Two Minute Tips

Spring break, an economic powerhouse

February 2, 2011

Share this article:

Some students choose to go on adventure breaks like this group with Rustic Pathways.

If you’re sitting amid the “monster storm” reading this, it may seem surreal that we’re only a couple of weeks away from the start of the 2011 spring break season.

But it’s true.  According to this unofficial round-up of spring break dates by college or university, about half a million post-secondary students will be on break and presumably partying to one degree or another by the end of the month. Many more will take R & R in March. Economic impact studies are hard to come by but with a significant chunk of the nation’s 15 million-plus post-secondary students taking part in the annual ritual, it’s clearly an important spending driver (and spring break isn’t just for college students any more, more on that later.)

Just to give you an idea of the quirky stories out there: Cosmetic surgeons are getting in on the act, as this helpful press release notes, urging women to book breast augmentation to allow healing time before spring break. Meanwhile, dermatologists are warning of the danger of pre-vacation tanning salon visits. Does this mean an uptick in biz for spray tan companies, sellers of DIY tanning products and other beauty preparations?  What about hair extensions, hair removal, tattoos, permanent inked-on eyeliner and other beauty aids travelers think they need before hitting the beach or the slopes?  And what’s the male market for these traditionally female-oriented services?

More traditionally, look into business at travel and charter companies in your region, as well as adventure and service coordinators like RusticPathways. Don’t forget about ski resorts, dude ranches and academic or special-interest camps that may squeeze in extra annual business via spring break sessions.  You can approach these stories on the basis of students outbound from your area, especially if you’re in the northern geographical regions — which means that consumer-oriented pieces — like this ABC News report about the cost of spring break prep,  from doctor’s visits to manicures to Victorias’s Secret attire.  (Do campus area clinics and doctors really see a pre-vacation upswing in business? Great angle for a health care reporter.)

If, of course, your market is a traditional or emerging top spring break destination you already know the drill when it comes to the hospitality and tourism industries.  To distinguish your coverage a bit, take a look at some of the behind-the-scenes business activity – like spring break event promoters and  spring break marketing companies that work with hotels, resorts and even entire cities to lure the crowds.  (And what’s going on this year with cities which have tried to shun spring break business in favor of more sedate visitors; has toll of the Gulf oil spill and the economy caused them to reconsider?)

If any consumer goods makers – or lodging industry players – are headquartered near you, check into spring break sweepstakes they may be running –what’s the business rationale there?

And of course, look into spring break alternative/staycation promotions being used in your town to court students not traveling in their free time.  Who benefits on or near campus from school-bound students?

One last thought:  Increasingly, spring break is a key travel time for families of elementary, middle- and high-school students, too.  (Though some may find breaks curtailed this year due to snow days.)  So check into all of the marketing and business angles above vis a vis families too.   And look for unusual angles that may fuel spending:  One couple I know has an elementary-school aged daughter; because her parents have limited vacation, they can’t afford for both spouses to take time off every time the child has a lengthy break from school.  So this year, Dad is taking daughter on a winter-break trip while Mom is planning a mother-child getaway for the later Easter break.  It’s either that, or find and pay for child-care to span the breaks.  If you cover personal finance or consumer news, check into your region’s school calendars and find out what costs are generated for parents of young kids.

More Like This...

Localizing a St. Patrick’s Day in transition

The National Retail Federation (NRF) conducts an annual survey in advance of St. Patrick’s Day asking Americans how they plan to celebrate the holiday, and compiles the data into a

How are small businesses weathering covid-19?

Small businesses generate 99% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but dig deeper into those numbers and a more surprising picture emerges: Rural areas (10,000 or less population) count

Small Business Saturday is packed with local stories for business reporters. (Image by StockSnap via Pixabay, CCO Creative Commons)

Small Business Saturday story ideas

The day after Thanksgiving is an almost-official holiday devoted to spending money, primarily at large corporate-owned businesses. That doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. Small Business Saturday is

Two Minute Tips

Sign up now.
Get one Tuesday.

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism.

Subscribers also get access to the Tip archive.

Get Two Minute Tips For Business Journalism Delivered To Your Email Every Tuesday

Two Minute Tips

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism. Sign up now and get one Tuesday.

Our New Look
The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism is starting 2023 with a new look that we hope better illustrates our core mission to provide accurate and authoritative resources about business journalism, in order to help both reporters and news consumers understand the importance of business news and to demystify the sometimes arcane topics it covers.
Businesses, markets, and economies move in cycles – ups and downs – which is why our new logo contains a “candlestick” chart representing increases as well as downturns, and serves as a reminder that volatility is an unavoidable attribute of modern life. But it’s also possible to prepare for volatility by being well informed, and informing the general public to help level the information playing field is the primary goal of business journalism. The Reynolds Center is committed to supporting that goal, which is why the candlestick pattern in our logo merges directly into the name of our founding sponsor, Donald W. Reynolds.
Our new logo comes with a shorter name. Business is borderless, and understanding the global links in supply chains, trade, and flows of funds and people is essential to make sense of our fast-paced, globalized world. So we’re dropping the word “National” from our name and will aim to provide content that is applicable to business news globally.
We hope you like the new look. Best wishes for 2023!