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Old 10-29-2008,   #1
Tim
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Spring Break- A dying tradition

I read an article yesterday that said South Padre Island gets the most Spring Breakers in the U.S., 24% while Panama City gets the next with 22%. The rest are going to places like Cancun.

Since we are getting the biggest share of the market and yet, the numbers are dwindling, it tells me Spring Break is a dying tradition.

The same article said fewer kids would be traveling for Spring Break this coming year and would spend less money.

I hope the island treats these kids well.
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Old 10-29-2008,   #2
rnpjr
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Re: Spring Break

Tim,

Interesting figures since I thought Panama was doing better than we were. I think what has happened is that there is more widespread competition. Kid's are going skiing, cruise ships, Vegas, beach resorts throughout Mexico, like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and others. However, I do think as a general rule springbreak as we know it might be a dying "sport". To many other fun things to do.

Bob Pinkerton Jr.
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Old 10-29-2008,   #3
Tim
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Re: Spring Break

I've heard several categories of tourists suggested that might replace it.

a. Birders since March is apparently a prime time for birding in the Valley

b. Families with younger kids who also travel on Spring Break (try to get into see NASA in Houston at that time of year.....lines all the way down rows of the parking lots).

c. Extended stay Winter Texans


Taken altogether, that is a sizable piece of the Spring Break business.
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Old 10-29-2008,   #4
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Re: Spring Break

Tim,

I think families with young kids are a prime target. We have started to get some of those who say they met or where here during their springrbreak and they were coming back to visit for "old times" sake.

Birders are a good group to go after, but they don't mix well with springbreakers. Winter Texans have shown an interest in extending through March if springbreak was not here. I would like them to extend except for a couple of minor problems. They don't pay hotel/motel tax and the rate is low. But, we could cultivate the rate over time, and we could consider doing something about the tax. Just some thoughts.

Bob Pinkerton Jr.
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Old 10-29-2008,   #5
Tim
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Re: Spring Break

As to Winter Texans, they are changin'.

I talked to several last year who said they would stay through March if it were not for Spring Break. They also said they understand it is a peak period for the hotels and condos and would not mind paying SOME more for that month. They were not inclined to pay double and triple.

If that higher rate were negotiated up front for the month of March, it could work.
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Old 10-30-2008,   #6
JasonYetter
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Re: Spring Break

Spring Break has declined so that it is no longer an "all island" event. It is obviously still a big plus for the Radisson, Louies, Inertia Tours, Island Services, Ben's Liquors and a few others. BUT while these few prosper, all the other businesses and rentals are virtually "out-of-business" because SB drives away 90% of our traditional guests.

It is financially imprudent for the Town and the CVB to "invest" in SB, because the long term overall impact to the Island is negative. The few businesses that make big money on SB, should not be subsidized at the expense of the majority of businesses and residents that would realize more profits if SB didn't exist.

Our traditional revenue generating visitors avoid the entire month of March like the SARS plague.
  • Mexican nationals
  • Families with children
  • Winter texans
Spring Break died long ago,
and now its time to get rid of the MTV and Girls Gone Wild image,
so that the whole island will benefit.
.
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Old 10-30-2008,   #7
sandyfeet
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

When you can find me a Winter Texan group willing to pay $300/night for my condo in March, I will be convinced that spring break is no longer necessary to my business model. (Okay, even just $200/night, but throw in April and May as well.)

In the meantime, spring break is hugely important to me -- and to my ability to collect hotel/motel taxes for the town.

I doubt I am alone here.
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Old 10-30-2008,   #8
rnpjr
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

Jason,

Mexican Nationals are not going to come during March, because they have their spring vacations during Easter, and the two weeks following Easter. As I said in an earlier posting, families are beginning to come, and that is a market we should work on, but those are the younger families, with young kids. Ironically, in many cases, they are relatively newly married, and were past springbreakers. I have long said that we should treat springbreakers good if they are going to be here, becasue they are the future travelers and buyers of real estate. It's kind of hard to imagine they ever grow up and actually become responsible, but they do. We all did.

Some Winter Texans already stay for a while longer than what they used to, but as Sandy Feet said, the rate is not there, and they don't pay hotel/motel tax. Nevertheless, I do think the WT market will improve with time. In the meantime, springbreakers, if they come should be treated properly as long as they repect our laws. If they don't they should pay the price.

One good thing that is definitely happening, and that is the valley crowd is not coming as it used to. That is a positive step. One more comment on Jason's post, you would be surprised how many businesses do good from springbreak. All of the hotels, many condo projects, all of the convenience stores, Blue Marlin, all of the independent rental companies, yes the t-shirt shops and a good number of restaurants, just to name a few. That is a lot of sales tax, hotel/motel tax, and some liquor tax thrown in for good measure.

Bob Pinkerton Jr.
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Old 10-30-2008,   #9
jollyroger
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

I'd like to ban kegs on the beach and make a complete shift away from depending on these cyclical groups, where people are visiting daily for any number of reasons, we don't even know what they are in town for, they're just in town...
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Old 10-30-2008,   #10
Tim
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

Sandy, Your comment is downright selfish. Wouldn't you rather have every week of the year rented than just one at exorbitant prices?

Why are we building a Birding Center if we are not going to encourage birders at prime times of the migration season?

You would be surprised what the "new" Winter Texans and well heeled birders will pay. No one should be paying $300 a night for a room on SPI. It is not an area that warrants those prices. Let's get back to reality and steady business all year round.

Every professional study we have had says getting away from seasonal tourism is the key to a stable economy on the island. That change will benefit virtually every business who is interested in working 12 months a year.

At any rate, if the article I read is accurate, we don't have a decision to make. The kids, parent and economy have made it for us. Spring Break is passe'. We might limp through for a few more years, but it would be foolish to spend our scarce advertising dollars for that one week.
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Old 10-30-2008,   #11
mermaid66
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

Let me list how many business do NOT benefit from Spring Break and in fact, are hurt by it. Not only do Spring Breakers not patronize these businesses, but their staff does not show up because they don't want to fight the traffic, etc.

Real estate companies (Spring Breakers do not buy property and they drive off those who might)
Title Companies and Mortgage Brokers
Banks
Good quality restaurants
Good quality retail
Beauty shops (most close)
Spas
Local service shops (office supplies, graphics, mailing) because other businesses are closed or on skeleton staff
Many condos do not allow Spring Breakers and other renters do not come during that time, THUS costing owners income.

Plus, we suffer from the decadent image all year round. People see SPI as an "anything goes" kind of place that they don't want to visit.

It's time for us to grow up.
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Old 10-30-2008,   #12
sandyfeet
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim View Post
Sandy, Your comment is downright selfish. Wouldn't you rather have every week of the year rented than just one at exorbitant prices?
(Shrugging.) Sure. Call me selfish for wanting to keep my mortgage paid without bailout assistance. I'd love to rent it every night of the year, but it won't happen overnight and until it does, the mortgage needs to be paid all year round - not just when there are people in town.

Spring breakers are lining up (already) to pay it. So who is the one who is out of touch with reality?
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Old 10-30-2008,   #13
sunclay
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

I think there can be a balance. Think of Spring break as the frosting on the cake. A lot of People consider this the best part. Others hate the frosting....too sweet. That is what is going on here. Spring break brings a lot of business to the island. Good and Bad. I think as we improve the island for the other visitors, we are going to see more than Spring Breakers coming.

My parents stay through spring break. They have always said that the spring breakers are very polite young people. More condos are saying no spring breakers. This will keep more of the Winter Texans and the Birders on the Island longer. I hope this will keep an happy balance between the different groups of people.

~melissa
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Old 10-30-2008,   #14
Tim
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

Sandy, You may have your groupies to rent your place, but will the numbers continue to support it for the overall island economy?

You are taking a really short sighted view, but................that's what's kept us down all these years and if people like Sandy Feet continue to get their way, the business community will just disappear in favor of bay to beach high rise condos on that property. You're playing right into their game in your naivity.

Shrug..........
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Old 10-30-2008,   #15
lance
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Re: Spring Break- A dying tradition

South Padre Island is controlled by people who can no longer afford to live there hanging onto things like Spring Break and holding back the rest of the island and the rest of the residents.

Selfish doesn't begin to describe it. Desparation is more like it. They've been priced out of the picture, but they hang on not caring about anyone else.

In the meantime, foolish leaders listen to them and South Padre Island continues to drive down a dead end street stuck in time while the rest of the world passes them by economically.

Until smart residents and business owners stand up to the leaders and DEMAND different policies, nothing will change.
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