We’ve finally seen traces of spring, but the impact of spring break has been much more obvious.
When I see a sign stating Sold Out Saturday for waterpark passes at Maui Sands, I think jobs and tax revenues. I can’t complain either when I walk into Kalahari for an 8am meeting on a Monday, and crowds of people in their bathing suits surround me, from100% Sunday night occupancy. I still love to see the full parking lot at Great Wolf Lodge on my way into work.
Local hotel, retail and restaurant leaders are smart. They want to know when to expect guests, and perhaps even where they may be coming from. Scheduling, staffing and meeting guest expectations are priorities in the hospitality industry. So, our Welcome Center invests in collecting data about school calendars to help in these efforts.
For several years, we’ve hired interns to tabulate school start and end dates, plus extended week(s) or weekends for holiday,teacher programming, etc. breaks. We documented 534 school districts in Ohio, 117 in eastern Indiana, 201 in western Pennsylvania, and 576 school districts in southern Michigan. Perhaps you have even noticed, using the old marketing research method of looking at license plates, we have seen spring break families here in droves. Business has been solid beginning in February, with influx from New York and Ontario. Most Indiana schools had breaks in March. With a late Easter, April should be strong too, according to the info we collect and distribute to our hospitality partners.
This data also helps in planning marketing execution in targeted markets. Our research shows Mom is usually the family travel planner, so using this information, we direct our message to when her family is available. Same thing goes for our summer kick-off campaign timing. And in the late summer, Michigan and Ontario are our focus, since they return to school after Labor Day annually.
So, here’s to spring break — the closest thing we’ve had to spring other than ice cream stands re-opening!