Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
April 8, 2024
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!

Every year in March and early April, thousands of young people descend on Florida beaches to soak up some sun, kick back with friends, and have a good time. But while the influx of revelers can be a boon to local businesses, some municipalities are pushing back against the mayhem. This year, Miami Beach famously announced its intention to “break up” with spring break (“It’s not us, it’s you”) – instituting a series of restrictive measures, from curfews to elevated parking fees, designed to temper the crowds.  

But what’s happening on the ground? How did this year’s spring break impact local businesses in key Florida destinations like Miami, Key West, Panama City Beach, and Daytona Beach? Which retail segments continued to benefit from the excitement – and who were the visitors driving foot traffic to their venues? 

Key Takeaways 

  • Despite Miami Beach’s intention to break up with spring break, fast-food restaurants, breakfast venues, and coffee shops all experienced significant March visit spikes in Florida spring break destination towns. 
  • Panama City saw the biggest March dining visit surges – but eateries in Miami, Key West, and Daytona Beach also experienced significant foot traffic increases.
  • In March, local Panama City resorts as well as crowd favorites like Starbucks, Dunkin’, Whataburger, and Chick-fil-A saw a larger-than-usual share of college students.  

QSR and Coffee Chains Reap Spring Break Rewards

Florida is home to the most-searched spring break destinations in the United States. And perhaps thanks to the influx of vacationers, location intelligence shows that Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) and Breakfast, Coffee, Bakeries, & Dessert Shops in Florida spring break hotspots enjoy significant annual visit boosts during March and early April.

The extent of the seasonal boost varies between CBSAs – and though this year’s traffic spikes were slightly lower than last year’s bumps, the two dining segments continued to benefit strongly from spring break-fueled visit bumps in 2024.

Visits to QSR & Fast-Food venues and Breakfast, Coffee, Bakeries, & Dessert Shops in Panama City – known as the spring break capital of the world – were up 57.6% and 56.9%, respectively, during the week of March 11th 2024, compared to an early January 2023 baseline. This represents a minor decline from the comparable period last year (the week of March 13th, 2023), when visits were up a respective 59.2% and 68.6%. 

QSR and coffee and breakfast chains in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Key West, and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach CBSAs also experienced significant visit spikes during the week of March 11th, 2024. Though the March foot traffic increases in these CBSAs were smaller than those seen in Panama City, they were nearly on par with the visit bumps seen in the comparable period of 2023.

College Students Drive Visits to Panama City Dining Chains

Who are the visitors driving this spring break dining activity? Drilling down into the data for leading Panama City QSR and coffee chains shows that college student influxes are likely a major contributing factor.

In July 2023 – during Panama City’s peak summer season – the captured markets of local Whataburger, Dunkin’, Starbucks, and Chick-fil-A locations were nearly devoid of STI: Landscape’s “Collegian” segment – a category encompassing currently-enrolled college students. But in March 2024, the share of this segment in the brands’ captured markets skyrocketed. 

Panama City Resorts Go Collegian

Analyzing the audiences of local Panama City resorts reveals a similar pattern. During the month of July, the captured markets of SpringHill Suites and Holiday Inn Resort – two venues popular among spring breakers – included miniscule shares of Collegians. But in March, the share of college students in the resorts’ captured markets jumped to 13.8% and 10.0%, respectively – highlighting the role of undergrads in driving hotel visits during this period. 

Spring Break Fever

Spring break is party time – and Florida has traditionally been at the center of it all. 

How will 2024 spring break continue to unfold this year in the Sunshine State? And what other retail categories stand to benefit from the excitement? 

Follow Placer.ai’s data-driven civic and retail analyses to find out. 

This blog includes data from Placer.ai Data Version 2.0, which implements improvements to our extrapolation capabilities, adds short visit monitoring, and enhances visit detection. 

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Florida
Text Link
Spring Break
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends
Placer.ai Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In
Placer.ai Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success