It is hard to believe that we are already looking back at 2016 reflecting on everything that has happened in just 12 short months. It feels like just yesterday that we were getting ready for Spring Break 2016 with six Spring Break destinations and the hopes that year 1 of Inception at Sea, the first ever fully-chartered Spring Break floating music festival, would go down in Spring Break history.
Yet somehow, in the blink of an eye, we are now staring 2017 in the face with two new Spring Break destinations, the emergence of South Padre Island as our #1 domestic destination, a new brand featuring six amazing international tours, a revamped Winter Break ski trip, and a successful maiden voyage of Inception at Sea. To say that a lot happened within the StudentCity family in 2016 would be the understatement of the year.
Check out the recap of the highlights of 2016 below ...
2 New Destinations for Spring Break 2017: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico & Daytona Beach, FL
When it comes to Spring Break we know what we're doing; everything we do, we do it big. About half way through 2016, we decided that running trips in six of the top Spring Break destinations and chartering an entire cruise ship wasn't enough, so along came Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Daytona Beach, FL.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Years ago we used to send thousands of students to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but there has been an increasing interest surrounding this destination in recent years. As more and more students inquired about Puerto Vallarta Spring Break it became evident that this destination deserved some attention and we should be sending students there for Spring Break 2017.
Much of 2016 was spent cultivating the long-standing relationships we've had for many years with the top resorts and nightclubs in Puerto Vallarta to revamp our package so we could send droves of students there again for Spring Break 2017. Lucky for us, we were also able to go to Puerto Vallarta in June for a familiarization trip so all of us could experience the new destination first hand. Upon returning from the trip, you could sense the excitement throughout the office.
|Employees Stacy and Sarah getting a tour of Las Palmas by the Sea, our Headquarters Hotel for Puerto Vallarta Spring Break 2017, during our familiarization trip.|
The remainder of 2016 was spent successfully promoting and selling Puerto Vallarta for Spring Break 2017, where we will give the hundreds of travelers an epic Spring Break experience. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico boasts a little bit of everything, including beachfront properties, some of the best nightclubs in Latin America, and the most unique and adventurous excursions offered in any Spring Break destination. Spring Break 2017 in Puerto Vallarta will be one for the books and we are extremely excited to see our new and improved package in action.
Daytona Beach, FL
In late 2015 there were laws passed preventing the consumption of alcohol on the sandy beaches of Panama City Beach, FL during the month of March. Although we were unsure of what exactly would happen in PCB during Spring Break 2016, it was clear that these new laws were having an impact on the number of travels spending Spring Break in Panama City Beach, FL.
We wanted to be prepared to give our travelers another affordable domestic destination on the east coast if they chose to stray away from Panama City Beach, FL and Daytona Beach, FL was an obvious alternative. We spent part of 2015 and all of 2016 putting together a Spring Break package for our travelers that would give them exactly what they were looking for.
Daytona Beach, FL has been a Spring Break capital in the U.S. for many years now, and after countless hours of planning, we are thrilled to be sending travelers here for Spring Break 2017. The packages that we have spent over a year putting together for Daytona Beach Spring Break will give travelers the crazy party atmosphere they are looking for with the StudentCity experience we specialize in.
#1 Domestic Spring Break Destination: South Padre Island, TX
It's no secret that there was an obvious decline in the number of travelers going to Panama City Beach, FL for Spring Break 2016, but that doesn't mean they didn't go on Spring Break. Our South Padre Island program grew immensely in 2016 and emerged as our #1 domestic destination.
Beach Bash Music Fest
We partnered with Rockstar Energy Drink to bring travelers daily beach parties at Isla Grand Beach Resort and weekly concert events on Rockstar Beach for the Beach Bash Music Fest. The Beach Bash Music Fest featured performances by Lil Dicky, The Chainsmokers, and Lil Jon and proved to be the highlight of South Padre Island Spring Break 2016. While we have not released the 2017 lineup, we are anticipating that Rockstar Beach and the Beach Bash Music Fest will blow travelers away yet again for South Padre Island Spring Break 2017.
|South Padre Island spring breakers came out in flocks to see The Chainsmokers perform during the Beach Bash Music Fest on Rockstar Beach.|
Blackout Tour Fall 2016
In addition to the Beach Bash Music Fest on Rockstar Beach, our partnership with Rockstar Engergy Drink continued to thrive and ultimately brought the Fall 2016 Blackout Tour to over 25 major colleges and universities across the country. We hit the road for two months putting the spotlight on South Padre Island Spring Break and gave away a number of free Spring Break trips. As our partnership with Rockstar Energy Drink continues into 2017, we could't be more excited to see what South Padre Island Spring Break 2017 holds.
|The Fall 2016 Blackout Tour made its final stop at the StudentCity office after spending two months on the road visiting over 25 major colleges and universities.|
The Bucket List by StudentCity
Each year we send thousands of college students to experience the best week of their lives in the hottest Spring Break destinations but a little over two years ago we started thinking "why stop at Spring Break?". Being a company filled with individuals who are so passionate about travel, it seemed like a no brainer to expand our product line to include experiential international tours.
After spending 2+ years building upon the concept of a new product line, we knew we were very close to bringing the idea to life. In 2016 our team of marketers and product specialists was stronger than ever before, and it became clear that our dream of expanding Spring Break would finally became a reality.
After several meetings and discussions it was decided that these new tours would be launched under a new brand, and from there it was go time. We spent countless hours giving the new brand it's own identity and carefully selecting the perfect tours to launch with before making the announcement. And just like that, on August 8, 2016, The Bucket List by StudentCity was born.
|Employees Brittany and Chelsea visited Europe to immerse themselves in the culture and experience the new tours before launching The Bucket List by StudentCity.|
Aiming to show every young traveler out there what our amazing world has to offer, The Bucket List by StudentCity combined travel to iconic locations with diverse cultural experiences, meeting new people, and living life to the fullest on each of the new tours on the Bucket List lineup.
Since launching this summer, we have added six amazing guided tours to Australia, Costa Rica, Northern Europe, Peru, Thailand, and Western Europe to the Bucket List lineup and cannot wait to continue to grow the new brand.
Revamped Ski Trip: WinterFest in Mont Tremblant
The one downside about Spring Break is that it only happens once a year. While we cannot convince all of the colleges and universities to give students more than one Spring Break each year, we can take advantage of the breaks already on their academic calendars.
Our packages to Mont Tremblant have been available for a few years now, but we spent 2016 taking a hard look at how we could improve upon and grow this destination. With the support of dedicated product specialists fully backing this initiative, we were able to give our Winter Break trip to Mont Tremblant a major face lift.
|Mont Tremblant boasts 96 trails, 14 lifts, and 3 snow parks and was the #1 rated "Overall Resort on the East Coast" in 2016 by Ski Magazine.|
We'll be heading up to WinterFest in Mont Tremblant the week of January 9th with our travelers to experience the updated packages first hand. Our travelers will be spending three days and two nights shredding fresh powder by day and partying by night with exclusive access to night events at local bars and clubs in Tremblant Village and an exclusive StudentCity Apre’ Ski Party. Stay tuned for an update on how the trip goes in January!
Inception at Sea Maiden Voyage
In addition to everything else that happened this year, 2016 marked the year that we made Spring Break history. We combined 2,400 spring breakers with over 40 DJs and artists and brought Inception Music Festival to the high seas for 72 hours of nonstop music as we departed from Miami on the maiden voyage of the first ever fully chartered, all-inclusive Spring Break cruise, Inception at Sea.
|Upon boarding the Norwegian Sky for the first sailing of Inception at Sea, travelers rushed to the pool deck to begin their nonstop 72-hour party.|
Although Inception at Sea's first sailing took place in March 2016, don't be fooled; this is something we had up our sleeves for a number of years. After all, planning the delivering the World's Only Fully Chartered Spring Break Floating Music Festival, does not come without thousands upon thousands of hours of meetings, deliberation, and strategy.
Being on board and experiencing some of the world's most popular artists, such as The Chainsmokers, Lil Dicky, Tyga, Brody Jenner, etc., was unlike anything we have ever seen. The energy that poured out of everyone on board; from the guests, to the artists, to even the ship's captain and crew, was simply electrifying. That, paired with 72 hours of nonstop music, themed parties, activities, and events...we couldn't have asked for a better turnout. We're PUMPED that Inception at Sea 2017 is going to be a full day and night longer!
|Performing at Great Stirrup Cay, The Chainsmokers made the private island party a day we will never forget.|
Spring Break is our heart and soul; it's what we know, what we do better than anyone else, and what we are passionate about. We have been providing the ultimate Spring Break experience for a very long time now (2017 will mark 30 years), but 2016 proved to be a monumental year for growth. In just one short year we have expanded to new destinations, launched new brands, and continued to improve upon existing packages.
We would like to thank all of our dedicated onsite staff members and full-time employees for continuously striving to provide the best possible experience for our travelers and being truly passionate about everything we do. We would also like the thank all of our partners and sponsors for helping us deliver the ultimate travel experience to thousands of students all over the world.
Most importantly, however, we would like to thank each and every one of our loyal travelers; without your continued support we would not be able to do what we do. We are looking forward to the exciting year ahead of us and cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.