Spring Break Sentiment is Shaky This Year

Spring Break is time for college kids and families to escape for a bit from the stresses of everyday life, but sentiment around travel is a bit shaky this year. With social listening and market research, we’re seeing some stress accompanying the planning process right now, thanks to the Coronavirus.

Those in the travel and tourism industry are taking note, of course. Being prepared to pivot as needed is important. So, brands are turning to agencies that are gathering key intel from their social listening tools! It’s time for those agencies to shine, if they’re in the know. If that doesn’t describe your organization, take a look to see what’s possible!

Trending Topics for Travel

When we explore market intelligence, we see some conversational clusters that make sense after a bit of exploration:

  • Spring Break travel
  • Education
  • Disney
  • Netflix
  • And, of course – the Coronavirus, which is capturing a good bit of the Spring Break Travel conversation:

Spring Break conversation in Quid

And how much travelers care about it really depends on which travelers you’re talking about! Let’s break it down a bit more with some market and consumer insight to show how these clusters play out.

Gen Z, Millennials and Moms

Who is talking about Spring Break travel, specifically? Demographics sourced using social analytics offers a good view of that:

Spring break travel demographics

The largest group is Gen Z, the under 24 crowd. And compared to the general population, when we apply our Gen Z theme to insight gathered, we see lots of telling info.

Gen Z Seeks to be Responsible

There are informational posts directing peers around where to go and whether not they should go. They’re not concerned with the virus, but rather with being fiscally responsible.

The overwhelming sentiment though is YOLOesque, saying, “yes, go for it – go now!” – with some helpful insight around where:

Gen Z spring break chatter

Millennials are the next most populous group talking about Spring Break. And applying a millennial theme to the insight, we see a different story emerge.

Millennials Watching Movies

The overarching conversation is about travel destination, but we see more talking about Spring Breaks of past than going. This makes sense, as the Millennial age range is . . . well, it’s aging!

The youngest Millennials are about to turn 24, which makes most of them college graduates who probably aren’t participating in Spring Break.

To follow that, there is a solid amount of associated conversation about Netflix documentaries. And there’s one in particular around a spring break documentary, which has been capturing lots of buzz:

Millennials will be watching Netflix during vacation

And then we see families.

Families Planning First

These folks are primarily talking about how to get the most out of their family time and dollars. They’re huge on planning activities ahead of their travel, particularly around scheduling activities for kids. Likely so that mom and dad can have a “spring break” too:

Families seeking safe activities to occupy kids

So, if we shift our focus toward the destinations, we can see differences there as well. And not only between Moms & Gen Z (we won’t add Millennials, as they’re staying home to watch Netflix), but year over year too!

Top Spring Break Destinations

So, where are travelers headed anyway – assuming they go? And what does this mean for brands?

When we look at last year’s conversation, we see Pensacola coming in as the top destination for Spring Break:

last year spring break conversation shows Pensacola as top spot

But that’s after viewing the full Spring Break season and we’re just at the beginning of it. So, let’s compare apples to apples:

comparing 2019 to 2020

Early last year (Jan 1 till now) shows Miami coming up as a top trending term – so early planners (in both years) were Miami obsessed.

Will the numbers end up supporting Pensacola? We’ll have to wait and see. Families may be skewing those numbers, of course, as a trip to the beach is more economical than Disney, which is also capturing lots of planning buzz right now:

family spring break conversation cluster

But all of this is tenuous as it hinges on how the Coronavirus spreads.

The Coronavirus Spring Break Spoilsport

The Coronavirus is getting just as much buzz as locations, unfortunately – and is likely to impact travel, particularly family cruises. But college kids headed to Miami are undeterred. And the events unfolding aren’t really dampening Spring Break sentiment overall:

general sentiment around spring break is positive

So why the doom and gloom, terming travel as “shaky,” if things are so positive right now? The Coronavirus conversation has been primarily focused on international travel, but it is starting to be felt in the US. And although there aren’t many tweets about how it’s impacting travel right now, at least not domestically in the U.S. – those tweets and posts that do mention it are pretty clear in their travel intent:

ready to cancel everything due to Coronavirus

It will be important for those in the industry to monitor these trends closely in the coming months. And having an accurate and transparent market and consumer intelligence partner at the ready to do it. Reach out and we’ll get you up and running ahead of this curve, so you’ll be ready for whatever heads your way!

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