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STR: Weather dictates school-break calendars, shifts in hotel leisure demand

June 16, 2018 Hotel Trends No Comments Email Email

The 2018-19 School Break Report from STR shows notable shifts in school calendar dates and subsequent periods of high hotel leisure demand. Whether located in colder or warmer markets, schools follow distinct, weather-related calendar patterns. 

“The warmer the climate, the earlier school begins and ends,” said Chris Klauda, STR’s director of destination research. “In the warmer-weather districts, kids are starting their summer vacation in May and ending in August. For their colder counterparts to the north, students do not break until mid-to-late June; however, they remain on break until early September. For hoteliers, the ability to anticipate when and where the high leisure demand occurs is critical during the important summer vacation months.”

Key weather-related findings from the 2018-19 School Break Report include:

  • In New York City and Chicago, the two largest cold-weather public school districts in the country, summer vacation extends until after Labor Day.
  • For the two largest warm-weather public school districts, Los Angeles and Miami-Dade, summer break ends 14 August and 20 August, respectively.
  • This same pattern exists for college/university calendars. Two of the largest cold-weather universities (Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota) start classes after Labor Day, while two of the largest warm-weather universities (the University of Central Florida and Texas A&M University) start classes before Labor Day.
  • There are exceptions among larger schools with Penn State University and UCLA starting classes before and after Labor Day, respectively.

Additional findings from the 2018-19 School Break Report include:

  • Winter break extends into the first week of January. Two-thirds of all public school students will be on break during the first week of January 2019, compared with just under half in 2018.
  • The Presidents’ Day break has become the fourth-most important vacation period after Thanksgiving, Winter Break and Spring Break, with almost one-third of all public school students out of class the weekend ending on 18 February 2019. STR defines a break as four or more consecutive days out of school.
  • The start of the public school year ranges almost eight weeks, from 18 July to 10 September 2018.
  • The last day for public schools ranges almost seven weeks from 15 May to 28 June 2019.
  • College/university calendars show later start dates and earlier end dates compared with public school districts. Start dates range from 13 August to 1 October 2018. End dates range from 19 April to 15 June 2019.

“Sadly for the travel industry, the peak of summer vacation when 100% of public school students throughout the country are on vacation will last only three weeks (27 June through 17 July),” Klauda said. “That provides a much tighter window for hoteliers to capitalize on high-demand periods.”

First Day of School: July – September 2018
(red = public school districts; blue = colleges/universities)
Last Day of School: July – September 2019
(red = public school districts; blue = colleges/universities)
The School Break Report, a forward-looking tool utilized to plan for vacation hotel demand, includes information for 1,200 public school districts and more than 500 four-year universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Licenses can be purchased by contacting

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