Ten years in Chicago taught me that even though the outside temperature is 60 degrees, there is likely still a cold spell that we will have to endure before we finally get to spring.
Me: Oh wow, it’s 60 today
Source of Deception <—⁻ ⁻ ᵃʳᵉ ʰᵉʳᵉ
– Mylo (@myloreyes) March 8, 2021
False spring and second winter aside, we can safely say that after a year in lockdown, we are all dying to get out of our homes and party outside. Brands are equally looking forward to the real spring. The National Retail Federation predicts the highest growth in retail spending in 17 years in the coming months as more people are vaccinated and the economy picks up again.
Of course, with spring comes the spring break, but with only 9.9% of the total US population fully vaccinated, the idea of a COVID-19 spring break worries a lot. People share their concern that the spring break is turning into a super-spreading event, and some universities go so far as to pay students to stay during the break.
For many brands, the Spring Break 2021 is a good first look at what to expect and how to balance public safety against consumer expectations as the world tries to return to pre-COVID times. We used Sprout Social’s Advanced Listening to analyze over 205,000 messages on Twitter from February 10 to March 16 to figure out what brands need to know before they can go back to business.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Thanks in part to the introduction of the vaccine and warmer weather, states known as college spring break vacation destinations are quick to welcome tourists with open arms.
There’s a reason Tennessee is the most popular travel destination in the US: We’re open to business!
Look forward to welcoming spring break visitors and summer road tripers for the Tennessee experience.
– Governor Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 10, 2021
Texas and Florida, two states with lax COVID protocols, were the two most-mentioned states when talking about the spring break, with 3,559 and 4,596 mentions, respectively. In parts of Florida, bars are about halfway full, and Disney World’s four theme parks are fully booked for the spring break.
Young people celebrate like 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, FL as Spring Break begins again. In the Sunshine State, bars and restaurants can operate indoors at 50% capacity and outdoors at 100% capacity. Pic.twitter.com/eIvL8bKlIh
– NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 9, 2021
Florida is still leading the way in cases with # covid19 variants as we near the spring break. Disney World’s four theme parks are fully booked Monday through Thursday. Could turn into a busy spring break in central Florida. We talk about it all morning on @ MyNews13. pic.twitter.com/OiJ0eC3VXJ
– Rebecca Turco (@RebeccaTurcoTV) March 8, 2021
Talks over the spring break also picked up sharply on March 2, when the Texas governor announced he would reopen the state and lift the mask mandate.
I just announced that Texas is 100% OPEN.
I also ended the nationwide mask mandate.
– Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021
These reopening announcements, coupled with a survey that shows 34% of Americans plan to get out of town this spring, are music to the ears of the travel and hospitality industry. Booking service Hotels.com anticipated an increase in travel and launched its “revenge voyages” commercials before the spring break, while airline JetBlue launched its own spring-themed sales campaign.
Not so fast, spring breaker
Of course, not everyone is equally optimistic about spring break travel. With much of the US still trying to get the pandemic under control, many people are concerned that the rush to go back to the pre-COVID era will undo much of the progress we have already made. This is especially true in states like Maryland, where governors lifted their COVID restrictions ahead of the spring break travel boost.
Not Hogan lifting capacity constraints without prioritizing vaccines for retail / restaurant workers AND just before Maryland students, including University of Maryland students, go on spring break 🤒
– Alysa Conway (@ConwayAlysa) March 9, 2021
Others pointed out that COVID-19 variants such as. B. UK tribes continue to spread and the increase in parties in contract cases could lead to a further increase.
The spring break will take place from March 29th to April 2nd this year.
That gives us 22 days to make America the heck before millions go to beaches, resorts, amusement parks, and parties that are mostly mask-free.
In the meantime, the # COVID19 variants are spreading rapidly …
The burden of ⏰ looms. https://t.co/UVrP2vnJHo
– Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) March 7, 2021
While it is understandable that people and businesses would want to forget about the past year, public safety must remain a priority. Conversations about wearing masks, for example, led to the day Governor Abbott announced his decision to revoke the mask mandate in Texas. Unsurprisingly, this news was mostly negative (45% negative, 24% positive, 31% neutral). Some companies have explained why making this decision before traveling for the spring break is more harmful than helpful.
Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate is “selfish,” says Mike Nguyen, a San Antonio restaurant owner with cancer.
“Giving up the mask won’t help the economy, won’t help us open up. And many of us feel that he … is putting us in danger. “Pic.twitter.com/mP25QH8Pii
– CNN (@CNN) March 10, 2021
Better safe than sorry
Look: It’s hard not to feel like the country is finally going around the corner on this pandemic. But just because the end is in sight doesn’t mean we’ve crossed the finish line, and brands should proceed with caution until we’re clear. People are already concerned about how companies will treat the holidays after the spring break with St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Passover on the horizon.
Texas bars are open for both the spring break and St. Patrick’s Day
This is going to be a massive super spreader event
– Corvus Key (@ AdamFad84) March 3, 2021
To allay those fears, companies are taking simple steps like forcefully wearing masks wherever possible and reducing the number of visitors allowed at any given time. Some companies go one step further and only offer virtual visits and concerts for the time being.
Reading the room and considering customer feedback can help companies determine the best course of action when society returns to normal. People are really concerned about the long-lasting effects of travel and partying over the spring break. Rather than ignoring these concerns, consider how to address them directly and what steps your company can take to keep everyone safe.
Proceed with cautious optimism
After a year of canceled plans and disrupted travel, it’s only natural for people and businesses to strive to return to pre-pandemic times. But just because we’re starting to get this virus under control doesn’t mean we can get back to business as usual.
Businesses should continue to be aware of how their customers and local communities are feeling about the ongoing spring break. Listen to their concerns and evaluate how safe people feel as travel increases and states continue to open. How companies deal with the 2021 spring break gives consumers a preview of the future when the weather warms up and they start planning their summer vacation.
A reopening social strategy is of the utmost importance for any business as we are slowly beginning to transition out of quarantine life. In this article, learn how tools like social listening can influence your company’s reopening strategy to learn more about what you need for a post-COVID world.