Time to Plan Your Spring Break Events


Spring Break events may last for four weeks, but most destinations have a two-week “sweet spot.” Hit the right one for a week each in four locales—Panama City, Daytona, South Padre, and Cancun— and you’ll get some good bang for your marketing buck.

Take a few days off next month and scout the venues, line up logistics, check out partners, and prepare the media, tents, trinkets, and trash. Here are the basics of spring break events:


A 100-foot by 100-foot patch of sand will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. The “hot” hotels or clubs charge a premium, while the smaller hotels and clubs are eager for the attention and may trade out for less.


Unlike beach space, you pay a nightclub for pure access. Clubs are crowded, so it’s more of a shared environment among “sponsors.” Access fees range from $2,500 to $20,000 (again, depending on the size and location of the venue) for the evening, and what you decide to do inside may cost more. For exclusive VIP areas and stage sponsorships, add another $5,000 to $10,000 per club. Tack on an additional $5,000-$15,000 for permits, $40 per hour per head for field staffers, and $2,000 in “petty” cash for bouncers, police, and hotel bellhops.


Choose your destinations wisely for spring break events so you don’t spread the marketing dollars too thin by trying to be at every Break locale. Some destinations are more Break-friendly than others; it’s your job to know which ones you can afford.

International destinations may be exotic, but doing business overseas can be difficult. Such non-U.S. venues as Cancun and Paradise Island inevitably involve extraordinary shipping costs and delay goods and materials through customs. If you select a destination in Mexico, for instance, don’t try to send premiums (or for that matter anything) made in China past customs. The Mexican officials have been known to value a $1 premium at $8, then compute the tariff on the “updated” valuation.

Get Prepped

Find out if permits are required. Contacts at hotels and clubs can give some information, but they can’t know all the laws. It’s best to call the local city hall or police department. In some destinations, jurisdiction is divided among different police departments so be sure to contact each. And make sure the venue you partner with has the proper security detail and insurance.

Power Hours

And remember, a Spring Break day is a bit shorter than the typical promotional day. Don’t start the events too early, as most breakers don’t get out of bed until noon-ish. The day ends around 5 p.m., with nighttime activities beginning around 9 p.m. The kids usually crash around 4 a.m. Start nocturnal activities around 10 p.m. and run them until 2 a.m. Most destinations have mega-nightclubs which (each) pull thousands of Breakers nightly, but consider events in smaller clubs as well. The big clubs get crowded and often inundated by multiple brands (Pepsi upstairs, Lipton downstairs, RightGuard by the bar).


Getting the name out there is what it’s all about, but do it tastefully, creatively, and with some wit, so students will welcome you. Banners should be four-color and large (three-foot by 20-foot banners have the best impact.) Floor decals are a good branding tool, but get dirty (read: invisible) quickly. Have replacements on hand. For signage on the beach, branded tents are tried and true, but for a totally different approach think about setting up a “hut.” Looks different, same size, less money, and wind-resistant (there’s nothing better than watching your competitor’s tent blow off the beach and get washed away). Branded fencing around the beach can also add some impressions.

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. Chief Marketing Officer, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.