Spring Break is one of the largest and most anticipated events of the school year. It’s also a marketer’s dream—it’s one of the few instances where hundreds of thousands of college students flock to a handful of Spring Break destinations throughout the United States and Mexico. The students who travel to Spring Break are influencers back on campus and online, and this presents an incredible opportunity for brands to reach Gen-Zs via Spring Break marketing.

Formulating an effective branding strategy that breaks through the clutter of Spring Break can be challenging, but when done correctly, can result in a gaining the attention of the collegiate market. With 20+ years of Spring Break marketing experience, we have narrowed down the seven best branding moments.

Interior and Exterior Hotel Branding

As more and more brands join in on branding a Spring Break experience, it can be tough to break through the noise and make a memorable experience. One solution is the use of interior and exterior hotel branding. This allows your brand to be the very first thing that the students see when arriving. By incorporated your brand in every aspect of their trip, you increase the chance of a student recalling your brand long after Spring Break. Some of our favorite hotel branding opportunities include flags, elevator wraps, beach chairs, kabanas, and buses.

In-Room Branding and Product Placement

A student’s hotel room on Spring Break is their hideaway from the madness. This also makes it a great branding space as students will be more receptive to your brand with less outside factors competing for their attention. Ways to incorporate your brand into hotel rooms include key cards, linens, toiletries, mirror clings, beach bags, and hotel TV channel takeovers.

Daytime Beach & Pool

Hello Sunshine! The majority of a student’s Spring Break consists of daytime activities at the beach and pool. Although sunbathing on the beach for hours sounds like a dream, it is not enough to entertain energetic Millennials and Gen-Z students on Spring Break. Instead, they’ll be looking for activities to partake in such as interactive stage contests and games. Offering Spring Breakers brand performances, volleyball, or cornhole allows your brand to be apart of the action.

Additionally, these students want to be the envy of their friends back home. They’ll be capturing and posting to social media the whole time. Correctly branding items will allow for you to be featured in these moments. Better yet, if students are successfully entertained, they’ll likely include your activation into their plans for the week.

Beach Street Teams

Hosting back-to-back beach or pool parties can be expensive and repetitive. Instead of waiting for students to come to you, try guerilla marketing! This allows your brand to create a more personal connection with students. Have a team of brand representatives hit the beach with promo items or travel-sized product to distribute. Ensure that the promotional items are relevant to Spring Break (such as koozies or sunglasses), but most importantly, make sure you’re hired and trained the best brand reps for the job.

Nighttime Events, Concerts, and Parties

When the sun goes down and the beach clears out, students will be ready to party. Hosting a nighttime beach or pool concert is a tried and true way to keep your brand visible. Not only does it allow your brand to draw students in at night, but it also generates excitement during the day when they see the stage set-up in the daylight. Be sure to brand all elements of the stage as well as cups, glow sticks, and other party elements (you’ll be seeing them on social media if you’ve done a good job). If you’re in a location where weather can be a hit or miss, hosting an indoor party at one of the hotel clubs or banquet rooms is a safe bet.

Massive Sampling and Trial Initiatives

Allowing students to sample your product while on Spring Break is a great way to create brand fans. Remember to give out small, travel sized samples so students can bring them on a plane. Giving away samples during the first few days of Spring Break also allows you to gain student feedback.

Want more? Check out these blogs:

How can YMC help?

Whether you have the perfect campaign already conceptualized or you’re considering Spring Break marketing but have more questions, finding the right partner is key. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with consumers at Spring Break for two decades and would be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of college students flock to a handful of Spring Break destinations throughout the United States and Mexico. The students who travel to Spring Break are influencers back on campus and online, and this presents an incredible opportunity for brands to reach Gen-Zs via Spring Break marketing.

For decades, forward-thinking brands have identified Spring Break marketing as a unique and irreplaceable opportunity to drive awareness, acquisition, and conversion. Imagine having unfettered access to the most influential students at campuses across the country, and finding them all in one place at the same time. By establishing a presence at Spring Break, marketers are able to not only reach this key demographic, but also root their brands into the positive memories students create on their vacations.

Spring Break has grown up over the years. From its roots in the party atmosphere of the 90s, it’s transitioned into a sophisticated, multi-dimensional daytime and nighttime experience for these sought-after consumers. As a result, Spring Break marketing has also evolved. Successful brands have adapted by wrapping their brands around the Spring Break experience in an authentic manner, rather than trying to force Spring Break to conform to their brand.

Throughout March, companies like AXE and Victoria Secret Pink infiltrate Spring Break, sponsoring events and placing ads on everything from elevators to pillowcases. AXE built a custom cube structure that allowed consumers to freshen up during a hot day on the beach. This activation was smartly timed with the launch of their new line of face products. Victoria Secret Pink threw massive pink-colored pool parties at warm weather destination across the country, driving brand awareness and generating content.

spring-break-marketing

There’s a wide breadth of opportunities and channels available at Spring Break—your imagination (and budget) is the limit. How can you best reach spring breakers? Here are some options:

  • Daytime beach, pool, hotel/resort lobby, and ski events
  • In-room branding and product placement (shower curtains, pillow cases, etc.)
  • Interior and exterior hotel branding (signage, elevator wraps, pool vinyls, projections, branded hotel room items, lounge chairs, etc.)
  • Interactive stage contests
  • Sampling street teams roaming the beach, hotels/resorts, and nightlife areas
  • Celebrity- or influencer-fueled events like concerts on the beach or in nightclubs
  • Nighttime events, concerts, and parties

When deciding how to spend your marketing budget, consider that Spring Break offers the following:

  • Domestic and international destinations with 40,000–250,000 influential college students in attendance
  • National reach for your brand that allows you to build an experience in one location, instead of trying to have a presence across the country
  • Consumer mindsets that are relaxed, fun-loving, and eager to engage with new experiences—perfect for brands looking to drive authentic interactions
  • Beautiful backdrops of beaches, ski mountains, and resorts, providing a blank canvas for creative and unique brand activations
  • A scalable and efficient marketing engine that caters to brands across all consumer categories

One of the main questions brand marketers ask about Spring Break is, “What kind of KPIs can we affect and how successful will they be?” Fortunately, campaigns can be built to achieve a variety of different goals:

  • Awareness – expose hundreds of thousands of college students to your brand, products, services, and messages
  • Engagement – generate incredible interactions with hosted experiences, contests, sweepstakes, and social media content moments
  • Acquisition – grow your customer database, create a new consumer through sampling or trial, and drive downloads or usage of a mobile app, product, or service
  • Conversion – capture the attention of new consumers and convert them into repeat and loyal customers
  • Viral Spread – create an army of super fans and advocates who will spread your messages back on campus following their Spring Break vacation
  • Research – get real-time insights on product development, UX/UI, market feasibility, generational trends, and much more

At the end of the day, Spring Break marketing is one of the most incredible opportunities to reach valuable Gen-Z consumers at scale. Your success will be based largely on how you translate your brand into the Spring Break experience, and how prepared you are to execute a flawless campaign.

Want more? Check out these blogs:

How can YMC help?

Whether you have the perfect campaign already conceptualized or you’re considering Spring Break marketing but have more questions, finding the right partner is key. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with consumers at Spring Break for two decades and would be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you.