2011 Will Be The Most Important Spring Break EVER

by December 14, 2010 • 18 comments

Spring Break on Panama City Beach has always, always, been a very tough board to balance. In past years, no matter how brilliant the public relations strategies, no matter how well-targeted the advertising and no matter how many overall arrests, no Spring Break season has ever been considered the smoothest of our four tourist seasons. In fact, although SB is without question PCB’s biggest economic boost, it remains the most polarizing topic throughout our great town; some love it, some hate it, some make money from it, others lose cash by the bucket loads. But what can be said is that 2010 was arguably one of the best years to date. Hotels had record numbers, businesses boomed and the number of major incidents declined considerably. So what was the big difference? How was 2010 more balanced than years past?

To make a successful Spring Break, three things have to be balanced evenly: Spring Break Public Relations, Spring Break Promotions and In-destination Management; you have to get the word out, control the messaging and manage the area to the best of your ability. SB 2010 did this exceptionally well. The biggest difference was that in 2010 the TDC and CVB did not use its budget to promote Spring Break, from an advertising standpoint, and put its efforts toward handling the PR and adding extra bulk to in-destination management of the season; putting a larger police force on the streets, giving business owners Spring Break workshops and changing the rules on when and where big events could be held. This was coupled with (perhaps even motivated into action) the Spring Break Co-op: a collaboration of local business owners with the Collegiate Marketing Group to promote spring break. By getting the local business owners involved, and allocating budgeted money evenly, for the most part, all the spring break bases were covered and the city developed a nice blueprint for handling spring break moving forward. That was, until the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

On Tuesday, December 14, The Collegiate Marketing Group approached the TDC and CVB requesting funds to help with the marketing and advertising efforts. “We want to make sure students know we are open for business, alive and well and free of oil.” Said, Shannon Posavad, representing CMG. After accumulating over $80,0000 from co-op members, CMG requested specifically $50,000 from the board to help marketing and advertising campaigns. His request, even with board members seeing the need to “get the message out”, was declined. Without that contribution, it seems, the balance that was attained last year may tilt at a critical juncture in the future of Spring Break.

Whether you believe it or not, most the country still regards our area to be covered in oil. Spring Break provides an opportunity to change that belief. Every single person, student or family, that comes to Panama City Beach during spring break will become a billboard for the reality of the area; that we are open for business and oil free. Now would be the time to try and encourage as many individuals as possible to come to Panama City Beach. The more people, the more billboards. With the Southwest effect starting to kick in as well as Southwest boosting marketing and advertising efforts, 2011 is the pivotal year where the balance will either shift or find its equilibrium. Now more than ever, Panama City Beach has to get Spring Break right. Even Lou Hammond, president of the TDC’s PR agency agreed, “We have to get this perfect.”

But with “Zero” dollars being allocated to Spring Break advertising and declining the requests of CMG for additional funds to help overcome oil spill misconceptions, 2011 Spring Break, already headed for make or break situation, could be tilting towards break. The efforts and successes of 2010 need to be supported by greater efforts in 2011. Whether you love or hate Spring Break, it cannot be denied that Panama City Beach is a better place than it was last year, with more to do, more to see, cleaner and more beautiful than ever. In 2011, Spring Breakers will become to voice of PCB’s rejuvenation. And right now, we need that voice to be as loud as possible.

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1 Mac December 14, 2010 at 7:01 pm

This article is entitled ” 2011 The Most Important One Ever!” It says efforts will be put into Public Relations & police. In 2011, Spring Breakers will become the voice of PCB rejuvenation.
Really? You have got to be kidding. We need to defend Spring Break with better PR. Thats like saying a rapist just needs a good Public Relations firm. As I wrote a few days ago, Spring Break’s Drugfest will go a long way in improving PCB family image! The head shops, porn joints and other fine family establishments will support the new PCB upscale image. Don’t support the new multi million dollar condos or Pier Park; stay with old trash. Maybe the Board members should expose their daughters or granddaughters to the family friendly drug use, public intoxication arrests, crime, noise, property destruction, sexual assaults & other recurring Spring Break Events! Get rid of college Spring Break like Ft. Lauderdale & move forward!
Your thoughts?

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2 Lorenzo Faciane December 15, 2010 at 1:11 am

“Panama City Beach, Spring Break Capital of the World.” This phrase is something to be proud of. I can understand the chaos that comes along with holding that title, but to me it is a very effective marketing slogan.

For just a short few weeks a year hundreds of thousands of college students all across the world will have their eye on this city, and for the ones that do spend their spring break here will probably never forget the awesome time they shared with friends partying.

The point I’m trying to make is, a young adult in college might spend four years partying hard on spring break in Panama City Beach. This same college student will later grow up, be successful and possibly have a family of their own.

HMMMM… Sounds like the same type of crowd this city is trying to attract. I’m more than sure a large percentage of the parents that visits this town with their children have too once partied here as well in the past. Including my parents and grandparents, who both own businesses and homes here.

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3 JC December 19, 2010 at 10:23 pm

REALLY???? Something to be proud of? How about we just really go all out and put “Entering the Redneck Riviera” over the exit doors at the new airport. You really must be VERY short sighted to actually think your commentary has any validity. The people who bought properties on PBC over the past 5 +/- years primarily did so for investment purposes only and had NO interest it the area – it was purely financially driven . The owners of decades past still remember the days of family friendly fun – and miss it dearly. Those people that finally do grow up & make enough money to invest in real estate that, at one point, did “party hard” (your words not mine) on the beaches of PBC will NOT come back and invest here. WHY??? Because, they remember all too well (if they were sober long enough) how the properties were treated, what they got away with, what the cops never saw, what the public never heard of, and this inside knowledge of this will turn off any potential investor. They will remember walking down Front Beach Road and seeing inebriated teenagers double fisting beers while hanging off balconies of every level of “luxury resort style condos”, and cringe thinking of that ever happening to their investment, regardless of the price point. EVEN if the atmosphere has changed by that time, it will take at least a full generation of former party-animals turned investors to forget the past and see the area in the positive light necessary to make the area truly successful. My guess is that your family owns a business that caters to this crowd rather than the more upscale resident that will bring more long term dollars needed in the area right now. By long term dollars I mean the family that will buy a condo with the intent to visit the property several times a year for at least 5 years and plan on spending money in local restaurants/shops as opposed to the possible one time spring breaker that budgets for their share of the room, beer, condoms (we can only hope), and fast food for 3-5 days out of their life.
For you to say that these spring breakers will “never forget the awesome time they share with friends partying” is not only grammatically incorrect, but just immature and further supports the thinking that as long as Panama City Beach seeks the spring break dollar, they can never expect to progress in the Florida tourist destination market.

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4 Danielle Bennet December 28, 2010 at 11:14 am

To JC, I have seen to many grown adults in the past seven years drunk and double fisting beers,and using words that would make spring break college kids proud.

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5 Greggt December 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

But Danielle you have to play the percentages. generally speaking an adult with a family will act in a responsible manner. On the other hand a young single person is much more apt to drink too much, destroy property, and get themselves into trouble.
I think just reading the Spring Break Forums tell the story where getting drunk, trashing a condo unit, throwing up in an elevator, etc. is a badge of honor.
Until all the condo units in PCB become privately owned and those owners decide not to take the risk renting to that type of person, I’m afraid we are stuck. I doubt if PCB will step up to the plate and decide to enforce the laws already on the books as too many of the influence crowd rely on these “heads in the bed”.

6 Danielle Bennet December 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

That’s the same thing I said in my post on Dec. 26th. We have spent more money in 1 week than I spent in 3 years combined during spring break. Just imangine if 1/4 of the kids that went to spring break did the same. That’s alot of money dumped into your economy.

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7 Danielle Bennet December 26, 2010 at 9:43 pm

I was in PCB 3 times for spring break. Had a wonderful time each year. Met my husband there, he went to the University of Nebraska, I went to the Ohio State University. We would have never met and had 3 wonderful kids together’ without spring break. We have vacationed there for the past 7 years, spending a week at the Holiday Inn Sunspree. This year we are reuniting with some of our friends that was with us during spring break.So all the bad things that always come up here a PCB Daily’ there are just as many good things that happen, that you never hear about. To all of you rich snooty snobs. Get over it leave the area during spring break. From what I hear you can afford it. I would never bring my family to PCB during spring break. The main reason. They only have a week,It takes us 15 hours to get there, so that kills 2 days shorting our vacation. I spent alot of money during spring break. I spend more money in one week now that I am married with a family. Than I ever did during my 3 years combined during spring break.

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8 Greggt December 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Mac, guess my original post got deleted because I felt the writer is completely off base at best. I tip my hat to those that declined funding to promote Spring Break.
The statements made saying that Spring Break is in jeopardy due to the BP oil spill is ridiculous, all one has to do is do a search on Google for “Spring Break 2011”, PCB is featured on almost every result that comes up.
Sad to say, Spring Break is alive and well for PCB for 2011 with or without additional funding.

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9 Shawn Wright December 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm

The local economy needs all the help they can get. PCB should not feel that they can turn down any paying customer to the area. Look around at our weather and think if people have other options. Spring Break is not my first choice of business to the area but as long as they are paying and keeping people employed i am for it.

As soon as you can show me another group of customers in March that will come to this area to spend the kind of money the Spring Break students spend then and only then will i turn my back on this group.

Have you heard the term beggars can’t be choosers?

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10 Common Sense December 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Let’s remove spring break [and thunder beach] entirely from apanam city beach, and wait the full 5 minutes it will take for local business owners to raise hell about how they are suffering. Wake up people, you may not like the reality – but there it is… spring break = revenue. If you’re doing do financially well enough right now, during these difficult economic times that you can afford to turn your back on guaranteed money, then bravo. I bet you filed for a bp check though…

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11 James D. December 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Folks, the spring breakers are still going to come in droves. It’s not like anyone is preventing them from traveling down here. It’s still a free country.

All the TDC did was finally grow a backbone and stand behind the image of PCB which they (and all of us) wish to convey. It makes no sense to throw bed tax dollars — or any public funding — behind events that could tarnish the brand. Especially when those events have proven to have a lousy track record!

There are plenty of business alliances and private companies that will benefit handsomely from their endeavors to promote spring break in PCB. Why should ANY public funds be used to aid in the enrichment of private enterprise???

Maintaining a pristine beach, nice streets and sidewalks, new bridges, proper lighting and drainage of roadways — as well as stepped-up policing and management of large crowds — should be where our public funds are spent. Event promoters coming with hat in hand are not a sensible allocation of tax dollars!

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12 Shawn Wright December 19, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Everyone must understand a couple of things…..most of the money in March the TDC collects in the form of bed tax dollars is collected from the hotels that rent to Spring Breakers. From what i have seen March represents the 3rd highest tax collected month of the year. So therefore it is only natural that the hotels that are profiting from the students that come to PCB would want to continue profiting from this business. It seems that the TDC may have the “bite the hand that feeds them” attitude. I don’t blame the hotels and businesses from wanting to continue marketing to the group that provides so much revenue to them. I would do the same. It is simple economics!

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13 captgeobob December 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

PCB just doesn’t get it. Springbreak and Thunder just convince people that this is truly the Redneck Riviera.

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14 RC December 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm

If it is really going to be a make or break year for Spring Break, I hope it breaks. Spring Break ruins PCB’s reputation year round.

Unfortunately some well connected bar and motel owners have enough sway with the powers that be to prevent it from being cleaned up.

JMHO
RC

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15 Bernard December 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Before you rent to springbreakers, think about the results. Are the damages to your condo worth the rental monies you will get out of it?
The point is that spring-breakers are here for one reason and one reason only, to drink and have total unsupervised “fun”.
I realized that spring-break is a gloden goose for restaurants, bars, liquors stores and sexshops, etc., but the one who realy pay the price for those above,are usualy the condo owners, the Home Owners Associations personel and the PCB police department.
Is it really worth it? Should’nt we spend advertisement money to bring in Families and true tourists instead . We have an “International” Airport, let’s expend it, advertized our beautiful beaches to the Europeans and Canadians and let the British, French, German, Italian, Greek, and others tourists be our “bread and butter” instead of the infamous ‘Sring Breakers’.
let’s work on bringing in theme parks, amusement parks and other such entertainment to the area as other cities such as Pigeon Gorge, TN. and Branson, MO, as examples, have done. Let’s bring fun and jobs at the same time to our Emerald Paradise.
Let us become a real Vacation Area, not just a “Red Neck Riviera”.

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16 Cathy December 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I’ve heard PCB called this hideous name (Redneck Rivera) since I was a child & you know what….. they were hosting Spring Break way back then.
Now, I never came nor did my son but……. my parents and me as a parent had the good sense not to allow our young ones out of state subject to get into all kinds of trouble either. “Times Have Changed” and I don’t mean that as our mothers used to say this either! I literally mean that people (parents) are more relaxed as to where they let their teens go nowadays.
Heck, the parents are way to concerned doing what they want to do to bother with who is going to be watching out for Billy or Joe or Debi or Janie….. they want to be left alone so they can do as they want.
You mention the HOA of these great condo’s…… it is the owners who are in control of whom they rent from. If they rent to young teens there is a very good chance their unit will be damaged. There are very few who come with Mom or Dad or someone over the age or 18!
Get real… wake up…… PCB will always have “Spring Break” it is the BEACH and close to where many live, easy access for the young.
That’s why PCB is so popular!
If you detour this somewhere else you will lose more valuable funds & where will you make up these funds at?
Hummmmm?????
As always in my own opinion!
Cathy/Tennessee

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