is looking to attract an older audience or families, promoting a relaxing vacation and focusing on comfort and proximity to kid friendly attractions, will do a better job at attracting this kind of clientele.”

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